Around 20 million of us (70% of adults) in the UK take daily supplements – a number that rose (unsurprisingly) in response to the pandemic. We’re all becoming more health conscious – which can only be a good thing.
But when it comes to choosing those supplements, there is a minefield of information and options out there.
Even when you narrow down which supplement, vitamin, or mineral might be of benefit, you often find there are categories within categories! A great example of this is our good friend magnesium – there are multiple forms and types of magnesium.
So which kind of magnesium is best for you?
In this article, we will look at a powerful compound – and one of our favourite forms of magnesium – magnesium L-threonate.
Read on to discover:
- How magnesium L-threonate works
- Magnesium L-threonate benefits and side effects
- Who should not take magnesium L-threonate
…And more! Here’s what you need to know.
In this guide:
What is magnesium L-threonate?
Magnesium L-threonate (also known as magnesium threonate) is a relatively new magnesium supplement. It’s a synthesised compound made by bonding magnesium molecules to threonate (hence the name!) – a vitamin C metabolite.
The combination of L-threonate and magnesium improves the compound’s bioavailability, absorption, and stability.
Scientists are particularly excited about the combination of these molecules due to the power compound’s ability to cross the blood-brain barrier – a protective filter which tends to be difficult for substances to penetrate.
The result? That our brain and nervous system can fully utilise the neuroprotective, anti-anxiety and anti-stress properties of magnesium.
How does magnesium L-threonate work?
We’ve already alluded to magnesium l-threonate’s secret weapon: the compound can work its magic ‘upstairs’ because of its unique ability to cross the blood-brain barrier.
This is what brings magnesium l-threonate’s its neuroprotective properties.
The compound also increases neuroplasticity – our brain’s ability to adapt, grow and change.
Finally, magnesium l-threonate works, scientists think, by increasing something called BDNF – which stands for Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor protein. This boosts the development and production of new brain cells.
What are the benefits of magnesium L-threonate?
So what exactly are the benefits of the neuroprotective properties of magnesium L-threonate? What does this mean in practice for our health?
Before we delve into benefits of magnesium treonate, it’s important to note that it should not be seen as a cure or treatment for any condition, and that it should not be used replace traditional medication.
But, there are still some benefits to be gleaned from this supplement – let’s take a look.
Magnesium L-threonate benefits cognitive function
One study found the compound could substantially improve cognitive function in older adults – with some participants seeing results in just six weeks. This is a comparatively minuscule amount of time, considering that comparable drugs can take up to 72 weeks to show demonstrable impact!
In this study, magnesium threonate improved both executive function and performance speeds for all participants.
Even more impressive were the results, which indicated that the supplementation of magnesium l-threonate reduced the brain age of participants by nine years, once again in just six weeks.
Magnesium L-threonate may improve memory and nerve pain
A study review considered the potential of magnesium as a tool for improving memory and nerve pain. As with much of this research, the conclusion cited the requirement for continuing clinical exploration in this area.
However, preliminary evidence points to the vital function magnesium may play in supporting memory, as well as soothing nerve pain.
Magnesium L-threonate as a protector against motor deficits
A significant amount of research on magnesium L-threonate has been conducted on animals rather than humans. This isn’t unusual – the compound was first fused by scientists in 2009 – in research years, that’s really not long ago!
While this means results cannot be fully extrapolated to human populations, the studies do offer an indication of what other potential benefits of magnesium l-threonate may be.
And one study on mice found magnesium threonate elevated magnesium in cerebrospinal fluid and protected against motor deficits and dopamine neuron loss.
These results could have important implications for those suffering these symptoms as part of a Parkinson’s disease diagnosis.
Magnesium L-threonate as a treatment for PTSD and anxiety
Some promising research also makes a case for the role of magnesium L-threonate in helping anxiety disorders and reducing PTSD symptoms.
One 2011 study looked at the impact of magnesium L-threonate on fear extinction, neuronal plasticity and fear conditioning. Researchers concluded that in situations where cognitive therapies haven’t worked, magnesium L-threonate might be a useful therapeutic tool:
“Elevation of brain magnesium might be a novel approach for enhancing synaptic plasticity in a regional-specific manner, leading to enhancing the efficacy of extinction without enhancing or impairing fear memory formation.”
In non-science speak, magnesium L-threonate may help patients struggling with anxiety or PTSD where other treatments haven’t worked, and crucially, do so without triggering adverse side effects.
What are the side effects of magnesium L-threonate?
So, we know that magnesium L-threonate is a powerful substance which can improve brain function – from cognition to memory to supporting healthy nerve responses.
But does magnesium L-threonate come with any unwanted side effects?
While most people won’t suffer adverse effects from supplementing a healthy diet with magnesium L-threonate, the compound (and other forms of magnesium) can cause side effects.
- Abdominal cramping
- Drowsiness and headaches
If you experience unwanted side effects after consuming magnesium, always speak with a doctor or relevant medical professional.
How to take magnesium threonate
So how do I take magnesium threonate? What’s the ideal dosage, and who should avoid magnesium l-threonate?
Magnesium l-threonate dosage
Firstly, it’s essential to stick to recommended dosage guidelines.
The NHS website advises that keeping under 400mg of magnesium supplementation per day is unlikely to cause harm. Never exceed this, as ingesting much greater amounts (over 5000 milligrams) of magnesium may lead to magnesium toxicity.
This could cause difficulty breathing, lethargy, heart problems, and severe nausea and vomiting.
It’s also helpful to note that taking more than the recommended dosage of magnesium will not sufficiently increase your magnesium levels. Your body will naturally attempt to expel this excess magnesium, which may lead to unpleasant side effects.
How long does it take for magnesium L-threonate to work?
How long it takes for magnesium threonate to work will vary from person to person.
Some people will see results within the first six weeks, but it takes around 12 weeks of consistent supplementation to experience the full effect of magnesium threonate.
However, this timeline is not set in stone and can be influenced by several factors, including:
- Individual variability
Factors like your overall health, lifestyle, genes, baseline magnesium levels and metabolism can influence how long it takes for magnesium threoante to work. In addition, some people may be more responsive to magnesium threonate and will see effects sooner.
Taking higher dosages of magnesium threonate may lead to more immediate effects, while smaller doses can take longer to deliver results.
How regularly you take your magnesium will also influence the time it takes to work. When magnesium is taken consistently, it will build up in your system, leading to more pronounced results.
Frequently asked questions:
Yes, you can take magnesium L-threonate daily. Taking consistent daily supplements is the best way to ensure you receive the supplement’s benefits. Just be sure to stay within the dosage guidelines.
Magnesium L-threonate may help you sleep at night and improve sleep quality, but it won’t make you sleepy during the day.
If you are on medication, always check with your doctor before taking a new supplement, including magnesium L-threonate. The compound may interact with many prominent drugs, so it’s really important to get the all-clear from a medical professional first.
Final words of magnesium L-threonate
Magnesium l-threonate is a powerful brain supplement. The compound delighted scientists when it was originally fused in 2009. Finally, the neuroprotective benefits of magnesium may have a genuine impact due to the ability of this compound to pass the blood-brain barrier readily.
However, while magnesium l-threonate may be an excellent supplement for the brain, it only provides a small amount of elemental magnesium. So, if you’re struggling with a magnesium deficiency, other forms of magnesium can be more efficient: such as magnesium citrate.
For this reason, taking a blended supplement – for example, our magnesium sleep powder, which combines magnesium citrate and magnesium threonate – is an excellent option.
A blend will allow you to receive all the benefits of a magnesium l-threonate supplement – as well as the therapeutic properties of magnesium citrate – all while staying within recommended magnesium doses.