Momentum in the Mountains 2024


Magnesium Threonate Benefits for the Brain

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 07/14/2024

Magnesium is an essential mineral involved in over 300 biochemical reactions in the body. It acts as a catalyst for crucial enzyme activities that support energy production, cell signaling, and nerve function.

One specific form, magnesium threonate, has gained attention for its vital role in maintaining brain health and its potential to enhance memory, focus, and overall cognitive performance.

Discover magnesium threonate benefits for supporting cognitive health and learn to spot common signs and symptoms of magnesium deficiency. 

Neurons in brain lighting up

What is magnesium threonate?

Magnesium threonate, also called magnesium L-threonate, is a type of magnesium supplement that can cross the blood-brain barrier, thereby promoting magnesium levels in the brain. 

This form of magnesium is combined with threonic acid, a vitamin C derivative that allows magnesium threonate to be absorbed into the central nervous system. 

“Magnesium promotes the function of the hippocampus, which is involved in memory, learning, focus, and concentration, as well as the cerebral cortex, needed to regulate high-level processing," explains Dr. Berg.

Other types of magnesium supplements, such as magnesium glycinate and magnesium citrate, can’t cross the blood-brain barrier and don't have the same targeted effects on the central nervous system. 

However, these forms of magnesium can be beneficial for muscle function and are often used to manage issues such as cramping, insomnia, and kidney stone prevention

Watch this video to discover more about the cognitive benefits of magnesium L-threonate.

Magnesium L-Threonate is the Form of Mg for Memory, Concentration & Focus

Symptoms of magnesium deficiency

Magnesium is needed to generate adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is the body’s primary energy currency.

Because the brain requires a substantial amount of energy, utilizing around 20 percent of the body's ATP,  it relies on adequate magnesium levels to function properly. 

According to research published in Advances in Nutrition, “Approximately 50 percent of Americans consume less than the estimated average requirement for magnesium, and some age groups consume substantially less.

Low magnesium levels can cause brain fog, confusion, and other neurological problems. Deficiency can also impair the production of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter essential for regulating stress responses. 

Because this essential mineral plays an important role in various bodily functions, magnesium deficiency can contribute to a wide range of neurological and physiological symptoms.

Here are common signs and symptoms of magnesium deficiency: 

  • Fatigue

  • Anxiety

  • Irritability

  • Elevated cortisol levels

  • Depression

  • Insomnia

  • Headaches and migraines

  • Poor memory and cognitive function

  • Muscle cramps

  • Twitching

  • Insulin resistance

woman learning having an idea

Benefits of magnesium threonate for the brain

While magnesium is utilized in every cell, the effects of magnesium threonate on brain health are particularly notable. 

Here are four benefits of magnesium threonate for cognitive health.

1. Supports learning, memory, and focus 

Magnesium threonate, known for its high bioavailability in the central nervous system, has been shown to improve learning, memory, and focus.

A study published in Nutrients found that magnesium L-threonate supplementation led to noticeable enhancements in cognitive functions in healthy adults. 

It also suggests that this form of magnesium may be beneficial in treating cognitive impairment linked to aging processes, as participants who took magnesium threonate demonstrated better scores in memory and learning than those taking a placebo.

Additionally, magnesium plays a critical role in regulating N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors. 

The authors reported that “NMDA causes degeneration of neurons, and magnesium intake supports healthy neurons by blocking the activity of NMDA. Blocking NMDA is thought to be a potential prevention for cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease,” 

Young woman having a relaxing break

2. Promotes relaxation

Several studies highlight magnesium's role in regulating the body's central stress response system.

Research published in Neuropharmacology found that magnesium can modulate the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. This axis controls stress responses and regulates processes such as digestion, immune system functions, mood, and energy usage.

When magnesium levels are low, the HPA axis can become dysregulated, leading to increased production of stress hormones, heightened anxiety, tension, and poor psychological health.

By promoting optimal magnesium levels, magnesium threonate supports HPA axis functions and hormonal balance, promoting a sense of calm and relaxation.

3. May alleviate neurological pain 

Evidence published in Brain Research demonstrated that by increasing magnesium levels in the brain, magnesium L-threonate supplementation helped ease neurological pain and improved symptoms of depression and anxiety in injured rats. 

