Studies show that children with T21 have lower levels of magnesium than a typical child (see Trace Element study below). Unfortunately, problems common to individuals with DS such as oxidative stress and neurodegenerative processes as well as symptoms such as teeth grinding, sensitivity to sound, some forms of stimming and constipation often accompany a magnesium deficiency.
The most recent theory of Alzheimer's Disease is that it may be caused from pineal gland calcification as explained in this article Radically New Understanding of Alzheimers which is treated by avoiding fluoridation and possibly supplementing with melatonin, magnesium and curcumin.
Magnesium levels also may influence cardiac and vascular diseases, hypothyroidism and stress -- again issues frequently faced by our population.
Therefore, supplementation with bio available magnesium salts is suggested at a recommended dose of 18 mg/Kg/day, taken orally or through the skin (see below). I add Epsom salts to Jett's bath every night, but now supplement orally as well -- and much more than the recommended dose as I explain below.
Note: Since magnesium neutralizes stomach acids, it should not be
taken directly after a meal or near thyroid medicine.
Below you'll find more details. When I get a chance, I will write this up nicely.
Jett also gets some magnesium from BodyBio Cal-Mag Butyrate, which I give him to reduce ammonia.
Be sure to get $10 off your first Vitacost vitamin order.
Note: Since magnesium neutralizes stomach acids, it should not be
taken directly after a meal.
The current Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for the
US is 6 mg/Kg/day, which translates to 420 mg for a 70 Kg man. The estimated
intake in the US is 300 mg/day. Studies show that as much as 3 times this
amount may be needed by the general population and especially by those
predisposed to cardiac disease states. Recommended: 500- 1,000 mg/day.
I give Jett enough magnesium until his symptoms, such as teeth grinding and crying when my husband laughs (sound
sensitivity), stops. For him, he takes 3 of the Life Extension Neuro-Mag L-Threonate a day.
More on different types of supplementing below.
Magnesium Deficiency Affects...
One study found that magnesium levels in erythrocytes and
thrombocytes, but not neutrophils were lower in children with Down
syndrome . Another found lower red blood cell levels of magnesium
lower in the DS group as compared to the non-DS group .
Alzheimer's Disease is, in many ways, accelerated aging of specific
parts of the brain. "Oxidative stress and neurodegenerative processes are
accompanied by a pronounced magnesium deficiency. This is also true for
diseases associated with premature aging such as Down syndrome". "Magnesium
deficiency affects calcium transport and iron sequestration, impairs mitochondrial
function, and induces radical generation by redox recycling. In contrast,
magnesium administration improves energy and glucose utilization, stabilizes
enzymes and membranes, and protests biomolecules against oxidative damage
by reactive radicals. It has been demonstrated that magnesium exhibits
potent chemo- and cardio-protective actions. Newly developed magnesium
salts, with greatly enhanced oral bioavailability and exhibiting extremely
low toxicity, have been used successfully to counteract stress and age-related
excitotoxicity in experiments in animals and humans. The administration
of magnesium salts with high bioavailability prolongs life span and reverses
age-related morphological, biochemical, electrophysiological, and behavioral
impairments". "The three major molecular mechanisms that have been identified
as being involved in the irreversible process of specific neuronal death
during aging are glutamate-mediated excitotoxicity, intra-neuronal calcium
overload, and hydroxyl radical-induced peroxidation and oxidative damage
to biomolecules". Magnesium affect all of these mechanisms favorably. Magnesium
reverses the age-dependent decline in melatonin production. I therefore
suggest daily consumption of a highly bioavailable magnesium salt (ex.-calcium-magnesium).
