Magnesium threonate is a form of the essential mineral magnesium. The body requires magnesium for various crucial functions, including enzyme reactions, protein synthesis, glucose control, muscle function, and nerve function.

Evidence suggests an individual may benefit from a reduced risk of dementia and other age-related diseases if they have a high intake or circulating levels of magnesium. This is potentially due to the importance of magnesium to the brain and nerves.

This article looks at magnesium threonate, its benefits, and its possible side effects. It also explores the importance of magnesium in the body and the symptoms an individual may experience with magnesium deficiency.

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Magnesium threonate, or magnesium L-threonate, is a synthesized form of magnesium. Chemically, it is a salt that forms when a manufacturer combines magnesium with threonic acid. This acid is a product of the metabolic breakdown of vitamin C.

The body can easily absorb magnesium threonate. Some animal studies have found that magnesium threonate is more effective at increasing magnesium ions in the brain and improving cognitive function than magnesium sulfate. Therefore, doctors may recommend magnesium L-threonate to normalize an individual’s magnesium levels and for potential benefits to the brain.

As magnesium L-threonate can readily elevate magnesium levels in the brain, it has the potential to improve cognitive function. However, research is still in the early stages and mainly involves animal models.

For example, a 2020 study on zebrafish found that magnesium threonate helps protect against brain cell death and preserve cognitive function.

Similarly, a 2019 study using a mouse model of Parkinson’s disease found that magnesium threonate successfully elevated magnesium in cerebrospinal fluid and protected against motor deficits and dopamine neuron loss.

Magnesium threonate could have benefits for memory and nerve pain.

If an individual ingests high levels of magnesium from food, it generally does not pose a risk to their health. However, taking a magnesium threonate supplement, or another supplemental form of magnesium, could cause side effects, including:

  • diarrhea
  • nausea
  • abdominal cramping

Ingesting more than 5,000 milligrams (mg) of magnesium each day can cause magnesium toxicity, leading to symptoms such as:

  • low blood pressure
  • urine retention
  • lethargy
  • muscle weakness
  • nausea and vomiting
  • difficulty breathing
  • heart problems

Currently, no recommended daily allowance exists for magnesium L-threonate. However, many companies sell magnesium L-threonate supplements providing around 1500–2000 mg per dose.

Magnesium intake recommendations vary. The recommended dietary allowances (RDAs) for males and females over 31 years old are 420 mg and 320 mg, respectively.

However, according to manufacturers, 2000 mg of magnesium L-threonate contains only 144 mg of elemental magnesium.

Learn more about foods high in magnesium here.

Magnesium is a mineral that is abundant in the body and many foods. Magnesium is crucial for bodily processes and is involved in over 300 enzyme reactions. It is essential for:

  • protein synthesis
  • brain function
  • muscle and nerve function
  • blood sugar control
  • blood pressure regulation
  • energy production
  • glycolysis, the breakdown of glucose to produce energy
  • DNA synthesis
  • bone development
  • calcium and potassium transport

Learn more about why we need magnesium here.

In healthy individuals with a regular dietary intake, magnesium deficiency is uncommon. This is because the kidneys limit how much magnesium they excrete from the body if there is not enough.

However, people may develop a magnesium deficiency if they eat a diet low in magnesium, have alcohol use disorder, take certain medications, or have certain other health conditions.

Early symptoms of magnesium deficiency include:

  • loss of appetite
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • tiredness
  • weakness

If the deficiency continues, a person may develop:

  • numbness
  • tingling sensations
  • muscle cramps
  • seizure
  • abnormal heart rhythm

In severe cases, the individual may also develop low serum calcium or potassium levels because of the disruption to how their body manages mineral homeostasis or balance.

Learn more about magnesium deficiency here.

Various alternative supplements may have the potential to boost an individual’s cognitive function.

Fish oils

Fish oil supplements contain high levels of the omega-3 fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).

Research indicates that these fatty acids have various health benefits, particularly for the brain. DHA helps with brain structure and function, while EPA has anti-inflammatory effects that could safeguard the brain from the effects of aging.

Learn more about fish oils here.

Resveratrol

Various foods contain the antioxidant resveratrol. These include chocolate, peanuts, red wine, and purple and red fruit skins, such as blueberries and raspberries.

Some research indicates that taking resveratrol supplements could help support a part of the brain called the hippocampus. The hippocampus is involved in memory. Therefore, resveratrol could help prevent age-related decline in brain function.

Learn more about resveratrol here.

Ginkgo biloba

This herbal supplement comes from the Ginkgo biloba tree and is one of the most widely used in the world. Its proponents believe it can help with dementia, cardiovascular disease, and sexual dysfunction.

Some research indicates that ginkgo supplements can help slow age-related cognitive decline and improve memory and thinking skills. However, overall, the results from studies evaluating its effects are mixed.

Learn more about ginkgo here.

Acetyl-L-carnitine

The body naturally produces the amino acid acetyl-L-carnitine, which contributes to energy production.

Manufacturers claim that using acetyl-L-carnitine supplements can help with memory and feelings of alertness.

Animal studies have suggested that acetyl-L-carnitine supplements could increase the antioxidant defenses in the brain and potentially combat age-related decreases in cognitive function.

Additionally, human research indicates it may be valuable for improving brain function in people with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. However, its role is still unclear.

Magnesium threonate is one of the various forms of magnesium, an abundant mineral in the body.

Magnesium is essential for over 300 enzyme reactions and plays a role in DNA synthesis, muscle and nerve function, mental abilities, and more.

If an individual has a magnesium deficiency, they can experience symptoms ranging from nausea and vomiting to severe heart problems.

Magnesium threonate may help boost circulating magnesium levels. As it effectively raises magnesium levels in brain cells, it could reduce an individual’s risk of dementia and other age-related diseases.