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Magnesium could help reduce dementia

Beth Bradford

Mar 31, 2023

Adding more magnesium can improve your brain health

An increased intake of magnesium-rich foods like spinach and nuts could help reduce the risk of dementia, according to research published in the European Journal of Nutrition. The World Health Organization says more than 55 million people around the world live with dementia.

Researchers from Australian National University studied more than 6,000 cognitively healthy participants aged 40 to 73. Those who consumed more than 550 milligrams of magnesium daily had a brain age one year younger by the time they reached 55, compared to those with an average intake of approximated 350 milligrams.

The team at ANU studied 200 different foods with varying portion sizes to work out an average estimation of magnesium intake from participants' diets, particularly focusing on leafy greens, legumes, nuts, seeds, and wholegrains - which suggests that upping our magnesium intake from a younger age could protect against neurodegenerative diseases and declining mental acuity as we grow older.

"We also found the neuroprotective effects of more dietary magnesium appears to benefit women more than men and more so in post-menopausal than pre-menopausal women, although this may be due to the anti-inflammatory effect of magnesium," said study lead author Khawlah Alateeq from Australian National University in a news release.

Dementia ranks seventh in terms of cause of death and costs $1.3 trillion in a year. Although there are different types of dementia, Alzheimer's Disease is the most common form of dementia. Frontotemporal dementia, which damages the neurons in the frontal and temporal parts of the brain, occurs much earlier in life. Bruce Willis and my father have this disorder.

"Since there is no cure for dementia and the development of pharmacological treatments have been unsuccessful for the past 30 years, it's been suggested that greater attention should be directed towards prevention," study co-author Erin Walsh, who is also from ANU, said.

Pumpkin seeds are some of the best sources of magnesium at 156 mg, and chia seeds have 111 mg. You can also find magnesium in almonds, spinach, cashews, and peanut butter.

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