If you’re concerned about those tiny slips of memories that appear with age for instance, where you’ve placed keys, a telephone number or someone’s name, then there’s new work on the benefits of magnesium that offer hope.

Neuroscientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) as well as Beijing’s Tsinghua University find that upping your magnesium intake an essential mineral found in leafy, dark vegetables and certain beans, fruits and nuts – might just help with the memory lapses that happen as we age.

Experts believe that our brain’s abilities are affected by the food we eat. Researchers report that 32% of Americans aren’t getting the recommended daily dose of magnesium. This is a major issue for many and a chance to gain knowledge.

For adults, the recommended daily intake of magnesium is 400 mg/day for males and the recommended daily dose for women who are yet to give birth.

Adults over 31 require 420 milligrams/day for men; the recommended daily dose for women not expecting is 320 milligrams. “Magnesium is vital for efficient functioning of many different tissues including magnesium glycinate  the brain. In a prior study we found that magnesium increased synaptic permeability in brain cells.” Guosong Liu, Director of the Center for Learning and Memory, Tsinghua University, Beijing. “Therefore it was appealing to take our research to the next level and study whether the increase in magnesium levels could improve cognitive function in animals.”

The results of the study are believed by experts to be used to help people regardless of the fact that the test was carried out on rats.

The study appears in the January 28, 2010 issue of journal Neruon, and demonstrates that increasing brain magnesium using a new compound, magnesium-L-threonate (MgT for short), aids learning, working memory as well as short and long term memory in rats.

Researchers also discovered that rats who were older performed better in a series learning tests. It was 2004 that Guosong Liu and his team at MIT first discovered that magnesium could aid in memory and learning. They followed with the development of a brand new magnesium compound which was found to be more effective than standard supplements in raising levels of the mineral in the brain.

The team then examined the way MgT triggers synapses to change. The synapses between nerves and neurons that transmit nerve signals are referred to as synapses. Both the old and young rats showed an increase in synaptic strength due to MgT. This led to increased density in the hippocamp. It is the brain’s area that plays a significant function in long-term memory as well as spatial navigation.

“This study not only demonstrates the importance of having a diet with sufficient daily magnesium, it also suggests the value of magnesium-based therapies for aging-related memory loss” Says study’s co-author Susumu Tonegawa. She works at MIT’s Picower Institute for Learning and Memory.

Recognizing that aging causes some reduction in the capacity to recall memories even if not all the information is presented as it should be, the researchers conducted different studies as part of their study.

They discovered that MgT treatment enhanced memory recall in partial information conditions in older rats, but had no affect in younger rats.

The authors of the study point out that the rodents used in the study were given a diet that contained adequate magnesium. The research revealed that magnesium levels were elevated to levels greater than those present in typical diets.

The majority of people in the industrialized world is believed to suffer from a magnesium deficiency, according to research by Liu. These findings could have a significant impact upon public health if MgT can be shown to be safe for humans and efficient. Magceutics is cofounded by Liu. The company produces treatments to prevent and treat dementia-related decline in memory and Alzheimer’s disease.

If you are suffering from cognitive decline as a result of age, eating a balanced diet that offers enough magnesium every day is smart and natural.

There is a lot of research being conducted on magnesium’s benefits on improving memory, and more research is required to determine the link between the magnesium that you consume in your diet, along with body and brain magnesium levels, and cognitive abilities.

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