Magnesium L-Threonate is a new and more bio-available form of Magnesium, thought to provide all the benefits of standard Magnesium supplementation but may also have additional brain boosting benefits.
What is Magnesium L-Threonate?
Magnesium L-Threonate, MgT (brand name Magtein) is a new, unique chelated form of magnesium that is bonded to L-Threonic acid, a sugar metabolite of Vitamin C to keep its stability and boost its transport mechanism to additionally deliver Magnesium into the brain, which is believed to be beyond the ability of other Magnesium supplements.
It was developed as a dietary supplement by scientists at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) who discovered a connection between levels of magnesium in the brain and cognitive function.
We don’t usually think of Magnesium as a Nootropic tool but higher levels of magnesium in the brain has shown to support nerve channels and maintain synaptic connections between brain cells used to communicate.
This action can result in enhancing several cognitive functions like learning ability and working memory and may even help to preserve normal brain health and mental function as we age.
Magnesium supplements are most commonly used to prevent deficiency and for a variety of reasons related to balancing mood, improving quality of sleep, boosting energy, relieving muscle aches and cramping, the promotion of cardiovascular health, bone health and more.
It comes in many forms such as Magnesium Sulfate, Magnesium Gluconate, Magnesium Citrate, however, research has found that most commonly used forms of Magnesium do not have any significant impact on increasing levels of this mineral in the brain.
The development of Magnesium L-Threonate addressed this problem, increasing absorption into the bloodstream and effectively crossing the blood-brain barrier, raising the levels of Magnesium in the brain.
This article will examine the benefits associated with Magnesium supplements and it’s more bioavailable form, L-Threonate, what the purported differences are and why this supplement is considered a superior choice.
Magnesium L-Threonate Effects
Magnesium L-Threonate (MgT) is a more bio-available form of Magnesium not found in nature and believed to more readily cross the blood-brain barrier which raises the level of this mineral in the brain.
Many people may already know the health benefits linked to Magnesium. This mineral plays a role in over 300 metabolic reactions in your body and is used in the formation of bones, keeping the heartbeat steady and maintaining normal nerve and muscle function. It also helps to regulate blood sugar levels and aids in the production of energy and the synthesis of proteins.
Decades of compiled research by neuroscientists at MIT and Tsinghua University in Beijing has indicated that Magnesium additionally plays an important role in protecting the aging brain’s structure and function.
Although Magnesium L-Threonate is still a relatively new form of Magnesium and lacks large-scale testing on humans, it has shown promising results in increasing the level of Magnesium in the brain by effectively crossing the blood-brain barrier which supports neuroplasticity and may be useful for cognitive enhancement, depression and anxiety. This may be due to this form containing L-Threonic acid which boosts mineral uptake.
This is a claim that many other forms of Magnesium such as glyconite, taurate, oxide, orotate, malate and others have not been suggested to achieve in any studies thus far.
In a comparison study against Magtein and two highly bioavailable inorganic and organic forms of magnesium (chloride and gluconate in milk) conducted over a 24 day period, results showed that Magtein increased the levels of magnesium in cerebrospinal fluid, boosting its concentration by 15% while other forms were reported to show no increase.
Perhaps the most important distinction of Magnesium L-Threonate when raising the level of this mineral in the brain, is strengthening the brain’s ability to adapt and readily form new connections with other neurons which regulates cognition, memory and learning. The benefit of this supplement for synaptic plasticity has been demonstrated in research on aged animal models.
Magnesium ions regulate neuronal calcium ion flow, switches for signaling and function to help aid in the process of better nerve transmission. They work at enhancing the activity of more than 300 enzymes and are linked to the activation of nerve channels involved in synaptic plasticity. When magnesium penetrates the brain, it is thought to boost receptors that are involved in this process.
Magtein (magnesium L-threonate) is thought to increase in the number of synapses, particularly in the hippocampus, the area of the brain that is involved in regulating emotions and mainly associated with memory.