Some of the problems that Magnesium supplementation may help are: aging,
aggressive behavior, alcoholism, amytrophic lateral sclerosis, Alzheimer's
Disease, Arrhythmia, Asthma, Attention Deficit Disorder, Autism, Cancer,
Cerebral Palsy, Cerebrovascular, Chemical Sensitivity, Chronic Fatigue,
Cluster Headaches, Cocaine-related Stroke, Constipation, Cramps, Diabetes,
Fibromyalgia, Fluoride Toxicity, Head Injuries, Central Nervous System
Injureis, Heart-Related Conditions, HIV, Aids, Hypertension, Kidney
Stones, Magnesium Deficiency, Menopause, Migraine, Mitral Valve Prolapse,
Multiple Sclerosis, Nystagmus, Osteoporosis, Peripheral vascular disease,
Pregnancy-relate proglems, Eclampsi, Premenstrual Syndrome, Psychiatric
Disorders, Repetitive Strain Injury, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Sickle Cell
Disease, SIDS, Sports-related problems, Stress, Stuttering, Tetanus, Tinnitis,
Sound Sensitivity, TMJ, Toxic Shock, Violence.
The recommended daily allowance is 300 mgs for men, 350 mgs for women.
Magnesium is extremely safe by mouth – too much simply causes diarrhea.
Try increasing the amount of magnesium you take by mouth until it
causes diarrhea, then reduce the dose slightly so it does not. This is
called taking magnesium to bowel tolerance (just like using vitamin C to
A recent paper by Rosemary Waring from Birmingham has been very helpful.
She did experiments with people looking at the absorption of Epsom
Salts in the bath. A 15 minute bath at 50ºC with a 1% solution of Epsom
Salts caused significant rises in plasma magnesium and sulphate levels
together with an increase in magnesium excretion in the urine. To
achieve a 1% solution, a standard UK bath of 15 gallons requires
600 grams, (just over a 1lb) of Epson Salts. The water should feel
slightly soapy. In this experiment there were no adverse effects,
indeed 2 of the volunteers who were over 60 years of age commented
without prompting that their rheumatic pains had disappeared.
Found in most foods, especially dairy, meat, fish, seafood, brewer's
yeast, whole grains, yellow corn, dark green vegetables, lemons, grapefruit,
figs, nuts, seeds, apples.
Reference: Melatonin, hydroxyl radical-mediated oxidative damage, and
aging: A hypothesis (1993) J. Pineal Res 14:151-168. Paul Mason
Aged people are in the midst of an escalating Alzheimer's epidemic.1,2
It is now the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.3
The horrific progression of Alzheimer's disease from dementia to
personal extinction afflicts between 24-30 million people worldwide.4,5
Americans account for approximately one-fifth of those cases, which are
expected to triple by 2050.3,6
While there is no cure for Alzheimer's, there is new hope thanks to the
work of a team of researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology
These scientists have identified several correctable factors involved in
Alzheimer's onset—and a novel nutritional intervention that may
effectively target them.
In this article, you will learn of the vital role that magnesium plays
in protecting the aging brain's structure and function and why
conventional supplements don't deliver enough magnesium into the brain.
Researchers have found that a new highly absorbable form of magnesium called magnesium-L-threonate
concentrates more efficiently in the brain, rebuilds ruptured synapses,
and restores the degraded neuronal connections observed in Alzheimer's
disease and other forms of memory loss.
In experimental models, magnesium-L-threonate induced improvements of 18% for short-term memory and 100% for long-term memory.8
Magnesium Deficiency: An Overlooked Cause of Neurologic Decay
Half of all aging individuals in the developed world are magnesium deficient, a nutritional deficit that worsens over time.
Confirmatory data show that Americans are no exception.9,10 For
instance, American women consume just 68% of the recommended daily
intake of magnesium.11
Magnesium has long been known as a key nutrient for optimal brain
function. More recently, scientists have found it specifically promotes
learning and memory as a result of its beneficial effect on synaptic
plasticity and density.7,8,12
Magnesium works with calcium to modulate "ion channels" that open in
response to nerve impulses, which in turn trigger neurotransmitter
release. The most important of those channels is controlled by a complex
called the NMDA receptor.13,14 NMDA receptors play an important role in
promoting neural plasticity and synaptic density, the structural
underpinnings of memory.15-17
Magnesium deficiency can cause symptoms ranging from apathy and
psychosis to memory impairment.13,18 Insufficient magnesium slows brain
recovery following injury from trauma19 and in laboratory studies
accelerates cellular aging.20
Ominously, magnesium deficiency may produce no overt symptoms in its initial stages.21
Part of the problem is that it is difficult for the body to maintain
sufficiently high concentrations of magnesium in the brain.8
For this reason, researchers have long sought ways that higher magnesium brain concentrations might be achieved and sustained.
