MagTech’s Magnesium L-Threonate is one of the three forms of magnesium chelates in Natural Stacks highly effective nootropic supplement.  Magnesium is an essential mineral, necessary for practically all the tissues in the body, and very important for correct central nervous system functioning.  Magnesium is necessary for correct cognitive functioning in the brain, storing memory, dealing with stress, and obtaining high quality sleep. At the same time, it is thought that many people in industrialised countries are not obtaining enough magnesium through the diet. Unfortunately, many of the more common magnesium supplements fail to increase brain magnesium levels, and hence do not provide any nootropic benefits at all. In a 2010 animal study from MIT, magnesium L-threonate was the only one, of the forms of magnesium studied, which increased the concentration of the divalent ion in cerebrospinal fluid.

Neuroscientists have long been aware of the fact that nutrition and chemistry can significantly alter brain function. Animal studies have shown that the type of receptors that are found in the neurons of the central nervous system can affect how well the brain functions. A seminal 1999 paper published in the journal Nature described the production of a ‘smart mouse’ by a team in Princeton.  The transgenic mouse expressed larger than usual amounts of the NMDA receptor 2B (NR2B) and had superior learning skills and memory than wild type mice. The NMDA receptor is known to play a crucial role as a coincidence sensor in setting up long-term potentiation (LTP), the increased strength of synaptic connections between neurons that are activated at the same time, which is the basis of encoding new memories in the brain. The next breakthrough was a paper by a group at MIT that showed that magnesium had a key role in synaptic plasticity.

The next step was to test directly whether elevating brain magnesium concentrations could improve memory. However this step took a rather long time since increasing brain magnesium levels proved very difficult. Finally they produced a new magnesium supplement, in which the metal ion was chelated to L-threonine, which had great bioavailability and could actually increase brain magnesium when absorbed from the gastro-intestinal tract.

L-threonine is a low molecular weight product of vitamin C metabolism. It is already present in the brain, which shows that it can cross the blood brain barrier, and is a natural substance that is not associated with toxic side effects. Magnesium-threonate is also known as MagTein. The MIT scientists first tested whether it could, in fact, increase magnesium levels in the central nervous system. In animal tests, rats where fed on a diet supplemented with MagTein, and their cerebrospinal fluid magnesium levels testes after 2 weeks, and then again after 24 days. In the experiment, the efficacy of magnesium threonate was compared to more common inorganic magnesium salts such as magnesium chloride, magnesium citrate, and magnesium glucolate in milk. After 24 days only the rats fed on magnesium threonate showed an increase of about 15% in the levels of magnesium ion in their cerebro-spinal fluid, the other magnesium supplements had no effect.

The results, published in 2010 in the very prestigious journal, Neuron, clearly show that only magnesium L-threonate is able to increase brain magnesium levels. The inorganic magnesium salt supplements have no effect on it. Thus magnesium threonate, one of the chelated forms of the metal ion found in Natural Stacks MagTech, was the only supplement that could increase brain magnesium levels.

The 2010 neuron study went on to look at the mechanism of action of the increased Mg2from MagTech’s magnesium threonate. One of the effects was to increase synaptic plasticity, the way in which the strength of the connections between neurons is not fixed but can be varied depending on neuronal excitation. The researchers found that both short-term synaptic facilitation and long-term potentiation (LTP) showed a dramatic increase in the brains of animals whose diet was supplemented with MagTech’s magnesium threonate.

The effects of magnesium on LTP might seems surprising at first glance, since it actually blocks appears NMDA receptors which are necessary for mediating LTP and therefore the formation of memories. However, it appears that Magnesium selectively blocks transmission through the NMDA receptor, by blocking calcium ion influx, during ‘background’ activity, not when the nerves are actually excited by stimuli. Magnesium also appears to increase the number of NR2B receptors, the same receptors that were overexpressed in the ‘smart mouse’.

Tests on hippocampus samples obtain from rats on the magnesium threonate diet did in fact show higher capacity for long-term potentiation. Significantly they also showed a higher density of synaptic connections, as revealed by staining for presynaptic proteins. The number of synaptic connections plays an important role in the efficiency of learning and storing memories. It is also known that as we age the number of synaptic connections decreases. It is possible therefore that increasing magnesium levels in the central nervous system might help protect, and perhaps even reverse to some degree, the loss of cognitive acuity that people experience in old age.

In fact, the magnesium supplement was tested on a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease. It was shown that MagTein can prevent, and even reverse the synaptic loss and brain function deficits caused by that devastating disease.

The effect of magnesium threonate on learning and memory was also tested functionally in animals. Young and aged rats were fed a diet supplemented with MagTein, and their performance in various tests was compared to that of rats that did not receive the supplement. Both young and old animals on the magnesium threonate supplemented diet performed significantly better on spatial working memory and special long-term memory, and on memory recall tests than the control rats.

At the moment there are no published clinical trials in people, although two double blind, placebo controlled studies are underway. However, thousands of people are now taking magnesium threonate as a nootropic supplement, and are reporting excellent results of enhanced mental clarity, better thinking and improved memory, with no negative side effects reported.

MagTech’s magnesium threonate, in which the divalent ion is chelated to the small vitamin C metabolite, has very well absorbed in the digestive tract, and, unlike magnesium salts, can cross the blood brain barrier and elevate magnesium levels in the brain. In animal studies it was shown to increase both short-term facilitation and long-term potentiation of synaptic transmission. In addition to this, magnesium threonate also increases the density of synaptic connections, which also improves learning and memory. In functional tests animals taking the supplement showed significant improvements in both working, and long-term memory. MagTech’s magnesium threonate is a truly innovative nootropic supplement with a solid body of scientific evidence supporting its ability to improve leaning, clarity of thought and memory.

Further Reading:

Magnesium plays a crucial role in modifying NMDA receptors and synaptic plasticity:

Magnesium threonate increases brain magnesium levels and improves cognitive function:

Magnesium threonate prevents and reverses synaptic loss and brain function deficits in a mouse model for Alzheimer’s disease.