Jump to Topics

Magnesium marvels: a multivitamin for the brain

Magnesium marvels: a multivitamin for the brain

Although visibly unassuming, the silvery white mineral magnesium packs a punch for brain health. This infographic looks at how magnesium benefits the brain in many ways

Magnesium, an often overlooked mineral, is a treasure trove of health benefits for the human body. Magnesium’s benefits in reducing blood pressure and overall inflammation are known; however, it is also crucial for brain health.

“Magnesium helps reduce inflammation in the brain, which protects it from various neurodegenerative conditions,” Dr Rohit Pai, Neurologist, KMC Hospital, Mangaluru, tells Happiest Health. He explains that magnesium lowers the levels of inflammatory chemicals like prostaglandins in the brain, helping maintain the integrity of the blood-brain barrier.

This mineral, readily available in nuts, cereals, pumpkin seeds, peanut butter, brown rice, and cocoa powder, also checks the activity of neurotransmitters in the brain. Dr Pai explains that magnesium lowers the activity of the NMDA receptor and lowers its excessive excitation. Magnesium also enhances the activity of GABA, an inhibitory neurotransmitter and hence aids communication between neurons. Studies also find magnesium increases levels of GABA, which helps with sleep and relaxation.

Good brain health requires other minerals like calcium. However, excessive calcium can cause seizures. Magnesium plays a vital role in lowering calcium concentrations and reducing the occurrence of seizures.

There is more to magnesium’s abilities. This tiny white metal plays a significant role in memory and learning as it increases protein levels called brain-derived neurotrophic factor. This protein is primarily involved in neuron growth and development, which in turn helps improve memory.

Owing to the crucial roles magnesium plays in the brain, a deficiency of this micronutrient can lead to several chronic illnesses. “Short-term magnesium deficiency can cause seizures due to increased calcium concentration and reduced GABA levels,” says Dr Pai.

Long-term magnesium deficiency can lead to neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. This is because lower amounts of magnesium hamper the clearing of toxic proteins like amyloid beta. “It can also precipitate Parkinson’s disease where excessive synuclein [toxic protein often seen in Parkinson’s] accumulation is seen due to lack of magnesium,” says Dr Pai. He adds that since reduced magnesium levels disrupt the inflammation, it can also exacerbate multiple sclerosis.

The below infographic is a pictorial representation of the role of magnesium in brain health.

Read more: Magnesium, the go-to mineral for Happiest Health

Brain-Boosting Benefits of Magnesium:Harmonises communication between neurons by enabling proper movement of neurotransmitters Maintains integrity of the blood-brain barrier by regulating blood flow and circulation Modulates receptor activity; maintains a balance in the neurotransmitter and ion concentrations in the brain Prevents excessive calcium buildup in the brain, thereby reducing uncontrolled electrical activity that manifests as seizures Reduces inflammation in the brain and nerves and prevents neurodegenerative diseases
Various ways in which magnesium boosts brain health | Infographic by Parvathi Nair

Share Your Experience/Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



Some couples consciously decide not to have children despite familial and social expectations, wanting to make the best of their relationship. Children should be had for their own sake, says psychotherapist Tasneem Nakhoda
Insufficient consumption of heart-healthy foods can affect cardiovascular health. Experts discuss beneficial dietary choices
Physical activity improves the quality as well as duration of sleep. But exercising too close to bedtime is not advisable




Opt-in To Our Daily Newsletter

* Please check your Spam folder for the Opt-in confirmation mail

Opt-in To Our
Daily Newsletter

We use cookies to customize your user experience, view our policy here

Your feedback has been submitted successfully.

The Happiest Health team will reach out to you at the earliest