In addition, research indicates that Magnesium helps the brain suppress excessive cortisol release by reducing the release of the adrenocorticotrophic hormone in the hippocampus that instructs the adrenal glands. Too much cortisol can damage this area of the brain and has been linked to stress and chronic depression.
Finally, magnesium ions (inhibitory) oppose the excitatory effects of calcium at NMDA receptors (N-methyl-D-aspartate), preventing over firing of nerves and glutamatergic damage to neurons, suggesting this mineral may have neuroprotective effects.
Magnesium L-Threonate Benefits for Memory and Learning
There has been a large amount of research showing Magnesium L-Threonate can increase the amount of magnesium in the brain. Scientists at MIT suggest that higher amounts of this mineral in the brain promotes greater activity and density of synapses. These are junctions where neurons communicate and increasing the number of these connections available in the brain may be useful for working memory and learning abilities.
As we age, it is thought the amount of these connections between neurons decline. The brain becomes less flexible or less prone to new synaptic growth which results in a downturn of cognitive function such as memory problems, the general inability to learn new things and the creation of new pathways that are associated with this process.
This theory has been pre-clinically studied on rats, both old and young where Magnesium L-Threonate was associated with improving short-term memory, long-term memory and learning abilities, especially in older rats, suggesting that MgT may also help to slow down age-related memory decline.
In a more recent pre-clinical study on the effects of MMFS-01 (Magnesium L- Threonate/Magtein) on cognitive impairment in older adults, individuals ages 50-70 were compared to placebo group over a 12 week period.
Results indicated that overall cognitive ability significantly improved compared to the placebo group and demonstrated positive effects on the restoration of executive functions (mental skills such as managing time, paying attention, switching focus etc) suggesting MgT may be clinically useful in the future to potentially treat cognitive impairments.
Additionally, profound synapse loss related to memory impairment has been associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Treatment with Magnesium L-Threonate on mice showed to reduce Aβ-plaque and aid in activating signaling pathways in neurons, a process that may potentially contribute to improving memory in AD patients.
Magnesium is not approved by the FDA to treat, ameliorate or prevent any conditions. More research needs to be done on humans to determine its efficacy on enhancing memory and learning.
Magnesium L-Threonate Effects on Mood and Sleep
Research has shown that Magnesium deficiencies can contribute to anxiety, symptoms of depression and sleep disturbances. Magnesium supplements are commonly used to promote relaxation, calm the mind and have been found effective for mild to moderate depression in adults.
Magnesium is involved in the synthesis GABA and in several other neurotransmitters such as Serotonin and Dopamine, all brain chemicals related to mood and sleep. Balanced levels of these neurotransmitters are important for sustaining mood stability.
GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) is the primary inhibitory neurotransmitters that calm the brain, balancing the effects of excitatory Glutamate which would otherwise cause neurons to fire too fast. This may be experienced as an inability to relax and feelings of being overwhelmed and disorganized. The efficient activity of this neurotransmitter prevents feelings of anxiousness and may help your mind reach a more calming state.
While Magnesium itself has been associated with pathways in the brain that may reduce anxiety, these effects using Magnesium L-Threonate (MgT) have not been studied on humans, however, there is much anecdotal evidence suggesting its positive influence.
In addition, Magnesium is thought to curb the release of adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH), which stimulates the adrenal glands to release cortisol (the stress hormone) and is thought to be a related factor in chronic depression. ACTH is also related to the circadian rhythm, which may be responsible for the effects of Magnesium on sleep-wake cycles (sleep disturbances or insomnia).
It is believed that the association between Magnesium deficiencies and stress is the body’s need for Magnesium under stressful conditions when cortisol is created. When Magnesium is lacking, the effects seem to amplify and worsen the problem.
Additionally, research has shown different form of magnesium taken orally can improve the ability to fall asleep faster and the quality of sleep, which may be why it is commonly used as a sleep aid.
Cortisol levels should gradually decrease throughout the day and reach the lowest levels at night. When the stress response continues to trigger and doesn’t shut off the production of cortisol, it can get stuck in an imbalanced state which can lead to an inability to relax and disrupt our sleep.