A Breakthrough Form of Magnesium
A Breakthrough Form of Magnesium
Scientists have been challenged to find a way to raise magnesium levels
in the brain.8 Even intravenous infusions cause only a modest elevation
of magnesium levels in the central nervous system.22
An innovative team of researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology (MIT) recently found a way to surmount this obstacle. They
formulated a new magnesium compound called magnesium-L-threonate or MgT that in lab tests allows for oral administration while maximizing magnesium "loading" into the brain.7,8
Based on prior research, they meticulously documented that increased
levels of magnesium in the brain promote synaptic density and plasticity
in the hippocampus.14 Up until now, however, no widely available forms
of magnesium met the criteria needed for rapid absorption and efficient
transfer into the central nervous system.8
By contrast, MgT yielded compelling results.
MgT oral supplements increased magnesium levels in spinal fluid, an
index of measurement in brain magnesium by about 15%, while none of the
other magnesium compounds tested produced significant elevations.8 While
a 15% increase may not sound like a lot, it induced a profound effect
on neurological function.
To evaluate the effects of MgT on memory, the researchers tested it
against currently available magnesium compounds. They used a simple
assessment of learning and memory called the Novel Object Recognition
Test or NORT. A high NORT score means that the animal is good at
recognizing and identifying new objects, a skill that is critical in
aging humans as well.8 NORT is a good test of function in the
hippocampus, which is rich in the NMDA receptors so closely controlled
The researchers put aged animals through the NORT test, supplementing
them with MgT or one of the commercially available magnesium compounds.
Only MgT significantly enhanced both short- and long-term memory,
boosting scores by 15% for short-term memory and 54% for long-term
memory compared to magnesium citrate.8
Better Function of Memory-Forming Synaptic Connections
Given the effect of MgT in increasing synaptic density and plasticity in
experimental animals (rats), the research team asked the obvious next
question, "Do those changes lead to an increase in the number of
neurotransmitter release sites, and, subsequently, to enhanced signal
transmission?"8 That, after all, is the hallmark of learning and memory.
Using high-tech microscopic measuring devices, the team demonstrated
that the magnesium elevation in brain tissue observed in MgT
supplementation increases the number of functioning neurotransmitter
release sites.8 This effect could be likened to increasing the number of
soldiers on the battlefield: when the call to action comes, a much
larger force is prepared to perform.
The final question to be addressed in this series of studies was whether
the increased density of synaptic connections directly correlated with
the observed improvements in memory created by MgT supplementation.
The researchers systematically plotted out the time-course of the
increase in synaptic density following MgT supplementation, and found
that it directly paralleled the improvements in memory.8 They also found
that when MgT supplementation was stopped, the density of synaptic
connections dropped back to baseline, further confirming the
correlation. They found that MgT supplementation boosted all of the
animals' performance, not just average performance.
Improvement in Spatial Short-Term Memory
Spatial working memory is an essential memory function, helping you
remember where things are and where you are in relation to the world
over the short term. It is working memory that enables you to find your
car keys as you head out the door or return to the correct page in the
magazine you were reading a few minutes ago.
The MIT researchers tested spatial working memory in experimental
animals. Without treatment, both young and old animals forgot the
correct choice about 30% of the time. After 24 days of MgT
supplementation, however, both young and old animals had improved this
measurement of memory performance by more than 17%.8
Even more impressive, by 30 days of supplementation, the older animals'
performance became equal to that of their younger counterparts. Since
the older animals were more forgetful at baseline than the younger
animals that meant that the older animals had a larger percentage memory
improvement (nearly 19%) than the younger animals' more modest 13%.8
When MgT supplementation was suspended, the memory-enhancing effects
persisted in younger animals, but in older animals spatial working
memory performance declined dramatically, returning to baseline within
12 days.8 When MgT supplementation to the older animals was resumed,
however, their memory performance was restored in 12 days.
