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Magnesium and Brain Health

Magnesium, Energy and The Brain

Magnesium plays significant roles within many of the body's tissues and organs, including the brain. One reason for its key role in brain health is due to the important part magnesium plays in energy production. The brain uses a disproportionate amount of energy. A study by M.E. Raichle published in Trends in Cognitive Sciences demonstrated that in the average human adult, the brain represents only about 2 percent of the body weight. However, the brain consumes a whopping 20 percent of overall energy consumed by the body.

Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is the energy currency of the body. But, for it to be biologically active, ATP must be bound to a magnesium ion, generally to one of the phosphate groups. Recent studies also show that if magnesium cannot get into the mitochondria - the powerhouses of cells, energy production is impaired and does not function optimally. In the brain, this might mean that energy production is not optimal and, subsequently, may have an impact on cognition.

Other researchers in a review article documented that magnesium enhances the activity of three important enzymes involved in energy production. Several of these enzymes are stimulated directly by a Magnesium-isocitrate complex and by free magnesium ions.

Ensuring that the brain has the magnesium, calories and other nutrients required for ATP production and conversion will help to optimize cognitive and other biological process that rely upon that energy.

Unfortunately, according to research published in Advances in Nutrition, only about 50 percent of the United States population consumes the daily requirement of magnesium from their diets. This research also stated that the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee characterized magnesium as a "shortfall nutrient of public health concern". This dietary inadequacy is not limited to the United States. For example, a study published in Nutrients reported that 72 percent of the Spanish population did not meet the EFSA recommended intakes of magnesium from their diets.

If insufficient amounts of magnesium are found in the diet, a dietary supplement containing magnesium may be warranted to help support normal brain health. Magnesium bisglycinate chelate is highly bioavailable. There are many studies that demonstrate its bioavailability through various stages in the body. This highly bioavailable source of supplementary magnesium can help provide adequate nutrition to support the health of the brain.