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Magnesium found to boost learning and memory
Magnesium is an essential nutrient that benefits health in many important ways. For example, research has shown it helps to prevent heart disease1, slashes the risk of cerebral palsy2, and can even treat age-related hearing loss3. Now a study by Chinese scientists, published in the in the January 28th issue of the journal Neuron, shows magnesium could have a powerful impact on the brain, too -- and boost learning and memory.

In a statement to the media, the researchers noted that diet can affect cognitive capacity. Because learning and memory tend to decline with age and disease, they decided to search for dietary factors that could prevent these changes by having a positive influence on the sites of communication between brain cells (neurons) called synapses.

The results suggest increasing magnesium intake could be a successful, drug-free way to improve brain function. It also supports the idea that too-low levels of magnesium could result in increased deterioration of memory in aging humans.

"Magnesium is essential for the proper functioning of many tissues in the body, including the brain. We’re going to take our studies a step further and investigate whether an increase in brain magnesium levels enhanced cognitive function in animals."

"We found that increased brain magnesium enhanced many different forms of learning and memory in both young and aged rats," stated Dr. Liu. In fact, the research revealed an increase in the number of functional synapses and enhancement of a host of processes in the brain that are necessary for learning and memory.

"Our findings suggest that elevating brain magnesium content via increasing magnesium intake might be a useful new strategy to enhance cognitive abilities," Dr. Liu concluded in the media statement. "Moreover, half the population of industrialized countries has a magnesium deficit, which increases with aging. This may very well contribute to age-dependent memory decline; increasing magnesium intake might prevent or reduce such decline."

Dr. Iverson's Comment
Magnesium has been one of our most important minerals that has been neglected for all too long. We hear about calcium, but rarely do we hear about the benefits of incorporating magnesium! In nature the minerals calcium and magnesium come together in a perfect package. Taking a calcium supplement without its cofactors is not natural and not healthful. 
In fact, many of our diets are high in calcium but we do not have enough magnesium, trace minerals and vitamin D to make sure the calcium is utilized.
In nature the pigment that makes plants green called chlorophyll has a magnesium mineral in the center of its molecule. Eating green foods is a great source of magnesium. Eating greens is also a great source of calcium- where do you think a cow get’s its calcium? GRASS!
Calcium and magnesium are Nature’s tranquilizers and bring calm and tranquility to a hyperactive nervous system. They are also very important electrolytes to keep the cells of the heart electrically beating in rhythm. Electrolyte deficiency can be causal in arrhythmias as well as muscle spasms. This study indicates the importance of magnesium for the health of nerve transmission. Magnesium should be an important aspect of all our diets.
I recommend my patients to take a magnesium supplement that is proper for their chemistry. Some magnesium compounds are more acidic and some are more alkaline; some have higher electro-negativity than others, which disperses the blood for healthy circulation through the blood vessels. We test with biochemistry to determine the best magnesium for your body. If you do not know what type of magnesium is best for you I recommend taking Nature’s magnesium in the form of “green drinks” like barley grass and wheat grass freeze-dried powder. I also will recommend taking an additional supplement that has several forms of magnesium in one capsule like magnesium citrate, carbonate, malate, and sulfate. This is especially beneficial if you have a family history of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, or dementia.
Start by taking magnesium supplements at a low dose until your body is accustomed to them. Increase them gradually as magnesium taken too much too quickly will cause diarrhea (this is actually a great natural stool softener for those with a tendency to constipation). The recommended daily milligram dose would be between 250 mg and 750 mg daily.
Go get your Greens!
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