Why Magnesium Is an Anti-Aging Ingredient for Your Brain Health  

by JJ Virgin on August 17, 2023

I’m always looking for strategies to age more powerfully, and magnesium certainly fits the bill. This multitasking mineral contributes to hundreds of key cellular reactions, especially those that keep your brain, heart, and skeletal muscles healthy.1  

While we’re still learning more about this complex mineral, researchers know one thing for sure—it plays an important role in the aging process, especially keeping your brain healthy as you grow older. 

Understanding more about magnesium and how to get enough of it each day will let you reap the brain-boosting benefits of this essential mineral and age powerfully

How Does Magnesium Help With Aging and Brain Health? 

Since magnesium is a factor in so many reactions within your body, it impacts the aging process in several ways.  

Magnesium Helps Keep Your Brain Young  

Magnesium has significant benefits for maintaining cognitive function and preventing age-related neurological conditions. This workhorse mineral helps regulate neurotransmitters, the chemical messengers that help your brain and body communicate.  

Low levels of magnesium mean that neurotransmitter regulation can go awry. As a result, your brain gets excess levels of two key neurotransmitters (GABA and glutamate) related to stress, learning, and memory. Too much of each can overstimulate your brain, potentially contributing to neurological conditions including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, stroke, and even migraines and chronic pain.2 

Researchers also believe magnesium is linked to your mental health. Low magnesium levels may be associated with depression, and supplementing with magnesium could potentially alleviate depressive symptoms. One study looked at adults who had low magnesium levels and were also experiencing depression. After eight weeks of supplementing, magnesium lifted their low feelings.3  

Women in perimenopause or menopause especially benefit from increasing magnesium intake for brain health. A recent study found that diets with higher magnesium levels led to a lower risk of dementia and better overall brain health. Researchers found that about 550 mg of magnesium a day slowed down brain aging about a year compared with counterparts getting less than that.4 Researchers attributed this at least in part to the anti-inflammatory effects of magnesium. 

Magnesium Helps With Neuroinflammation  

Chronic inflammation and aging are so linked that decades ago, Italian researcher Claudio Franceschi coined the term “inflammaging.” 5 

Along with leading to chronic conditions like type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, researchers link inflammation with neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s disease.6 As well, scientists have found that magnesium deficiencies contribute to the neuroinflammation, or inflammation in the brain.  

One reason this occurs: Magnesium supports the integrity of the blood-brain barrier. Without enough, too many inflammatory cells move into the brain.7  

Researchers find neuroinflammation can lead to insulin resistance in the brain that may be a key factor in Alzheimer’s.8 Some scientists believe that mechanism is similar to insulin resistance and poorly controlled blood-sugar levels, which leads to type 2 diabetes. The link is so similar that some researchers have called Alzheimer's type 3 diabetes, or diabetes of the brain. 

Magnesium may be a key inflammation fighter. Researchers find suboptimal levels in people with chronic conditions brought on by inflammation.9 They note being mindful about low magnesium levels and supplementing appropriately may stave off the problems that chronic inflammation can cause.10 

Magnesium Supports a Healthy Heart 

Magnesium seems to know that when your heart is happy. This multitasking mineral has numerous roles in maintaining cardiovascular function.  

Researchers have linked optimal magnesium levels to a lower risk of cardiovascular issues, including high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and coronary heart disease.11   

This is partly because of how magnesium interacts with calcium. Calcium acts as a stimulator for your heart, causing its fibers to contract. Magnesium kicks in and blocks calcium from providing too much stimulation, leading to a steady, healthy heartbeat, rather than one that’s racing or irregular.12  

A healthy heart supports a healthy brain. By regulating your heartbeat and maintaining normal blood-pressure levels, magnesium ensures efficient blood flow to the brain. This helps provide an adequate supply of oxygen and nutrients crucial for optimal brain function, like problem-solving, focusing, and concentrating.  

Magnesium’s anti-inflammatory properties benefit your heart and brain. Sufficient magnesium promotes cardiovascular health and reduces inflammation, reducing the risk of neuroinflammation that can lead to the conditions influenced by both brain and heart health, including strokes.  

