Most people would like to find a way to prevent dementia, but the picture is complex. Lifestyle factors such as exercise, diet and sleep have all been suggested as possible paths to keeping our brains healthy as we age. The evidence is largely circumstantial, however.
Could Magnesium Help Prevent Dementia?
Scientists investigating a possible link between magnesium levels and dementia report an interesting observation: people with both high and low levels of magnesium in their bodies may be more susceptible to cognitive decline. Getting magnesium just right may be important to prevent dementia.
The research included 9,569 older Dutch adults without mental impairment. They were tested to determine their serum levels of magnesium. The investigators followed up for approximately eight years.
During that time, the scientists identified 823 people who developed dementia. Those with the highest magnesium levels (> 0.9 mmol/L) as well as the lowest (< 0.79 mmol/L) were 30 percent more likely than people with moderate magnesium levels to be diagnosed with intellectual decline.
Magnesium in Your Diet?
The researchers emphasize that this link does not demonstrate a causal role for magnesium levels, only an association. Nonetheless, it might help explain why diets rich in vegetables, fruits, legumes and nuts seem to help prevent dementia. Such diets contain many good sources of magnesium and benefit the cardiovascular system as well as the brain.
Those considering magnesium supplements will want to look for magnesium citrate, chloride or lactate. Most people absorb these forms more easily than magnesium oxide or magnesium sulfate. In most cases, a supplement that supplies between 100 and 300 mg of magnesium a day will suffice. Too much magnesium can cause diarrhea.
If you want to prevent dementia, we recommend you listen to Dr. Dale Bredesen describe his multifactorial approach to reversing Alzheimer’s disease. We also offer a book/CD combination so you can listen and read.
What Is Your Magnesium Level?
Doctors rarely test their patients for magnesium levels and many Americans fall short on their dietary intake of magnesium. PPI heartburn drugs can deplete the body of magnesium, however. Consequently, people taking such medications should ask to have their magnesium levels monitored.