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Science Unveils the Unique Advantages of Magnesium Threonate

Magnesium, one of the body’s most common essential minerals acts like a silent conductor within our bodies, orchestrating over 300 biochemical reactions to keep our cells functioning at their best. Did you know there are different forms of magnesium with varying benefits? One specific type, Magnesium Threonate also known as Magnesium L-Threonate has recently gained attention for its potential to target brain health. In this article, we will unveil the unique advantages of magnesium threonate.

Image shows glowing brain with magnesium threonate molecule formula 


In 2010, a team of researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) made a significant breakthrough by discovering a compound known as magnesium L-threonate. This lab-made compound binds magnesium ions to L-threonate ions, a metabolite of vitamin C (the substance produced when Vitamin C breaks down in the body), in a chemical process known as chelation, where a metal ion is bound to a larger molecule by forming multiple coordinate bonds.

The selection of L-threonic acid as a bonding agent for magnesium threonate is not a random choice. This acid possesses unique properties which set magnesium threonate apart from common magnesium. It is a highly bioavailable form of magnesium with the unique ability to cross the blood-brain barrier more effectively. This barrier or BBB tightly regulates what enters the brain, and magnesium threonate seems to have a special pass, potentially leading to higher brain magnesium levels.


Magnesium is abundant and crucial for our health. Common magnesium citrate or glycinate is present in nuts, seeds, whole grains, legumes and green leafy vegetables, such as spinach. Despite the availability of magnesium in food sources, studies showed that people in Western countries still don't get enough magnesium in their diets. Reduced magnesium (Mg) absorption, associated with low vitamin D levels, and increased Mg excretion due to age-related kidney function and tubular issues may also account for magnesium deficiencies.

Their comparative studies show magnesium threonate has greater bioavailability than other magnesium supplements. Indeed, when compared to other sources of magnesium, such as chloride, citrate, glycinate and gluconate, magnesium threonate displayed higher levels of absorption and retention.


Our brain tissue burns more energy than any other bodily tissue. Magnesium’s chief attribute is energy production. It is also responsible for protein synthesis, and DNA repair. Magnesium also plays a critical role in synaptic plasticity (synapses are the junctions between brain cells where information is transmitted, it allows us to learn, remember and adjust to a changing environment).

Low brain magnesium levels can cause forgetfulness, anxiety, depression, seizures and overall impaired cognitive function.

After identifying magnesium L-threonate in 2010, researchers investigated whether this magnesium supplement could enhance memory in healthy adults. They considered that regular magnesium supplements often struggle to reach the brain in significant amounts, so they experimented with a newer type of supplement, magnesium L-threonate, which appears to be better absorbed by the brain.

Can Magnesium Threonate Enhance Memory and Cognitive Function?

A study involving 109 healthy Chinese adults aged 18-65 was conducted. Half of the participants received a daily capsule containing 2g of magnesium L-threonate, along with phosphatidylserine (another brain health supplement), and vitamins C and D. Magnesium L-threonate was marketed under the brand name Magtein®PS. The other participants received a placebo capsule (a pill with no real effect). Importantly, neither the participants nor the researchers knew who received the active supplement versus the placebo. This design ensured a double-blind approach.

The study showed that after 30 days, those who took the magnesium threonate supplementation performed much better on a memory test with higher scores than those who were given a placebo. The older participants in the Magnesium Threonate group showed an even greater improvement in their memory test scores.

Can Magnesium Threonate Prevent Cell Death?

In the study of the Neuroprotective effects of magnesium L-threonate in a hypoxic zebrafish model, magnesium threonate was administered in a challenging situation (hypoxia, which is low oxygen). According to the research, magnesium threonate was found to act as a shield for the brain. It helped protect the cells against low oxygen, preventing cell death and brain damage. Additionally, it also protected cognitive function and influenced a protein called EAAT4, which helped regulate brain chemicals.

Can Magnesium Threonate Improve and Protect the Brain?

In a 2019 study, researchers investigated the protective effect of magnesium threonate supplementation in a mouse model of Parkinson’s disease. Researchers were trying to see if magnesium threonate could help with Parkinson's disease symptoms, such as movement problems. They looked at whether magnesium threonate could protect the cells in the brain that produce dopamine, a chemical important for movement. Loss of dopamine-producing neurons is a major characteristic of Parkinson's disease. Subjects demonstrated improved coordination and reduced shakiness. Magnesium threonate appeared to protect brain cells linked to movement.


Image shows female sitting with her head in hands looking stressed.

We have mentioned that magnesium L-threonate has a special ability to cross the blood-brain barrier in humans. This means it can effectively increase magnesium levels, specifically in the brain.

Magnesium regulates neurotransmitters such as Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) (a chemical messenger that slows down your brain by blocking specific signals in your central nervous system) which has calming effects, and glutamate, an excitatory neurotransmitter that energises us. By promoting GABA and potentially reducing excess glutamate activity, magnesium L-threonate balances brain activity, contributing to a calmer mood.

Magnesium L-threonate may also help regulate stress hormones like cortisol. When our bodies are in a constant "fight-or-flight" mode, high cortisol levels cause us to feel jittery, on edge and anxious. By potentially reducing cortisol levels, magnesium L-threonate may contribute to a more relaxed state and lower anxiety and stress.

Scientists investigated helping patients struggling with anxiety disorders, such as phobias and post-traumatic stress disorder, which are among the most common mental disorders. A study conducted in 2011, looked at how enhancing plasticity in specific brain regions such as the PFC or hippocampus can improve cognitive therapy efficacy. Researchers concluded that in situations where cognitive therapies have proven ineffective, magnesium threonate might be a beneficial therapeutic tool.