In other words, magnesium-L-threonate
improved memory in both old and young animals, but had a substantially
greater effect on aged individuals—the very ones most in need of memory
Novel Magnesium Compound Halts Neurologic Decay
Levels of Alzheimer's disease and associated memory loss among aging Americans are reaching epidemic levels.
The neurodegenerative processes involved in memory loss results from
deterioration of connectivity between brain cells but are not a
"natural function" of aging.
Low magnesium status can accelerate brain cell aging and memory loss.
Standard magnesium offers limited protection to brain cells.
Magnesium-L-threonate is a new form of magnesium that dramatically boosts levels of magnesium in the brain.
Boosting brain magnesium with magnesium-L-threonate enhances synaptic density and plasticity, the structural basis of learning and memory.
In numerous experimental models, supplementation with magnesium-L- threonate has been shown to enhance memory and cognitive performance in multiple tests.
Enhanced Spatial Long-Term Memory
Long-term spatial memory is crucial for older individuals. It's how you
remember where you live or how to get to the grocery store. Loss of
spatial long-term memory is one of the main reasons that older people
with dementia get lost running even simple errands.
To test spatial long-term memory in MgT-supplemented animals, the
researchers used a maze that required the animal to swim and find a
submerged platform on which to rest. Again, both old and young animals
supplemented with magnesium-L-threonate learned significantly faster than untreated animals during the training sessions.8
Enhanced Spatial Long-Term Memory
One hour after the training period, the researchers removed the
submerged platform, causing the animals to have to search for its last
location. Both young and old supplemented and unsupplemented animals
remembered where the platform had been over the short term and were
searching for it in the correct quadrant of the maze.
But after 24 hours, a remarkable difference was observed. Untreated
animals, both young and old, completely forgot where the platform had
been hidden, randomly searching in all quadrants of the maze.
Supplemented animals, on the other hand, continued to search in the
correct part of the maze more than twice as long as they looked in
incorrect areas.8 That translated into improvements in spatial long-term
memory of 122% in younger supplemented animals, and nearly 100% in
older supplemented animals.
In short, MgT supplementation doubled the accuracy of long-term spatial
memory in older animals, and more than doubled it in younger animals.
One critical memory function is the ability to bring up an important
memory based on only partial information, a function called pattern
completion.8 You use pattern completion memory to find your way around a
familiar neighborhood after dark or following a heavy snowstorm. In
both cases, some familiar cues are gone, but a healthy brain will fill
in the missing details by completing a recognizable pattern.
As decsribed on the previous page, when researchers removed some of the
external visual cues from the water maze, younger animals had no
particular difficulty finding their way to the hidden platform during
the first 24-hour period. Older animals, on the other hand, demonstrated
substantial impairment when familiar cues were missing, spending more
than twice as much time searching for the missing platform. When given
MgT for 30 days, however, older animals performed as well as the younger
ones, quickly finding the platform even when many of the external cues
In human terms, this kind of improvement could mean the difference
between a routine trip to the grocery store at dusk versus getting lost
in the dark.
Having successfully demonstrated that magnesium-L-threonate
(MgT) improves multiple forms of learning and memory in living animals,
the research team sought to explore the cellular and molecular basis of
that improvement. They wanted to understand in a detailed fashion just
what changes the MgT was producing in the brains of older animals that
helped them form stronger, more stable memories.
What they determined was compelling.
