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Don't Forget Your Magnesium!

Magnesium is one of the most important minerals our bodies need, but studies show about half of Americans don't get enough of it. Researchers at MIT have discovered a new reason you should include more organic green leafy vegetables chock full of magnesium in your diet, especially if you're a "Baby Boomer" like me: Magnesium may help you maintain your memory function into middle age and beyond.

Magnesium regulates a key brain receptor important for learning and memory, according to the study. Scientists found evidence a magnesium deficit may lead to decreased memory and learning ability, while an abundance of it may improve a person's cognitive functioning.

Plasticity, or the ability to change, is key to the brain's ability to learn and remember. The loss of plasticity in the hippocampus, where short-term memories are stored, causes the forgetfulness common in older people. But how does magnesium work?

Magnesium serves as the gatekeeper for the NMDA receptor, which receives signals from an important excitatory neurotransmitter involved in synaptic plasticity. Simply put, magnesium helps the receptor open up for meaningful input and shut down to background noise.

A healthy diet, high in magnesium, according to Dr. Carolyn Dean, one of the popular columnists I feature exclusively in my twice-weekly eHealthy News You Can Use, alleviates other threats to your health, including:

  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Asthma
  • Blood clots
  • Bowel disease
  • Cystitis

Learn more about the miracle of magnesium by reading Dr. Dean's popular piece I posted last summer.

Medical News Today December 1, 2004


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