• Research Scientist

Does Magnesium Help Your Memory?

Updated: Jan 17

Magnesium on the Brain

  • Counters depression

  • Reduces stress reactivity

  • Ameliorates anxiety

  • Influences activity of NMDA receptors

  • Reverses brain aging

  • Controls synaptic density and plasticity

  • Preserves neurologic function in traumatic brain injury

The multifunctional aspect of Magnesium reaches to the core of our existence and thought processes. Our brain relies on the Central Nervous System, which relies on biochemical processes to function. Researchers have uncovered the Magnesium interactions with other micronutrients, how and why it plays such an important role.

We will extrapolate from some articles that have elaborated and consolidated a very intertwined and overlapping position on Magnesium and the brain to offer a clearer understanding of how:

  • Magnesium helps the brain function,

  • Magnesiums helps as a sleep aid

  • Magnesium Helps to Calm and reduce anxiety

Brain Function:

Let's look at the mechanisms first. Magnesium hangs out in the synapse between two neurons along with calcium and glutamate. If you recall, calcium and glutamate are excitatory, and in excess, toxic. They activate the NMDA receptor. Magnesium can sit on the NMDA receptor without activating it, like a guard at the gate. Therefore, if we are deficient in magnesium, there's no guard. Calcium and glutamate can activate the receptor like there is no tomorrow. In the long term, this damages the neurons, eventually leading to cell death. In the brain, that is not an easy situation to reverse or remedy.1

Calm and Anxiety:

And then there is the stress-diathesis model of depression, which is the generally accepted theory that chronic stress leads to excess cortisol, which eventually damages the hippocampus of the brain, leading to impaired negative feedback and thus ongoing stress and depression and neurotoxicity badness. Murck tells us that magnesium seems to act on many levels in the hormonal axis and regulation of the stress response. Magnesium can suppress the ability of the hippocampus to stimulate the ultimate release of stress hormone, it can reduce the release of ACTH (the hormone that tells your adrenal glands to get in gear and pump out that cortisol and adrenaline), and it can reduce the responsiveness of the adrenal glands to ACTH. In addition, magnesium can act at the blood brain barrier to prevent the entrance of stress hormones into the brain. 2

Sleep aid:

Recent studies could show that the natural N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) antagonist and GABA(A) agonist Mg(2+) seems to play a key role in the regulation of sleep and endocrine systems such as the HPA system and renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS).


Numerous studies have been conducted on the affect Magnesium has on nerve, muscle function and neurotransmission enhancement. Magnesium also functions in a protective role against excessive excitation that can lead to neuronal cell death (excitotoxicity), and has been implicated in multiple neurological disorders.

The current bridge that helps us understand Magnesiums role in brain function is related to its ability to increase blood flow and oxygenation to the brain.

It has been also studied to affect telomeres extend their lifespan, Magnesium has been shown to decreases in telomere length and decreased telomerase activity.4

To summarize, Magnesium has the potential to affect the brains memory ability however additional research needs to be conducted in this area.


The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.






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