Brain Health Spotlight: Magnesium Threonate

By Michael A. Smith, MD

A quick search for brain supplements on Google produces thousands of results. But it’s become apparent to us that all of the gingko in the world won’t help you unless your nerve cells properly connect to each other.

In the brain, the synapse is where nerve cells connect. This space between the cells allows for electrical signals to move from the brain throughout the body. This electrical signal is essential for everything from moving muscles and feeling pain to remembering where you left your keys. As we get older, these important connections deteriorate, the signals dissipate, and significant problems can develop with memory and cognition.

If you want to get the most out of your current brain formula, then we need to increase and enhance brain cell connections.

Magnesium Threonate Improves Nerve Cell Connections

The brain consists of about 100 billion neurons. On average, each neuron is connected to other neurons through about 10,000 synapses. The theory is pretty straight forward: The more connections you have, the better your memory, the faster your brain processes information, and the better your attention and focus will be.

Neurologists refer to the deterioration of the connections as synaptic decay. It’s basically a decrease in density and number of synaptic “connections.” The subsequent result is decline in memory, concentration, and attention.

This is where magnesium comes into play. Unfortunately, magnesium is one of the most deficient minerals in the American diet. And chronic deficiency has long been shown to negatively affect brain function. So you may be thinking that you need to start eating more magnesium-rich foods and supplementing with it. And you’d be right. But there’s a problem.

Most magnesium supplements do not readily cross the blood-brain barrier. To overcome this obstacle, an innovative form of magnesium is being introduced called magnesium threonate. Threonate is a vitamin C metabolite that acts as a carrier to help magnesium enter the brain. Other forms like magnesium chloride, gluconate, citrate, and glycinate don’t cross into the brain very well at all.

In preclinical models, L-threonate boosted magnesium levels in spinal fluid by an impressive 15% compared to no increase with conventional magnesium1. Even more compelling, animal models revealed improvements of 18% for short-term memory and 100% for long-term memory using the threonate form of magnesium.1

Animal Model Proves Magnesium Threonate Benefit

In a study, male rats were placed into two groups: a control and a magnesium threonate group. The researchers tested three parameters of brain function and conducted brain biopsies of both groups of rats. Here are the parameters they tested2:

  • Novel object recognition test (short-term memory)
  • T-maze test (spatial working memory)
  • Morris water maze (spatial long-term memory and memory recall)
They tested the rats after two weeks of treatment. Here’s what they found2:

  • The rats taking the magnesium threonate had significant increases in synaptic density, which can be seen in the slides below. The greater the green fluorescence, the greater the synaptic density.
  • Improvements in synaptic functioning and neuronal signaling.
  • Enhancement of recognition memory, spatial working memory, and synaptic density.

Make Your Brain Formula Work

Magnesium is an essential mineral for healthy nervous system function. Magnesium threonate is unique in that it can cross the blood-brain barrier to improve synaptic density and quality. With improved nerve cell connections, additional brain formulas will work even better.

Magnesium threonate is an extremely cost-effective way to enhance your brain’s function. For this reason, you should really give it a try by adding it to your regimen. As far as we’re concerned, it’s a no brainer.


  1. Neuron. 2010 Jan 28;65(2):165-77.
  2. J Neurosci. 2011 Oct 19;31(42):14871-81.


Perry Willis said...

I'm already taking 1000 mg of magnesium per day, divided into two equal doses. If I add this form of magnesium should I reduced the other form?

Anonymous said...

sometimes i take magnesium citrate for sleep but next day i feel weird because it is NMDA antagonist

Life Extension said...

There's no reason to decrease the other forms of magnesium. The threonate form does not impact systemic magnesium levels to any significant degree. It's pretty much going straight to the brain.

Perry Willis said...

Excellent. Thank you. I'll order some.

Anonymous said...

Is there a capsule that contains all 5 types of magnesium?

LifeExtension said...

We haven't seen one that combines magnesium L-threonate with other forms of magnesium. But there are products which blend different types of magnesium into one pill.

Anonymous said...

Where can I get this product. Is it in local stores? Like Walgreens or Walmart for example

Life Extension said...

Unfortunately, we can't mention a specific brand, but you don't have to look far. ;-) Feel free to email our advisor line f( for specific suggestions.

Anonymous said...

Mmm...I am proponent of MGT but the photo of the Stopping MGT synaptic density looks more depleted than before Starting MGT. Would you cite your photo sources, please.

Life Extension said...

Anonymous - We use different stock footage websites. Sorry, if the pic confused you.

JJHite said...

A key method to keep your mind working is to give it time (at least 7 hours) to relax every night. "Rest is the most significant thing you can do to reset the mind, enable it to mend, and to reestablish psychological wellness," says Romie Mushtaq, MD, a nervous system research services specialist and integrative medication authority.

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