Have you ever forgotten a word or someone’s name that you should know? It happens to all of us, but what if you frequently find that you have trouble with “word finding” or you keep forgetting to pay bills or get lost easily? Your kids will tell say you had a “brain fart” or “senior moment” but honestly, it’s nothing to kid about. Cooking, house work and daily self-care skills start to decline. Next comes the conversation about senior living facilities, but wait, you are only 40 or 50 something! What’s going on?
Don’t be hard on yourself, keep in mind we live in an “information stimulation” age. Watch the news for an hour, you’ll be so wired from all the sad stories ticking by you will notice the silence as soon as you shut off the TV.
Aging matters because the older we get, the more rust (free radicals) we accumulate. Let’s talk about children for a moment. Inability to focus quickly gets diagnosed as ADHD. In comes Adderall. It’s easy to blame sugar, or the parents, or television but I don’t. The fact is, healthy cognition cannot occur unless you have the nutrients to feed each and every brain cell, and the cell membrane. As a population, we don’t do that very well. Magnesium is known to help both memory and attention, as well as depression and anxiety. Magnesium loves your brain and vice versa.
Did you know over 200 popular medications block magnesium, contributing to deficiencies. The primary offenders are antacids, acid blockers, hormonal contraception and diuretics. Supplementing helps, however, most forms of magnesium are hard on the stomach, or they cause diarrhea. Magnesium oxide is probably the worst form to take in my opinion, yet it is sold nationwide. You should be picky because many forms of magnesium don’t even penetrate your brain where you need it most.
If you have brain health concerns, especially problems with memory or attention there is much to consider, it’s not just magnesium and I don’t want you to overlook other considerations. The essential factors to consider include mitochondrial health, methylation problems, blood sugar imbalances, autoimmune disorders, gluten intolerance, heavy metal toxicity, chronic pain, sleep deprivation, stress, thyroid problems, and drug muggers (drugs that mug nutrients).
All of these factors play a role but today I want to talk with you about magnesium, a special type that is new on the market. It’s called magnesium L-threonate and it’s shown very promising results within the medical literature for age related memory loss problems. Some animal studies show excellent results in improving memory problems in rodents which had severe memory dysfunction. Alzheimer’s causes the brain to lose many of its connections or synapses leading to a tangled web. The synaptic damage causes major disconnects that result in jumbled short term and long term memories. I won’t bore you but your physician may need to know synapse damage occurs, in part, from overzealous glutamate molecules which activate the cell?s N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor which then turns on an enzyme called Beta-secretase 1 (BACE1) and that churns amyloid plaques. Some people even have a genetic SNP in the BACE1 gene.
It sounds complicated but the simple part is that this special magnesium appears to help. An animal study published in September 2014 showed that Magnesium L-threonate slowed the hyperactive NMDA receptor signaling pathway improved synapse plasticity and reduced plaquing. More importantly, the magnesium entered the hippocampus which is a big deal, that is your memory center. The turn-around was fairly dramatic even when the treatment was given during the end-stage of the disease state.An earlier study in 2013 showed how well Magnesium L-threonate worked to improve memory deficit in people with chronic pain by inhibiting TNF [tumor necrosis factor alpha] which is a pain-causing chemical (when produced in high amounts). Magnesium participates in hundreds of metabolic pathways all over your body, and many in your brain, so adequate Central Nervous System [CNS] levels are crucial for optimal health.
The clinical applications for magnesium include:
Supports healthy levels in the central nervous system
Supports healthy synapse function and number
Supports restorative sleep
Supports cognitive and neurological health
Supports stress management and a healthy mood
Suzy Cohen, America’s Pharmacist has been a licensed pharmacist for 25 years and is a functional medicine practitioner for the last 15. She devotes time to educating people about the benefits of natural vitamins, herbs and minerals.