Magnesium threonate also reduces inflammation by decreasing the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines. This indicates that magnesium threonate may have essential applications in clinical settings, especially for patients experiencing neurological pain and inflammation

Older man playing chess

4. Supports healthy brain aging 

Multiple studies have revealed that magnesium threonate can lead to significant improvements in cognitive performance.

Research published in Neuron found that after one month of magnesium L-threonate supplementation, magnesium concentration in the brain increased, resulting in a notable enhancement of memory and learning in young and elderly rats. 

The study showed that magnesium threonate enhanced spatial working memory, short and long-term memory, and pattern completion ability.

This suggests that magnesium L-threonate may improve cognitive function across different age groups, playing a vital role in maintaining healthy brain function and mitigating age-related cognitive decline.

Young women taking a vitamin supplement

The best sources of magnesium threonate

magnesium L-threonate isn’t naturally found in food and must be produced by combining naturally derived ingredients in a controlled environment. 

This process involves synthesizing L-threonic acid, a metabolite of vitamin C, which is then bonded with magnesium to enhance its ability to cross the blood-brain barrier.

Because magnesium threonate doesn’t occur naturally in food, it must be obtained through supplementation.

The dosage shown to be effective in human studies appears to be between 2000 and 2730 milligrams per day.

When selecting a magnesium L-threonate supplement, it’s essential to ensure quality. Opt for supplements from reputable brands known for high standards and transparent manufacturing processes.

Look for clear labeling of magnesium content and choose products made from non-GMO ingredients with minimal fillers or additives. 

Young sleepy man yawning

Potential downsides of magnesium threonate

While magnesium L-threonate offers unique benefits, it does have some potential downsides.

Due to its complex manufacturing process, magnesium threonate is often more expensive than other forms of magnesium, such as citrate or glycinate.

Magnesium threonate is relatively new on the market, and limited long-term research is available. As safety data is lacking, pregnant or nursing women and individuals with specific health conditions should avoid taking magnesium threonate or discuss its use with a healthcare provider. 

While magnesium threonate is generally well tolerated, potential side effects of magnesium supplements include drowsiness and gastrointestinal issues such as nausea and diarrhea. 

These effects are usually mild but should be considered, especially for those with sensitive digestive systems.

If you have health concerns, consult your doctor before adding dietary supplements to your routine.

Strong and healthy brain concept

Key takeaways

Magnesium threonate benefits the brain in several powerful ways and has been linked to enhanced memory, learning, and overall cognitive function.

Additionally, magnesium threonate promotes relaxation, alleviates pain, and may reduce inflammation in the central nervous system, supporting the health and function of brain cells. 

While more research is needed to understand its long-term effects fully, magnesium threonate is a promising supplement for those seeking to optimize their cognitive performance.


1. What is magnesium threonate best for?

Magnesium threonate is an excellent option to support brain health and cognitive function. It has the unique ability to cross the blood-brain barrier, thereby promoting healthy magnesium levels in the central nervous system.

2. What are the downsides of magnesium threonate?

Due to its specialized manufacturing process, magnesium L-threonate supplements are often more expensive than other forms of magnesium.

Although generally well tolerated, potential side effects of magnesium supplementation include drowsiness and gastrointestinal issues.

3. Does magnesium threonate help you sleep?

Yes, magnesium threonate can help improve sleep by reducing stress and promoting relaxation due to its ability to modulate the body’s stress response and support neurotransmitter function.

4. Which is better, magnesium glycinate or threonate?

Which form of magnesium is better depends on your health goals. Magnesium glycinate is best for muscle relaxation and sleep, while magnesium threonate is better for targeted brain support, memory, learning, and cognitive enhancement. 

5. Does magnesium threonate increase anxiety?

No, magnesium threonate is more likely to reduce anxiety by supporting the production of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a calm-inducing neurotransmitter.  

6. Does magnesium threonate affect high blood pressure? 

While magnesium threonate is primarily known for its brain benefits, it has also been shown to help lower blood pressure due to its relaxing effects on muscle tone, including the vascular muscles of the circulatory system. 

7. How does magnesium threonate support the primary functions of the brain?

Cognitive functions such as memory, attention, and executive processing may be enhanced by taking magnesium L-threonate.

Magnesium threonate also reduces inflammation and oxidative stress in the brain, contributing to improved cognitive performance, mental clarity, and focus.


  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2161831322007840 

  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9786204/ 

  3. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0028390811003054 

  4. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0006899323002470 

  5. https://www.cell.com/neuron/pdf/S0896-6273(09)01044-7.pdf

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