Increased Brain Cell Signaling
The first step was to determine the effects of MgT supplementation on
signaling between brain cells mediated by what are known as NMDA
receptors. These receptors operate through varying concentrations of
calcium and magnesium in brain tissue, making them a logical point of
The first finding was that MgT treatment in animals resulted in stronger
signaling at essential brain cell synapses.8 This increase in signaling
was accomplished by a 60% increase in production of new NMDA receptors
and by increases of up to 92% in related proteins that play essential
supporting roles in brain signal transmission.8
Higher Memory- Forming Synaptic Plasticity and Density
Synaptic plasticity, or the ability to rapidly change the number and
strength of brain cell synapses, is critical to the brain's ability to
form, retain, and retrieve memories. The research team compared synaptic
plasticity in the brains of MgT-supplemented animals versus controls.8
They found that production of a very special subunit of the NMDA
receptor, one closely associated with synaptic plasticity, was
selectively enhanced by MgT supplementation.8 This molecular change is
known to cause potent long-term increases in synaptic strength, and
hence a greater capacity for information storage and memory.8,24-26
The result of these increases in NMDA receptor numbers was a 52%
enhancement in long-term potentiation,8 which is the cellular equivalent
of memory formation in the brain tissues of MgT-supplemented
Memory depends not only on synaptic plasticity, but also on the healthy
physical structure of synapses between brain cells. Unfortunately,
synaptic connections in the memory-rich hippocampus region of the brain
decline with aging, which directly correlates with memory
One of the most vital structures to be found at brain cell synapses is
the synaptic bouton, from the French word for button. When an electrical
impulse reaches a pre-synaptic bouton, and ample calcium and magnesium
are present, neurotransmitters are released to transmit the impulse to
the next neuron in line. The greater the number and density of synaptic
boutons, the stronger the electrochemical signal that the synapse can
produce, and the more sustained the memory that is created.32
When the researchers examined the brains of control and MgT-supplemented
animals under a high-power microscope, they readily detected much
greater densities of synaptic bouton proteins in tissues from the
supplemented animals. Those proteins are essential for neurotransmitter
release in the several regions of the hippocampus vital for memory
formation and retrieval.8 Remarkably, the density of the synaptic
boutons was closely correlated with the memory performance of each
individual animal on the novel object recognition test.
Mechanisms of Brain Aging and Memory Loss
Every memory you have, even those you've lost, produces physical changes
in your brain. Memories form and are stored in multiple brain regions,
but the most active and essential area is the hippocampus, a small, sea
horse-shaped structure deep in the center of your brain.
Hippocampal memory enables you to recognize and distinguish between old
friends and new acquaintances, or to find your way around a well-known
floor plan. It is also used to comprehend and navigate new experiences
based on old ones.
This puts the hippocampus squarely at the center of your ability to
assimilate new information and integrate it with what you already know.
As you learn and experience new events, cells in your memory centers
tighten and enhance their neuronal connections, known as synapses.35
The ability of brain cells to quickly form new synapses and remove old
ones is referred to as neurologic plasticity. Large numbers of synapses,
and a high density of specialized synaptic structures called boutons,
promote rapid retrieval and processing of the information stored by
connected cells.36 In essence, neuronal plasticity is the physical
equivalent of learning, while synaptic density is roughly the equivalent
Young brains exhibit high levels of neurologic plasticity that produce
large numbers of interconnected synapses. That's why young people learn
quickly and have strong memories.
With aging, however, the numbers of synapses, and the ability to rapidly
form new ones, steadily declines.37 And that's just in "normal"
aging.29 People with Alzheimer's disease, or its precursor, mild
cognitive impairment (MCI) experience more rapid loss of both plasticity
and synaptic number.30,38-40 And that's when memories begin to fade, or
worse, to be lost entirely.
Since time immemorial, people have suspected that specific nutrients can
positively affect cognitive functions such as learning and memory.41
It's now known that many nutrients can actually modify aging brain
function, in part by increasing formation of brain synapses.42
Magnesium has been established as having a positive impact on both neural plasticity and synaptic density.7,8,12
The MIT team is rapidly putting in place two human studies of MgT on
memory function, with results expected in the near future. Meanwhile,
they have recently discovered several new roles for MgT in managing
memory, in this case unwanted memories of the kind associated with
post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Fear memories are expressed in response to objects or events previously
linked with a potential danger. Over time, fearful reactions can
dissipate when the triggering event is experienced in a safe
Animal studies reveal that MgT enhances this process, so that events
which previously caused an emotional response no longer trigger
fear.33,34 MgT helps the pre-frontal region of the brain block the
return of old fear memories.33,34
Research reveals that MgT works by enhancing neural plasticity in the
hippocampus and prefrontal cortex.34 These findings led the researchers
to recommend that elevating brain magnesium with MgT be used to dampen
traumatic memories and treat PTSD, anxiety, and depression.33,34
Levels of Alzheimer's disease and associated memory loss among aging Americans are reaching epidemic levels.
