Dietary Supplements and Brain Health
Magnesium is an important mineral for maintaining good cognitive function, or for that matter, body function as a whole. According to Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D., a medical advisory board member of the Nutritional Magnesium Association, “Magnesium alone is required in 700–800 different enzyme systems” and “ATP (adenosine triphosphate) production in the Krebs cycle depends on magnesium for six of its eight steps.”
On the cognitive front, Dean says that magnesium blocks neuro-inflammation caused by deposits of calcium and other heavy metals in brain cells as well as guarding ion channels and blocking heavy metals from entering. She explains that when magnesium is low, calcium rushes in and causes cell death.
Recent research has demonstrated that it is also critical for normal brain health and normal cognitive function by maintaining the density and stability of neuronal synapses.
In her book The Magnesium Miracle, Dean explains that deficiencies in magnesium alone can create symptoms of dementia. This is especially true as we age, since the body’s ability to absorb magnesium from our diet decreases and can also be hindered by medications common in elderly people. So, magnesium levels in the blood can decrease because the body lacks the ability to absorb the mineral, poor diet and medications, creating an excess of calcium and glutamate (especially if eating a diet high in MSG), both of which have a role to play in chronic neural degeneration and the development of dementia.