Reconnect Your Brain Cells
February 2024 Issue

Reconnect Your Brain Cells

MIT researchers developed a form of magnesium that was shown to reverse measures of brain aging and improve synaptic density.

By Michael Downey.

As our brains age, we lose communication connections between brain cells called synapses.1

Loss of synapses is associated with brain shrinkage which is a structural predictor of cognitive decline.1-3

Preclinical studies show that by increasing brain magnesium concentrations, synaptic density(number) and plasticity(ability to adapt to stimuli) are enhanced.4-7

Regular magnesium intake, however, does not increase brain levels much because many forms of this mineral fail to efficiently cross the blood-brain barrier.6,8-10

MIT researchers developed a novel form called magnesium L-threonate that changes all that. It is easily absorbed and does cross the blood-brain barrier.8,11,12

Taken orally, magnesium L-threonate has the ability to significantly boost brain magnesium levels. This enables it to improve synaptic density and plasticity, and thus help reverse these aspects of brain aging.8,10,13,14

The effects are striking. In a human study, volunteers who took magnesium L-threonate had a reversal in measures of brain age of more than 9 years.13

Magnesium’s Brain Impact

The mineral magnesium works throughout the body as a cofactor required for normal functioning of hundreds of enzymes.15,16

Magnesium's role in the brain is especially critical. It protects synapses, the communication connection points between brain cells.10

In order to learn, or access memory, the brain's synapses require plasticity, the ability to adapt and change in response to stimuli.17

Decreased synaptic plasticity is a major contributor to cognitive decline in older adults.1

Animal studies show that increasing brain levels of magnesium:7,8,10-12,18

  • Increases the total number of synapses,
  • Improves synaptic plasticity
  • Stimulates the growth of new brain cells, and
  • Improves learning and memory.

Reaching the Brain

The majority of the U.S population are not getting enough magnesium in their diet.19  And very little magnesium from supplements enters the brain.8,20

A clinical study found that increasing blood magnesium levels by approximately 160%, changed magnesium levels in cerebrospinal fluid by only 15%.21

As a result, taking standard oral magnesium can provide bodily benefits but may not significantly improve brain function.8

There is a way around this problem. Researchers developed a specific form of magnesium that elevates levels of magnesium in the brain.8,10 It is called magnesium L-threonate (MgT).

In a rodent study, MgT raised cerebrospinal fluid levels of magnesium by approximately 15% and successfully increased synaptic density, an effect also observed in a separate cell culture study.7

Improving Memory

In this study, the effect on rodents' cognitive ability was dramatic.

Aged rats given magnesium L-threonate had enhanced learning ability, with improvements in short-term and long-term memory.8

Magnesium L-threonate was also tested in two studies utilizing a mouse model of Alzheimer's. In both studies, it prevented the loss of synapses associated with the disease and maintained or improved memory.10,12

Another mouse study showed that magnesium L-threonate stimulated growth of new brain cells in brain areas central to memory and learning. Growth of these cells typically slows or stops in older animals, but magnesium L-threonate restricted this decline.18


Magnesium-L-Threonate Takes Years Off Your Brain Age

  • Magnesium helps prevent brain aging and the loss of synapses seen with cognitive decline.
  • In animal studies, magnesium L-threonate crossed the blood-brain barrier and boosted brain magnesium levels to a vastly greater degree than other forms.
  • In animal models and human trials, magnesium L-threonate improved cognitive function. In one human study, it reversed cognitive measures of brain age by a remarkable nine years.

Human Trial

To test the cognitive benefits of magnesium L-threonate in humans, scientists conducted a randomized, placebo-controlled trial.13

Volunteers aged 50-70 years old were given either a placebo or 1,500-2,000 mg of magnesium L-threonate (depending on body weight) daily for 12 weeks. The participants all had some impairment in executive functioning, the ability to plan, adapt, focus, and make decisions.

Compared to placebo subjects, those receiving magnesium L-threonate showed improved cognitive abilities after six weeks.

A further 20% improvement from baseline was observed after 12 weeks 13 including significantly increased performance speed for executive function and cognitive processing.

The treatment group's composite scores for all tests combined increased significantly compared to their baselinescores and compared to the placebo group's scores at weeks six and twelve.13

All subjects were assigned a "brain age" by comparing their cognition test scores with normal scores for people the same age. At the start of the trial, the participants' chronological ages averaged 57.8 years. Their brain ages averaged a much older 68.3 years.13

After six weeks, those who took magnesium L-threonate had improved their brain age by an astounding nine years and by the end of the study the number was further improved to 9.4 years.13

Overall, taking magnesium L-threonate:13

  • Improved memory and executive function,
  • Improved cognitive abilities and speed,
  • Reduced fluctuations in cognitive function (cognitive function being worse on some days than others is an early warning sign of mild cognitive impairment), and
  • Reversed brain age.

These improvements are consistent with the greater synaptic density and plasticity shown in preclinical studies of magnesium L-threonate.5,10,12,14,18,22

In another clinical study, scientists tested magnesium L-threonate in patients 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.23

Whether taken in a capsule, powder, or gummy form, magnesium L-threonate shows great potential to prevent or reverse brain aging.


Based on magnesium L-threonate's brain benefits, researchers wondered whether it could also improve neuropsychiatric conditions.

In a pilot study, they gave magnesium L-threonate to 15 adults with moderate ADHD(attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) for up to 12 weeks.24

Almost half the participants displayed clinical improvements.24


Magnesium supports youthful brain function, and it is needed for functioning of brain synapses, vital for complex tasks such as learning and memory.

Unlike other forms of magnesium, a compound called magnesium L-threonate increases brain levels by a significant amount.

This enables it to boost synaptic density and plasticity.

A clinical study found that magnesium L-threonate reversed brain age in people by nine years.

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


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