Magnesium may improve memory – in older rats

Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Tsinghua University in Beijing have found that increasing brain magnesium using a newly developed compound, magnesium-L-threonate (MgT), improves learning abilities, working memory, and short- and-long-term memory in rats. The magnesium also helped older rats perform better on a battery of learning tests.

They found that in young and old rats, MgT increased plasticity, or strength, among synapses and promoted the density of synapses in the hippocampus, a part of the brain that plays important roles in spatial navigation and long-term memory. Other experiments performed within the study found that MgT treatment boosted memory recall under partial information conditions in older rats but had no effect in young rats.

The current recommended dietary allowance for magnesium for adults 19-30 years old is 400 milligrams/day for men and 310 milligrams/day for non- pregnant women. For adults 31 and older, it is 420 milligrams/day for men and 320 milligrams/day for non-pregnant women. However, only 32% of Americans get the recommended daily allowance of magnesium.

Slutsky, I. Neuron, Jan. 28, 2010; vol 65: pp 1-13.

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