MagTech from Natural Stacks is a superior magnesium supplement that can act as a nootropic, increasing cognitive function, relaxation, and sleep quality. Magnesium is a very abundant ion in the human body, and is necessary for almost every aspect of normal physiology since it is an essential cofactor for over 300 enzymatic reactions. Magnesium also plays many roles in the brain. Among other activities it is important for synaptic plasticity and the number of synaptic connections, it has anti-anxiety effects, and it determines sleep quality.

Unfortunately farming practices and changes in diet mean that many people in industrialised countries no longer obtain optimal quantities of magnesium. The more common supplements contain simple inorganic magnesium salts. Many of these have low bioavailability, and especially fail to increase magnesium levels in the brain, hence depriving the users of the nootropic effects of magnesium. Another problem is that some of the salts have unpleasant gastro intestinal side effects. Many of them are used as anti-constipation medication, and although they provide efficient relief when needed, they cannot really be used as a daily supplement.

Natural Stacks have used cutting edge research to formulate MagTech, which bypasses all these problems. MagTech contains magnesium in three different forms, each one consisting of the ion chelated to a different amino acids. These have high bioavailability, and there is solid scientific evidence that shows that they can increase magnesium levels in the central nervous system, and that they improve cognitive function in preclinical studies on animals. The chelated forms of magnesium also have no side effects on the digestive system, so they can be used as daily supplements. What is more, each of the carrier groups for the magnesium has its own beneficial function, which work in synergy with the mineral. Because of this MagTech is a nutritionally dense supplement, each chemical plays its role in producing the enhanced cognitive performance.

The first nootropic magnesium supplement n MagTech is magnesium threonate (MgT), better known under its proprietary name Magtein. This particular chelate came to neuroscientists’attention in a 2010 paper in the prestigious journal Neuron. In it the authors first demonstrated that MgT can increase the levels of magnesium in rat cerebrospinal fluid after treatment for 24 days. It was the only magnesium supplement tested that achieved that. Treatment with the other supplements, magnesium chloride, magnesium citrate, or magnesium gluconate in milk failed to raise cerebro-spinal magnesium concentration above that of control animals.

Having established that magnesium threonate taken orally can indeed raise the brain magnesium level, the scientists proceeded to establish whether it can have the predicted effect on synaptic connections in the hypothalamus.

Nerves in the body are not continuous. They have to communicate with each other across synapses, tiny gaps between nerves. Since electrical impulses cannot cross a synapse, the electrical nerve impulse has to be transformed into a chemical impulse to be transmitted across the synapse. The chemical message must then cause a membrane depolarisation and an action potential in the neuron after the synapse (the postsynaptic neuron).

The chemical message is contained in molecules known as neurotransmitters. The presynaptic neuron contains many neurotransmitter vesicles near the membrane before the synapse. An electric impulse causes these to be released in the synapse, which they cross, bind to receptors in the membrane of the postsynaptic neuron and cause the nerve message to be passed on.

The ability of synapses to transmit impulses between neurons is not fixed, and can be altered by experience. This is known as synaptic plasticity and is the basis of learning and memory. When neurons are activated synchronously the synaptic connection between them is strengthened, and this change can last for a very long time, and is known as long-term potentiation (LTP). The study looked at the role the magnesium ion plays in the synaptic plasticity of NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartic acid) receptor synapses, since NMDA neurons are well known to be important for memory. Magnesium controls the amount of neurotransmitter released from presynaptic neurons, and the activation of the NMDA receptor in the post-synaptic neuron. It is now thought that the cognitive decline associated with getting old might be partially related to decreases in brain magnesium levels. In the 2010 Neuron study the researchers noted that MagTein treatment increased NR2B containing NMDA receptors and was associated with a “dramatic increase in short-term synaptic facilitation and long-term potentiation”

Magnesium also appears to be important for maintaining the synaptic connections density in the brain, another factor that decreases with aging and is thought to contribute to cognitive decline. When the brains of rats treated with MagTein were histologically sectioned and stained for presynaptic proteins such as synaptophysin and synaptobrevin, an increase in the number of positive foci was observed in the rats with increased magnesium.

The changes in synaptic connections caused by magnesium threonate treatment correlate very well with functional memory tests. Both young and aged Magnesium threonate treated rats scored significantly better on spatial working memory and spatial long-term memory, and memory recall tests than rats fed on placebo.

At the moment there is a lack of clinical data using human subjects, and all the conclusions on the efficacy of magnesium threonate are obtained from animal studies. However, these studies are highly suggestive that magnesium threonate supplementation would have similar effects in humans, since the mechansims governing long-term potentiation and NMDA receptors are conserved between the species. Therefore it is highly likely that magtein will have similar learning and memory enhancing functions in young people, while reversing the cognitive decline experienced by older people.

The second form of magnesium supplementation in MagTech is magnesium taurate, in which the metal ion is bound to taurine. Taurine is a biochemical that is found in many animal tissues. Although taurine’s chemical structure resembles that of amino acids, it has is a sulfonic acid and does not contain a carboxyl group. As such it is not used as a building block in any protein. It does however have many essential physiological functions.

