I’m often asked about the Magnesium L’Threonate product, Magtein, which is a sugar acid bound to magnesium. The January 28, 2010 issue of Neuron published a paper titled, “Enhancement of Learning and Memory by Elevating Brain Magnesium.” The study was done on rats and researchers said that “Our findings suggest that an increase in brain magnesium enhances both short-term synaptic facilitation and long-term potentiation and improves learning and memory functions.” The study compares several different forms of magnesium for absorption into the cerebrospinal fluid ("CFS") and found that Magtein measured only 7 percent higher at day 24 of intake. They admit that threonate by itself does not have “any positive effect on memory.”
With this 7 percent increase in the CSF, promoters of Magtein say theirs is the only magnesium that crosses the blood brain barrier. That is an inaccurate statement. Giving superpowers to their product obscures the reality that any magnesium could produce some or all of these same effects. The treatment of migraines, seizures, stroke, head injuries and other nervous system problems with even the highly unabsorbed magnesium oxide (at 4%) shows that all magnesium works at the neuron level, which means at least part of it gets into the brain.
Personally, when I take Magtein, I get the laxative effect, which means to me that it’s not fully absorbed at the cellular level like some other forms of magnesium. In one formulation, three capsules of Magtein gives you 144 mg of elemental magnesium. I would have to take about 20 capsules a day to meet my magnesium requirements. And since in one day I would get the laxative effect, I would never reach saturation effect to eliminate my symptoms.
Read the free eBook, Magnesium in the Central Nervous System, and it will convince you that all magnesiums to some extent, cross the Blood Brain Barrier and can have a positive effect on the brain.