Magnesium Helps You Sleep Off the Years 

Another thing your brain absolutely loves? Going to bed. Sleep gives your brain a chance to do a bit of a spring cleaning called the glymphatic system, removing the day’s waste products and allowing for the cellular restoration that will help you function the next day.  

This process is particularly important to reduce neurogenerative diseases, since some of those waste products being cleared are harmful substances like the plaques associated with Alzheimer’s.13 

Without proper sleep, cellular regeneration stalls, impacting every single aspect of your health. Subpar sleep leads to conditions already exacerbated or accelerated due to aging and neuroinflammation, including autoimmune and neurogenerative disease14 and obesity.15  

Sleep also promotes neural plasticity, a key component in forming the neural pathways that allow you to form and access memories, learn new things, and problem-solve.  

What’s more, sleep boosts your brain performance—that's why you don’t feel like you’re firing on every cylinder when you’ve had a rough night’s sleep. Awesome sleep helps your brain stay sharp and ready to tackle new challenges.  

Increasing magnesium can improve your sleep and allow your brain to undergo its nightly recharge. Some neurotransmitters that magnesium regulates are related to your sleep, including GABA, which helps you relax, and serotonin, which is crucial to your circadian rhythm.16  

Remember how magnesium helped to block calcium from overstimulating your heart muscle cells? It has a similar effect in your other muscle cells, relaxing them and allowing you to feel more at ease—an important job if it’s stress or a racing mind that’s keeping you up at night. 

One study found that taking magnesium improved both the quality and duration of participant sleep.17 Another found that supplementing with magnesium helped lower the risk of women falling asleep during the daytime, suggesting the mineral helped improve their quality of sleep to feel more rested at night and recharged during the day.18 

Sleep Candy™ combines 3 mg of melatonin with 5-HTP, vitamin B6, inositol, and L-theanine. These nutrients work as a team to support healthy sleep and overall relaxation. It's my go-to formula that helps you get deep, restorative sleep… every single night.*

How to Get Enough Magnesium   

Given the many benefits of magnesium, you’ll want to ensure you’re getting sufficient amounts of this might mineral. Sadly, nearly 70% of Americans aren’t getting the recommended amount each day. 

The National Institutes of Health currently recommends women in their 30s and beyond get 320 mg of magnesium per day, though much of the research I’ve referenced above shows that benefits occur when diets contain 400 or more mg of magnesium.  

Luckily, you can incorporate these delicious magnesium-rich foods:  

  • Nuts and Seeds: Pumpkin seeds are magnesium superstars, containing about 150 mg of magnesium in a one ounce serving. Try them toasted with guacamole! Chia seeds and almonds come close behind in magnesium content, with about 110mg and 80mg each, respectively. 
  • Dark chocolate: Just one ounce of organic 70-85% dark chocolate is one of the tastiest ways to get about 64mg of magnesium. 
  • Leafy greens: A half cup of cooked spinach or cooked Swiss chard have about 75mg of magnesium each. 
  • Legumes: Cooked black beans and black-eyed peas provide about 60mg of magnesium per half cup. 
  • Bananas: A small, unripe banana in your loaded smoothie adds about 30mg of magnesium to your day. 

Honestly, getting sufficient magnesium from food alone can be a real challenge. I find that nearly everyone benefits from a quality supplement.  

Magnesium comes in different forms. Each can play a different role, and each can be differently absorbed by your body. Some forms of magnesium (like magnesium oxide) don’t absorb well and can create uncomfortable GI symptoms. 

Well-absorbed forms include magnesium citrate, glycinate, and carbonate. Look for chelated magnesium, which comes bound to another compound to help your body take it in and break it down. 

I wasn’t happy with any magnesium supplements, so I formulated my own with Magnesium Body Calm, a highly bioavailable, chelated form of magnesium glycinate. This specially formulated magnesium supports many of the benefits I’ve listed above, including boosting your brain health and relaxing your muscles.  

Getting enough magnesium daily supports your brain, heart, and overall health, allowing you to age powerfully and continue doing the things you love. Magnesium Body Calm is the most efficient way to get optimal amounts: each serving provides 300mg of highly absorbable magnesium in its most effective form.*  

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. Products mentioned are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The views in this blog by JJ Virgin should never be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. Please work with a healthcare practitioner concerning any medical problem or concern. 


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