The rational for using taurine as a chelating agent for magnesium is that it has high bioavailability, is well absorbed from the digestive tract, and can cross the blood-brain barrier. Therefore it can deliver the magnesium to the cerebro-spinal fluid and raise the brain concentration of the essential ion. Moreover, taurine has many positive functions in the central nervous system, that complement those of magnesium, so the two components of magnesium taurate can work synergistically to achieve a calming, anti-anxiety effect, and help you handle the stresses of everyday life without losing your mental equilibrium.

As well as its calming effect taurine also has antioxidant action, protecting the nervous system and the body from oxidative stress. It is also essential for the development of the central nervous system, skeletal muscles, and the retina in the eyes. It is essential for a proper heartbeat, and for skeletal muscle contractions, and can help achieve osmoregulation, membrane stabilization and correct calcium signalling. In animal studies it was shown to be effective at preventing fatty deposits from forming in the liver, and at preventing liver disease. In human tests it has also been shown to decrease blood pressure and plasma levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. Thus taurine is far from only a carrier of the magnesium ion in MagTech, instead it has many health benefits of its own, and works synergistically with magnesium’s calming and anti-anxiety action.

MagTech’s Magnesium Glycinate

The final component of MagTech’s innovative, unique formula is magnesium glycinate, where the essential divalent ion is chelated by the amino acid glycine. Glycine is the simplest amino acid in terms of its chemical structure. As well as the normal function of all amino acids, that of being the building block of proteins, it also has very specific roles in the central nervous system, where it functions as a neurotransmitter.

Recent studies have discovered a role for glycine in enhancing sleep quality, and also in improving wakefulness and decreasing fatigue during states of mild sleep deprivation.

As a neurotransmitter glycine appears to be able to act in both inhibitory and excitatory ways. When it is bound to glycine receptors it is inhibitory and prevents nerve impulses from being transmitted. However, it can also act as a co-agonist at NMDA receptors, in which case its role is excitatory. Studies show that glycine can freely diffuse across the blood brain barrier, which means that ingensting the amino acid will directly raise the brain levels of it.

Neuroscience work in rats suggests that glycine achieves its effects by working on the NMDA (N-methyl- D-aspartate) recepotrs in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). The SCN is a tiny region, the size of a grain of rice, in the hypothalamus that regulates the hormonal and neuronal activities that underlie the body’s 24 hour circadian cycle. It is sometimes referred to as the circadian pacemaker site.

It is thought that glycine acts on the SCN to cause a decrease of core body temperature and increased vasodilation at night, which results in a deeper, higher quality sleep.

The ability of glycine to improve sleep quality has been studied in a placebo-controlled trial. Human volunteers who complained of consistently unsatisfactory sleep were asked to take 3g of glycine before bed. Any improvement in their quality of sleep was assessed both with a subjective questionnaire, and with polysomnography. Both the subjective and the more quantitative methods showed that the glycine supplement before bedtime resulted in more restful sleep, and in less of the time in bed being spent in the awake state. Therefore the glycine carrier, not only improves the bioavailability of magnesium, but also acts with it synergistically to help with insomnia.

Not only does glycine appear to improve the quality of sleep, but in cases where you can’t allow yourself to get quite as much sleep as your body needs, it appears to lower the symptoms of fatigue and sleepiness during the day. This was demonstrated by another study, published in the journal Frontiers in Neurology in 2012. In the study healthy volunteers were deprived of about 25% of their usual sleep duration for three consecutive nights. Their performance was measured using a PC performance test and their subjective feelings of fatigue and sleepiness was assessed using a questionnaire. The study clearly showed that taking a 3g of glycine supplement before bedtime allows people to deal with mild sleep deprivation better. Hence magnesium glycine is the perfect supplement to take when you are not getting your optimal amount of sleep, something to which all of us are subject from time to time, but you still need to perform your best.

Natural Stacks MagTech therefore functions in ways that are very different from inorganic magnesium salt supplements. Because it consists of three forms of magnesium chelated to amino acids or organic molecules it has high bioavailability and can be absorbed efficiently from the digestive tract. Not only that but studies in animals show that the forms of magnesium in MagTech, such as magnesium threonate, can actually increase magnesium levels in the cerebrospinal fluid, while salts such as magnesium chloride cannot. Studies have also shown that increasing the brain magnesium levels has visible effects on synaptic plasticity and the number of synaptic connections, and improves cognition and memory. The forms of magnesium present in MagTech are nutritionally dense. The chemical groups that chelate magnesium are not merely carriers of the essential ion, but act synergistically with it to lessen anxiety, improve sleep quality, and improve wakefulness and performance after mild sleep deprivation.

Further Reading:

Magnesium and hippocampus synaptic activity:

Magnesium threonate (Magtein) enhances cognitive function:

Anti-anxiety actions of taurine:

The effects of glycine on sleep quality and wakefulness: