Magnesium Deficiency Found in Mild-to-Moderate Alzheimer’s Disease – New Study Reveals

In a new study published in Magnesium Research (Magnes Res. 2011 September 1;24(3):115-21) Italian researchers examined the magnesium status of people with mild-to- moderate Alzheimer’s disease. They found those with low-ionized magnesium levels had the most impaired cognitive function as compared to the control group.

Altered Ionized Magnesium Levels in Mild-to-Moderate Alzheimer’s Disease

Study Abstract:

Magnesium deficiency is present in several chronic, age-related diseases, including cardiovascular, metabolic and neurodegenerative diseases. Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common cause of dementia. The aim of the present study was to study magnesium homeostasis in patients with mild to moderate AD. One hundred and one elderly (?65?years) patients were consecutively recruited (mean age: 73.4±0.8?years; M/F: 42/59). In all patients, a comprehensive geriatric assessment was performed including cognitive and functional status. Admission criteria for the AD group (diagnosed according to the DSM-IV and the NINCDS-ADRDA criteria) included: mild to moderate cognitive impairment (MMSE score: 11-24/30, corrected for age and education). Blood samples were analyzed for serum total magnesium (Mg-tot) and serum ionized magnesium (Mg-ion). AD patients had significantly lower MMSE scores (20.5±0.7 vs 27.9±0.2; p<0.001), and for the physical function tests. Mg-ion was significantly lower in the AD group as compared to age-matched control adults without AD (0.50±0.01 mmol/L vs 0.53±0.01 mmol/L; p<0.01). No significant differences were found in Mg-tot between the two groups (1.91±0.03 mEq/L vs 1.95±0.03 mEq/L; p=NS). For all subjects, Mg-ion levels were significantly and directly related only to cognitive function (Mg-ion/MMSE r=0.24 p<0.05), while no significant correlations were found in this group of patients between magnesium and ADL or IADL. Our results show the presence of subclinical alterations in Mg-ion in patients with mild to moderate AD.


Barbagallo M, Belvedere M, Di Bella G, Dominguez LJ. Altered ionized magnesium levels in mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s disease. Magnes Res.  2011 September  1;24(3):115-21. Chair of Geriatrics, Department of Internal Medicine and Medical Specialties (DIMIS), University of Palermo, Italy.

Expert Commentary from Dr. Carolyn Dean, MD, ND – Medical Director of the Nutritional Magnesium Association:

It is important to note in this study that the magnesium ion test showed low magnesium levels in Alzheimer’s disease whereas the serum total magnesium levels didn’t show a deficiency. This serves to confirm that serum magnesium levels are a poor way to diagnose magnesium deficiency and that Magnesium ion testing is a far more valid way of testing for magnesium deficiency.

In spite of, or perhaps because of, all the metabolic processes that rely on magnesium, less than 1 percent of our body’s total magnesium can be measured in our blood; the rest is busily occupied in the cells and tissues or holding our bones together.

Therefore, it is virtually impossible to make an accurate assessment of the level of magnesium in various body tissue cells using a routine serum magnesium test. This test is often called a total serum magnesium test, which you might imagine relates to all the magnesium in your body—but it does not.

Magnesium in the blood does not correlate with the amount of magnesium in other parts of your body. In fact, if you are under the stress of various ailments, your body pumps magnesium out of the cells and into the blood, giving the mistaken appearance of normality on testing in spite of bodywide depletion.

Unfortunately, most magnesium evaluations done in hospitals and in laboratories use the antiquated serum magnesium test.

Additional Information Regarding Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is often misdiagnosed. Half the people diagnosed with it may, in fact, not have this condition but suffer from brain toxicity due to a lifelong accumulation of toxins, chemicals, poisons, and nutrient deficiencies that prevents normal detoxification. While allopathic medicine tries to find the “one cause” for Alzheimer’s and the “one drug” that will cure it, alternative medicine practices detoxification and supplementation to effectively treat this condition. Other possible causes of Alzheimer like symptoms and ones that need to be ruled out and/or treated include: thyroid deficiency, vitamin B12 deficiency (pernicious anemia), mini strokes, Parkinson’s disease, allergies, yeast overgrowth, polypharmacy, drug reactions, environmental allergies, heavy metal toxicity, and nutritional imbalances.

It’s best to avoid heavy metals, chemicals, toxins, and poisons as much as possible. Our bodies have a great deal of resilience and try to protect us from toxins. However, we are exposed to thousands of chemicals on a daily basis and our detoxification pathways are being overloaded.

Aluminum and mercury are the two major heavy metals cited as prime suspects in Alzheimer’s. Men and women should not use antiperspirants containing aluminum hydroxide, which blocks the lymphatic system around the breasts and is implicated in breast cancer as well as Alzheimer’s. Visit the FDA website a list of nearly 100 medicines that, shockingly, still contain mercury. Avoid all aluminum pots and pans and aluminum foil, antiperspirants, and antacids. Aluminum sulfate is added in the water treatment process to help eliminate bacteria, however, this means aluminum contaminates our water supply. Chlorine, fluoride, and arsenic are other contaminants that need to be filtered out of drinking water. Distilled water and reverse osmosis are said to offer the most complete removal of contaminants, however, you must take full mineral replacement if you use these forms of water purification.

Magnesium is a natural detoxifier. Magnesium helps detoxify toxic chemicals and binds with and helps eliminate heavy metals from the body.


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