While Magnesium L-Threonate promotes normal magnesium levels in the brain, it can only be assumed that this form provides all the same benefits on supporting mood and sleep quality as other forms of Magnesium. However, clinical studies are needed to confirm its efficacy.
Using Magnesium Vs Magnesium L-Threonate
Magnesium supplements, in general, are used for a variety of reasons including deficiency prevention, constipation, migraines, indigestion, restless leg syndrome, to help fight fatigue, support heart health and promote relaxation.
Magnesium (Mg) is the fourth most abundant mineral found in the body, mostly in the bones and vital to proper cell functioning. It is involved in hundreds of chemical reactions in the body and is essential for the activity of over 300 enzymes. This mineral plays a role in;
- Helping in the conversion of food into energy
- Maintenance of proper nerve & muscle function
- Acting as a precursor of neurotransmitters like Serotonin
- Synthesis and repair of genetic material DNA and RNA
- The synthesis of protein chains
We get magnesium from our diet such as dark leafy greens, whole grains, fish and beans but Magnesium is believed to be one of the most common nutrient deficiencies after Vitamin D, with an estimated 60% of Americans not getting the recommended daily amounts. The RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) of Magnesium is approximately 400 mg- 420 mg for adult men and 300 mg -320 mg for adult women daily.
Chronically low Magnesium has been associated with raising the risk of hypertension, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, coronary heart disease, migraine headaches and many other health problems.
Dietary Magnesium supplements are found in many forms including Magnesium Sulfate, Magnesium Taurate, Magnesium Aspartate, Magnesium Glycinate, Magnesium Citrate and many more. Their modes of delivery can vary and each are suited for different circumstances.
Although standard Magnesium supplements have many potential health benefits, they cannot readily cross the blood-brain barrier to raise the concentration in the brain and promote positive effects on brain plasticity and nerve signaling that may lead to enhanced cognitive function and which may support brain health. Additionally, standard Magnesium supplements in high dosages can cause laxative side effects.
Magnesium L-Threonate (MgT) is a more bio-available form, increasing the transportation across the blood-brain barrier. This form additionally boosts the uptake of elemental magnesium from the intestines, which results in fewer gastrointestinal side effects in comparison to other forms.
However, Magnesium L-Threonate contains low elemental magnesium per dose and you would have to take Magtein 2-3 times per day to meet the recommended dietary guidelines. Although this dosage is considered sufficient for the purported positive effects of this supplement, this suggests that it may not be the best option to address a magnesium deficiency when taken on it’s own.
If you would like to experience the positive effects of Magnesium L-Threonate and ward off the risk of Magnesium deficiency, you may want to consider combining it with popular forms of Magnesium such as Magnesium Citrate or Magnesium Glycinate.
Before considering Magnesium L- Threonate, you should consult with your doctor first if you are currently diagnosed with a medical condition or taking medications to ensure this supplement is appropriate for you.
Side Effects of Magnesium L-Threonate
All forms of oral Magnesium needs to be taken within the recommended dosages. Over usage or too much magnesium in the body can cause serious side effects such as respiratory problems, low blood pressure, muscle weakness, lethargy and even fatality in extreme cases.
Magnesium supplementation, in general, can potentially cause stomach upset, if you experience diarrhea or bloating at the appropriate dosage, try lowering the dosage, choosing a different form or discontinuing use.
In addition, you should avoid Magnesium supplements all together if you have problems with your kidneys or taking medications relating to your kidneys since Magnesium has a difficult time clearing from the body when they aren’t functioning well. Additionally, Magnesium is not considered safe to take if you are diagnosed with a heart condition.
Consult with your doctor first before taking Magnesium L-Threonate if you are currently taking medications or diagnosed with a condition.
Magnesium L-Threonate Dosage Guidelines
The standard recommended daily dosage of magnesium is approximately 300 mg-320 mg per day for women and 400 mg-420 mg per day for men but do not exceed these amounts.
