Increasing Daily Dose of Magnesium in Diet May Ward Off Dementia
Akshay Naik 07 April 2023
A team of researchers, from the neuro-imaging and brain lab at The Australian National University (ANU), have found that increasing your daily dose of magnesium may keep dementia at bay and even boost overall brain health. 
Published in the European Journal of Nutrition, the study utilised data from the UK Biobank and analysed more than 6,000 cognitively healthy participants in the United Kingdom aged 40 to 73. Dietary magnesium was measured using a 24-hour recall questionnaire to estimate the daily amount people ingested and recorded five times, over a period of 16 months. 
Researchers found that people who consumed more than 550mg (milligrams) of magnesium each day had a brain age that was approximately one year younger by the time they reached the age of 55, compared to someone with a normal magnesium intake of about 350mg a day.
Magnesium is a mineral commonly found in nuts, seeds, leafy greens and dairy products. It is essential for the maintenance of our body tissues including nerve signalling in the brain and the integrity of the blood-brain barrier. Deficiency in magnesium has been linked to an increase in brain inflammation and with the development of diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease. 
For the study, participants completed an online questionnaire five times, over a period of 16 months. The responses provided were used to calculate the daily magnesium intake of participants and were based on 200 different foods with varying portion sizes. In order to provide an average estimation of magnesium intake from the participants’ diets, the research team focused on magnesium-rich foods such as leafy green vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds and whole grains. 
“Our study shows a 41% increase in magnesium intake could lead to less age-related brain shrinkage, which is associated with better cognitive function and lower risk or delayed onset of dementia in later life. This means people of all ages should be paying closer attention to their magnesium intake,” said Dr Khawlah Alateeq, the lead author on the study from the ANU National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health.
Additionally, researchers also found that the brain-protective effects of more dietary magnesium appeared to benefit women more than men, and more so in post-menopausal than pre-menopausal women. Although, Dr Alateeq said that this effect could be due to the anti-inflammatory effect of magnesium.
The study projects that the number of people worldwide, who will be diagnosed with dementia, will more than double - from 57.4mn (million) in 2019 to 152.8mn (million) in 2050. This will place a greater strain on health and social services and the global economy.  
“Since there is no cure for dementia and the development of pharmacological treatments has been unsuccessful for the past 30 years, it’s been suggested that greater attention should be directed towards prevention. Our research could inform the development of public health interventions aimed at promoting healthy brain ageing through dietary strategies” said Dr Erin Walsh, who’s a co-author on the study. 
The researchers believe that a higher intake of magnesium in our diets from a younger age may safeguard against neuro-degenerative diseases and cognitive decline by the time we reach our 40s. 
Dr Alateeq further explained that their “study shows higher dietary magnesium intake may contribute to neuro-protection earlier in the ageing process and preventative effects may begin in our 40s or even earlier. This means people of all ages should be paying closer attention to their magnesium intake.”
5 months ago
I am 82 and feeling the effects of Dementia. This report is useful and I shall start taking more Magnesium-rich food.
Replied to deepak.narain comment 4 months ago
very hard to get sufficient amount from Food sources. Use a Magnesium supplement - Magnesium Glycinate is great !
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