The neurodegenerative processes involved in memory loss result from
deterioration of connectivity between brain cells but are not a natural
function of aging. Memory loss is now known to be associated with loss
of synaptic density and plasticity in the brain. Low magnesium levels
may contribute to such losses.
(MgT), a new magnesium compound, boosts brain magnesium levels better
than standard supplements. Studies reveal that MgT produces dramatic
increases in synaptic density and plasticity, resulting in similar
improvements in memory function itself.
If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension® Health Advisor at 1-866-864-3027.
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Circuit-specific alterations in hippocampal synaptophysin
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33. Abumaria N, Yin B, Zhang L, Zhao L,
Liu G. Enhancement of cognitive control of emotions by elevated brain
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34. Abumaria N, Yin B, Zhang L, et al. Effects
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41. Gomez-Pinilla F. Brain foods: the effects of nutrients on brain function. Nat Rev Neurosci. 2008 Jul;9(7):568-78.
42. Wurtman RJ, Cansev M, Sakamoto T, Ulus I. Nutritional modifiers of
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Magnesium is essential for the body to be able to use calcium and vitamin
It helps convert blood sugar into usable energy. Since magnesium neutralizes
stomach acids, it should not be taken directly after a meal.
Med Hypotheses. 2002 Jan;58(1):47-60.
The central role of magnesium deficiency in Tourette's syndrome: causal
relationships between magnesium deficiency, altered biochemical pathways
and symptoms relating to Tourette's syndrome and several reported
Prior studies have suggested a common etiology involved in Tourette's
syndrome and several comorbid conditions and symptomatology. Reportedly,
current medications used in Tourette's syndrome have intolerable
side-effects or are ineffective for many patients.
After thoroughly researching the literature, I hypothesize that
magnesium deficiency may be the central precipitating event and common
pathway for the subsequent biochemical effects on substance P,
kynurenine, NMDA receptors, and vitamin B6 that may result in the
symptomatology of Tourette's syndrome and several reported comorbid
conditions. These comorbid conditions and symptomatology include
allergy, asthma, autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder,
obsessive compulsive disorder, coprolalia, copropraxia, anxiety,
depression, restless leg syndrome, migraine, self-injurious behavior,
autoimmunity, rage, bruxism, seizure, heart arrhythmia, heightened
sensitivity to sensory stimuli, and an exaggerated startle response.
Common possible environmental and genetic factors are discussed, as well
as biochemical mechanisms. Clinical studies to determine the medical
efficacy for a comprehensive magnesium treatment option for Tourette's
syndrome need to be conducted to make this relatively safe, low
side-effect treatment option available to doctors and their patients.
Copyright 2002 Harcourt Publishers Ltd.
Down Syndrome/ Fibromyalgia/ Magnesium Deficiency Connection
Interestingly, people with
syndrome have elevated serum hyaluronic acid levels, too. What
are some common links between Down syndrome and fibromyalgia? Both
groups have mitral valve prolapse and hypermobility at rates much higher
rates than controls, and Down syndrome patients have been found to be
in magnesium, among other trace elements.
and mitral valve prolapse are closely linked to each other, all may be
linked to magnesium deficiency and all are features of many chronic disorders,
and virtually all hereditary connective tissue disorders, especially
Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. All three conditions are also features of
Down syndrome, which has many overlaps with connective tissue disorders.
All of these individual features and syndromes are linked to hyaluronic
acid abnormalities, and hyaluronic acid is dependent upon Mg for its
Magnesium deficiency, and perhaps
other elements that affect hyaluronic acid levels, are a common thread
to connective tissue disorders and disorders with overlapping features
like Down syndrome. If
these disorders all had an underlying biochemical deficiency such a magnesium
deficit, then all of these interesting associations between mitral valve
prolapse, fibromyalgia, hyaluronic acid, magnesium, Down syndrome and
connective tissue disorders would have perfectly logical explanations.