According to these studies, adding magnesium L-threonate to your diet may help you manage these psychological disorders naturally. However, it is important to consult your doctor or mental health practitioner to determine the best course of action for your specific needs.



In today’s fast-paced world, sleep disturbances — not getting enough sleep and poor sleep quality — have become increasingly prevalent health issues. It’s been noted that older adults are at a higher risk of magnesium deficiency, and 50% of older adults suffer from sleep disorders.

Studies have shown that daily magnesium supplementation supports overall improved sleep by:

  1. Enhanced Sleep Quality  Magnesium deficiencies cause a drop in the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) levels. We've discussed that magnesium threonate can increase magnesium levels in the brain. We have previously mentioned that it can reduce stress and anxiety by balancing the activity of certain neurotransmitters, such as GABA, which helps to calm the nervous system and encourage sleep.

  2. Regulation of sleep hormone — Magnesium is involved in producing melatonin, the hormone responsible for sleep-wake cycles. Studies suggest that insufficient magnesium can lead to an imbalance in melatonin production, affecting sleep patterns.

  3. Lengthen sleep duration  Studies show magnesium helps individuals who struggle to achieve the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep. Magnesium threonate may contribute to a more consistent sleep pattern, allowing individuals to get the rest they need.

  4. Decrease sleep latency — Sleep latency refers to the time it takes to fall asleep once you’re in bed. Magnesium threonate is a form of magnesium that is highly bioavailable and specifically targets the brain. Research indicates that magnesium has been found to decrease sleep latency, meaning it helps people fall asleep more quickly and efficiently.

  5. Increase REM Sleep — Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep is a crucial phase of the sleep cycle associated with dreaming and memory consolidation. Research suggests that magnesium threonate may promote an increase in REM sleep. By enhancing this phase, it could contribute to better cognitive function and emotional regulation during waking hours.

  6. Help relieve Periodic Leg Movements Magnesium helps relax muscles by blocking calcium, which otherwise activates nerves and causes muscle contractions. Studies show magnesium can reduce symptoms of restless legs syndrome (RLS), which may cause sleep disturbances. Increasing magnesium intake is particularly effective for RLS when linked to a deficiency.


    Magnesium is essential for the function of mitochondria, the powerhouses of our cells. A study published in the journal "Magnesium Research" in 2010 found that magnesium threonate supplementation increased mitochondrial density and function in the skeletal muscle of aged rats.
    This holds significance as mitochondria are responsible for energy production and improved function could translate to better muscle performance and recovery.

    We have also discussed how magnesium threonate can help alleviate muscle contractions such as those associated with RLS, by regulating the flow of calcium ions into muscles. Magnesium threonate blocks excessive calcium influx and prevents prolonged muscle contractions and cramps.


    The timeline for experiencing benefits from magnesium threonate can vary from individual to individual. Cognitive improvements may become noticeable after 4 to 8 weeks of consistent daily supplementation. These effects build over time, with some needing up to 12 weeks to experience the full impact. Thus, a single dose will not yield results, as brain magnesium levels need time to increase. Magnesium Threonate should be taken consistently for at least 3-4 months to experience the full benefits.


    While magnesium threonate is usually well-tolerated, some potential side effects can occur, especially at higher doses.

    Common side effects are digestive issues like diarrhoea, nausea, and stomach cramps. Taking magnesium threonate with food can significantly reduce these.

    In rare instances, high doses may contribute to a temporary dip in blood pressure (hypotension) so individuals who suffer from low blood pressure should exercise caution. Extremely high dosages (far exceeding recommended amounts) can lead to serious side effects like muscle weakness or difficulty breathing, but this is very unlikely.

    It's important to note that different people may have varying levels of sensitivity to magnesium. If you experience any side effects while taking magnesium threonate you should consider:

    • Reducing your intake and monitoring whether your symptoms improve.
    • Discontinue using the supplement if symptoms persist and consult your doctor.
    • Seek advice from a healthcare professional on appropriate management.

    Before starting magnesium threonate, consulting a doctor is vital, especially if you have pre-existing health conditions or take other medications.


    Many factors can affect the recommended dosage of threonate, including your age, gender, whether you are pregnant or lactating and the reasons why you are taking it.

    Currently, magnesium threonate does not have an official Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA). However, some studies have suggested that the following dosage range of 1,000-2,000 mg is safe which provides around 144 mg of elemental magnesium. This is a potentially effective dose for adults, but higher doses may be required. This is a general guideline, which may vary among individuals. 

    Magnesium threonate can interact with certain medications, such as antibiotics, bisphosphonates, diuretics, proton pump inhibitors and thyroid medications.

    It is wise to consult with your health practitioner before taking magnesium threonate supplements, especially if you have any underlying health conditions or are taking other medications.   

    Be sure to pay attention to the amount of elemental magnesium in each dose of amagnesium threonate supplement. Not all supplements are created equal and a few may contain more filler ingredients than others. Choose a reputable brand with third-party testing to ensure purity and potency, such as Youth&Earth’s Magnesium Threonate

    Image of the Youth&eEarth's Magnesium Threonate 500mg, 60 capsules


    Science has unveiled the unique health benefits of Magnesium Threonate. This innovative form of magnesium goes beyond supporting your overall health with its unique ability to target your brain cells directly, potentially unlocking a new level of cognitive function. Early research suggests exciting benefits for memory, learning, and even neurological health.

    Imagine achieving peak mental clarity and supporting your brain's natural ability to learn and thrive as you grow older. Magnesium threonate can be part of your journey to a sharper, healthier you.


      The content of this article is for informational purposes only.
      It’s not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or health provider before starting a new health regime or program.
      Do not ignore medical advice or delay seeking it because of something you’ve read on this site or any Youth & Earth product.