After a decade of research hinting that magnesium supplements could potentially boost your memory and cognitive abilities, it’s finally being put into a small clinical trial. The research is being led by the biopharmaceutical company Magceutics, of Hayward, California, and they began testing the ability of their supplement Magtein to boost magnesium ion levels in the brain.
The trial will track whether the ions can decrease anxiety and improve sleep quality, as well as see if there are changes in memory and cognitive ability in the participants. The trial only has 50 people, so any results won’t allow scientists to draw definite conclusions.
Eventually, they will also test if Magtein can be used to treat ADHD and Alzheimer’s disease. Many scientists are skeptical about this small trial and whether it will be able to prove anything conclusively. So far, the product has been mostly tested in rats and in Guosong Liu himself, a neuroscientist at Tsinghua University in Beijing and founder of Magceutics.
In 2004, Liu and his team showed that magnesium had a key role in synaptic changes that boosted memory in mice. In 2010, he showed that magnesium in rats could help improve their short-term and long-term memory.
Research in humans has shown that oral magnesium supplements in aged patients can increase the duration of deep sleep and decrease the levels of the stress hormone cortisol. But the pharmaceutical industry has been unenthusiastic about funding research since magnesium is freely available and unpatentable.
The challenge is to find a compound that could get the magnesium to the brain. Magtein is supposed to solve this problem. It contains magnesium threonate, and tests have shown that the compound boosts levels of magnesium in rats’ brains by 15% after 24 days.
Roughly 100,000 people in the USA are already taking the compound as a supplement. Several thousand patients are needed to provide convincing evidence of the effectiveness of these magnesium compounds.