New research finds that an increase in brain magnesium improves learning and memory in young and old rats. The study, published in the January 28th issue of the journal Neuron, suggests that increasing magnesium intake may be a valid strategy to enhance and supports speculation that inadequate levels of magnesium impair cognitive function, leading to faster deterioration of memory in aging humans.
Diet can have a significant impact on cognitive capacity. Identification of dietary factors which have a positive influence on synapses, the sites of communication between neurons, might help to enhance learning and memory and prevent their decline with age and disease. Professor Guosong Liu, Director of the Center for Learning and Memory at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China, led a study examining whether increased levels of one such dietary supplement, magnesium, boosts brain power.
“Magnesium is essential for the proper functioning of many tissues in the body, including the brain and, in an earlier study, we demonstrated that magnesium promoted synaptic plasticity in cultured brain cells,” explains Dr. Liu. “Therefore it was tempting to take our studies a step further and investigate whether an increase in brain magnesium levels enhanced cognitive function in animals.”