Doctor holding hologram of brain with magnesium supplementation

How Magnesium Helps Reverse Brain Aging

Scientists at MIT show how a form of magnesium reversed measures of brain aging by nine years in people.

Scientifically reviewed by: Dr. Gary Gonzalez, MD, in October 2022. Written by: David Cameron.

Around 65% of U.S. adults consume inadequate amounts of magnesium in their diet.1,2

Magnesium is especially important in the brain.

It plays key roles in cognitive function, including learning and memory.3

There are different forms of magnesium, but not all are effective at getting into the brain.

Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) developed a form called magnesium L-threonate that boosts brain levels quickly and efficiently.3-5

In animal models, increasing brain magnesium helps ward off cognitive decline and dementia.3-6

In a human study of adults with cognitive impairment, magnesium L-threonate reversed measures of brain aging by an astonishing nine years.7

A Form for the Brain

Magnesium is essential for bone density, nerve function, and much more.1,8-10

Magnesium enables brain cell communication, particularly in areas critical for learning and formation of memories. Magnesium deficiency is associated with loss of cognitive function.1,10-13

MIT researchers developed magnesium L-threonate to more effectively elevate levels of magnesium in the brain.3

In a rodent study, magnesium L-threonate raised cerebral spinal fluid levels of magnesium by 54%.14

How It Helps the Brain

Once in the brain, magnesium contributes to its healthy function in numerous ways.

For example, magnesium protects synapses, the structural communication connection points between brain cells.11

In animal studies, increasing brain levels of magnesium increased the total number of synapses, improved synaptic plasticity (the ability of synapses to adapt), and stimulated growth of new brain cells.3-6,14,15

This improved cognitive function, including learning and memory.

Animal models of brain aging, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and brain injury all show that magnesium intake results in improvements in cognition.3,4,6,14-18

Magnesium L-threonate leads to greater improvements in memory, number of synapses, and other cognitive functions than other forms tested.5,14

Reversing Human Brain Aging

Scientists have long known that a magnesium deficiency can result in cognitive problems. Studies are now starting to demonstrate that replenishing magnesium can improve cognitive abilities.

In one clinical study, researchers gave older people with early cognitive impairment 1,500-2,000 mg (depending on body weight) of magnesium L-threonate or a placebo daily for 12 weeks.7 Subjects began with some impairment in executive functioning, the ability to plan, adapt, focus, and make decisions.

At the beginning of the study, the participants averaged 57.8 years of age. However, their brain age based on cognitive functioning was 68.3 years old. By the end of the trial, those receiving magnesium L-threonate decreased their brain age a remarkable nine years.

Another human trial showed promising preliminary results in patients diagnosed with mild to moderate dementia. Even at this more advanced stage of cognitive decline, magnesium L-threonate led to improvements in cognition and executive function.19

Scientists have started to evaluate magnesium for neuropsychiatric conditions as well.

In a 2021 open-label, pilot study, 15 adults with moderate ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) received magnesium L-threonate for up to 12 weeks.

Nearly half of the participants displayed clinical improvements. The authors concluded that supplementation was effective and well-tolerated.20


Magnesium deficiency is tied to health conditions including cognitive decline. Yet most adults do not get enough magnesium from their diets.

In the brain, magnesium is needed for the proper functioning of synapses involved in complex tasks such as learning and memory.

Magnesium L-threonate is easily absorbed and taken up into the brain, providing cognitive benefits as shown by animal and human studies.

If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension Wellness Specialist at 1-866-864-3027.

What you need to know

Magnesium That Protects the Brain

  • Magnesium is a mineral required for the function of hundreds of enzymes throughout the body.
  • In the brain, it is needed for critical brain cell communication linked to cognitive functions like learning and memory.
  • In animal models and human trials, magnesium L-threonate is tied to improvements in cognitive function and mental health.
  • In one clinical study, magnesium L-threonate reversed measures of brain aging by nine years.


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