“Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body, but today half of all people in industrialized countries are living with magnesium deficiencies that may generally impair human health, including cognitive functioning,” says Dr. Inna Slutsky.
In the U.S., the statistics are even worse. The recommended daily allowance of magnesium is 320 mg. for adult women and 420 mg. for adult men. Researchers estimate that only a third of the population is ingesting the recommended amount on a regular basis.
Slutsky’s post-doctoral work at MIT was expanded into a study of a new magnesium supplement, magnesium-L-theronate (MgT) that effectively crosses the blood-brain barrier to inhibit calcium flux in brain neurons. This new study has shown that magnesium deficiency has an adverse effect on brain functioning, particularly in small children and older adults. While magnesium has long been known to play an important role in memory, it now also appears to be essential for the plasticity, strength, and density of synapses in the part of the brain responsible for much of our long-term memory and spatial navigation.
The new magnesium supplement that the study found did work is not yet available commercially. Luckily, magnesium is found in plenty of foods. A diet rich in whole grains, legumes, and fresh vegetables leaves little need for a supplement. Barley, buckwheat, cornmeal, and oat bran are excellent sources of magnesium. Leafy greens (the darker the better), legumes, and tomato paste are also high in this essential mineral. Almonds, pumpkin seeds, and cashews are fun snacks that happen to pack a magnesium punch. That harbinger of spring – the artichoke – also contains more than your average amount of magnesium.
While improvement doesn’t happen overnight, with persistent change in diet over a long period of time, memory should improve and the effects of dementia and other cognitive impairment diseases related to aging may be considerably delayed with a magnesium-rich diet. At Home Care Assistance Columbus, we help our clients learn about new research on nutrition and encourage them to incorporate healthy food choices into their diet.
Beans it is!