Magnesium L-Threonate currently does not have an RDA (Recommended daily allowance) however products that contain Magnesium L-Threonate can offer up to 2000 mg of it but that actually converts into 144 mg of elemental magnesium.
Check the product label for the amount of elemental magnesium and follow the manufacturers recommended dosage instructions.
- Sun Q, Weinger JG, Mao F, Liu G. Regulation of structural and functional synapse density by L-threonate through modulation of intraneuronal magnesium concentration. Neuropharmacology. 2016 Sep;108:426-39. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2016.05.006. Epub 2016 May 10.[source]
- Li W, Yu J, Liu Y, Huang X, Abumaria N, Zhu Y, Huang X, Xiong W, Ren C, Liu XG, Chui D, Liu G. Elevation of brain magnesium prevents synaptic loss and reverses cognitive deficits in Alzheimer’s disease mouse model. Mol Brain. 2014 Sep 13;7:65. doi: 10.1186/s13041-014-0065-y.[source]
- Abumaria N, Yin B, Zhang L, Li XY, Chen T, Descalzi G, Zhao L, Ahn M, Luo L, Ran C, Zhuo M, Liu G. Effects of elevation of brain magnesium on fear conditioning, fear extinction, and synaptic plasticity in the infralimbic prefrontal cortex and lateral amygdala. J Neurosci. 2011 Oct 19;31(42):14871-81. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3782-11.2011.[source]
- Barbagallo M, Belvedere M, Di Bella G, Dominguez LJ. Altered ionized magnesium levels in mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s disease. Magnes Res. 2011 Sep;24(3):S115-21. doi: 10.1684/mrh.2011.0287.[source]
- Ozawa M, Ninomiya T, Ohara T, Hirakawa Y, Doi Y, Hata J, Uchida K, Shirota T, Kitazono T, Kiyohara Y. Self-reported dietary intake of potassium, calcium, and magnesium and risk of dementia in the Japanese: the Hisayama Study. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2012 Aug;60(8):1515-20. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2012.04061.x. Epub 2012 Aug 2.[source]
- Xu T, Li D, Zhou X, Ouyang HD, Zhou LJ, Zhou H, Zhang HM, Wei XH, Liu G, Liu XG. Oral Application of Magnesium-L-Threonate Attenuates Vincristine-induced Allodynia and Hyperalgesia by Normalization of Tumor Necrosis Factor-α/Nuclear Factor-κB Signaling. Anesthesiology. 2017 Jun;126(6):1151-1168. doi: 10.1097/ALN.0000000000001601.[source]
- Wang J, Liu Y, Zhou LJ, Wu Y, Li F, Shen KF, Pang RP, Wei XH, Li YY, Liu XG. Magnesium L-threonate prevents and restores memory deficits associated with neuropathic pain by inhibition of TNF-α. Pain Physician. 2013 Sep-Oct;16(5):E563-75.[source]
- Mickley GA, Hoxha N, Luchsinger JL, Rogers MM, Wiles NR. Chronic dietary magnesium-L-threonate speeds extinction and reduces spontaneous recovery of a conditioned taste aversion. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2013 May;106:16-26. doi: 10.1016/j.pbb.2013.02.019. Epub 2013 Mar 6.[source]
- Slutsky I, Abumaria N, Wu LJ, Huang C, Zhang L, Li B, Zhao X, Govindarajan A, Zhao MG, Zhuo M, Tonegawa S, Liu G. Enhancement of learning and memory by elevating brain magnesium. Neuron. 2010 Jan 28;65(2):165-77. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2009.12.026.[source]
- Abumaria N, Luo L, Ahn M, Liu G. Magnesium supplement enhances spatial-context pattern separation and prevents fear overgeneralization. Behav Pharmacol. 2013 Aug;24(4):255-63. doi: 10.1097/FBP.0b013e32836357c7.[source]
- Wang D, Jacobs SA, Tsien JZ. Targeting the NMDA receptor subunit NR2B for treating or preventing age-related memory decline. Expert Opin Ther Targets. 2014 Oct;18(10):1121-30. doi: 10.1517/14728222.2014.941286. Epub 2014 Aug 24 [source]
- Palacios-Prado N, Chapuis S, Panjkovich A, Fregeac J, Nagy JI, Bukauskas FF. Molecular determinants of magnesium-dependent synaptic plasticity at electrical synapses formed by connexin36. Nat Commun. 2014 Aug 19;5:4667. doi: 10.1038/ncomms5667.[source]
- Yu X, Guan PP, Guo JW, Wang Y, Cao LL, Xu GB, Konstantopoulos K, Wang ZY, Wang P. By suppressing the expression of anterior pharynx-defective-1α and -1β and inhibiting the aggregation of β-amyloid protein, magnesium ions inhibit the cognitive decline of amyloid precursor protein/presenilin 1 transgenic mice. FASEB J. 2015 Dec;29(12):5044-58. doi: 10.1096/fj.15-275578.[source]
- Gao SL, Chen SP, Ju ZF, Li HY. [FTIR studies of L-threonic acid and its metal compounds]. Guang Pu Xue Yu Guang Pu Fen Xi. 2003 Apr;23(2):276-8.[source]
- Garfinkel L, Garfinkel D. Magnesium regulation of the glycolytic pathway and the enzymes involved. Magnesium. 1985;4(2-3):60-72. [source]
- Dalmas O. Magnesium Selective Ion Channels. Biophysical Journal. 2007;93(11):3729-3730. doi:10.1529/biophysj.107.116533.[source]
- Tagoe T, Deeping D, Hamann M. Saturation of long-term potentiation in the dorsal cochlear nucleus and its pharmacological reversal in an experimental model of tinnitus. Exp Neurol. 2017 Jun;292:1-10. doi: 10.1016/j.expneurol.2017.02.011. Epub 2017 Feb 16.[source]
- Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database-Magnesium monograph. Accessed Nov 11, 2018 [source]
- Superfoodly staff: Magnesium Threonate Benefits for Brain, Too Good to be True? [source]
- Liu G, Weinger JG, Lu Z-L, Xue F, Sadeghpour S. Efficacy and Safety of MMFS-01, a Synapse Density Enhancer, for Treating Cognitive Impairment in Older Adults: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. 2015;49(4):971-990. doi:10.3233/JAD-150538.[source]
- Liu, Sun, Weinger and Mao “Regulation of structural and functional synapse density by L-threonate through modulation of intraneuronal magnesium concentration” sept 2016, accessed June 4, 2018[source]
- Tarleton EK, Littenberg B, MacLean CD, Kennedy AG, Daley C. Role of magnesium supplementation in the treatment of depression: A randomized clinical trial. PLoS One. 2017 Jun 27;12(6):e0180067. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0180067. eCollection 2017. PubMed PMID: 28654669;[source]
- Sartori SB, Whittle N, Hetzenauer A, Singewald N. Magnesium deficiency induces anxiety and HPA axis dysregulation: Modulation by therapeutic drug treatment. Neuropharmacology. 2012;62(1):304-312. doi:10.1016/j.neuropharm.2011.07.027. [source]
- Boyle NB, Lawton C, Dye L. The Effects of Magnesium Supplementation on Subjective Anxiety and Stress—A Systematic Review. Nutrients. 2017;9(5):429. doi:10.3390/nu9050429.[source]
- Peter Smith Balancing GABA & Serotonin Deficiency Anxiety, The Nature of GABA, GABA: The Brains Natural Valium[source]
- Swaminathan R. Magnesium Metabolism and its Disorders. The Clinical Biochemist Reviews. 2003;24(2):47-66.[source]
- Examine Staff-Magnesium accessed June 6, 2018[source]
- Bush AI. Kalzium ist nicht alles. Neuron. 2010 Jan 28;65(2):143-4. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2010.01.015.[source]
- Bradley Bush, ND, and Tori Hudson, ND The Role of Cortisol in Sleep The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis interacts with sleep in multiple ways. This article reviews the effects of the HPA axis on sleep and the converse.[source]
Top Rated Magnesium L-Threonate Supplements