Magnesium L-Threonate: Breakthrough Brain Supplement
Breakthrough Brain Supplement
Created by Deane Alban | Medically reviewed by Patrick Alban, DC
Last updated on July 30, 2019
➤ Balanced information, research-based
Magnesium l-threonate is a synthesized form of magnesium that can boost cognitive abilities. Learn how it’s used to improve memory and
reverse brain aging.
What You'll Learn Here
Magnesium is so important for health that it’s been called
the master mineral.
It’s particularly important for a healthy brain and nervous
It exhibits anti-stress, anti-anxiety, anti-depressive, and
But there’s always been a quandary with the therapeutic use of magnesium supplements for cognitive and mental
health issues — they do not readily cross into the brain.
Now there’s a new breakthrough form of magnesium,
magnesium l-threonate, that solves this problem.
What Is Magnesium L-Threonate?
Most magnesium supplements are chelated and
magnesium l-threonate is no exception.
Chelated simply means that the magnesium molecules are
bonded to another molecule.
Chelation can improve a magnesium supplement’s
stability, absorption, and bioavailability. (1)
Magnesium l-threonate is the latest magnesium chelate.
It was developed by a team of neuroscientists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Tsinghua University in Beijing who bound magnesium to l-
threonate, a vitamin C metabolite. (2)
There is no reason to be concerned that magnesium l-
threonate is not natural.
When it comes to magnesium supplements, natural is not
Magnesium sulphate naturally occurs in Epsom salts, but
it’s a harsh laxative that’s barely absorbed.
This makes it one of the worst forms of magnesium
that you can take, especially if improving brain function is
your goal. (3)
You may already be familiar with popular magnesium supplements like magnesium citrate and magnesium
They, too, are synthesized in a laboratory.
How Does Magnesium L-Threonate
Magnesium is largely missing from the modern diet.
Magnesium is the second most common deficiency in
industrialized countries. (4)
Here in the US, only 32% of us get the RDA
(recommended daily allowance) of magnesium. (5)
The brain’s need for magnesium is high — it is found in
higher concentrations in the brain than in the blood.
Magnesium plays a critical role in a number of
brain-related and neurological conditions
including: (6, 7, 8, 9, 10)
• acute brain injury
• Alzheimer’s disease
• attention disorders
• bipolar disorder
• Parkinson’s disease
But frustratingly, very little of the magnesium found in typical supplements gets into the brain, limiting its
Magnesium l-threonate was specifically created to cross
the brain’s protective filter, the blood-brain barrier. (11)
Another brain-enhancing property of magnesium l-
threonate is that it increases brain plasticity. (12)
Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to change and grow,
and is fundamental for memory and learning to take place.
Lastly, there’s evidence that magnesium l-threonate can increase brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a
protein that stimulates the formation of new brain cells.
Benefits of Magnesium L-Threonate:
What the Research Shows
There are dozens of known magnesium benefits.
Appropriate magnesium supplementation has been proven to lift mood, increase resilience to stress, improve focus and concentration, raise energy levels, and improve sleep
It’s also good for a wide variety of conditions not related to brain health such as asthma, muscle cramps, high blood
pressure, osteoporosis, and heart disease.
Magnesium l-threonate has been around only since 2010.
So unlike many other natural supplements, it has no
history of traditional or medicinal use.
This makes research results more important than usual.
Of the dozen or so studies done on magnesium l- threonate, there’s been only one clinical trial (i.e., study on
Since this study is by far the most relevant, let’s take a look
at this one first.
Magnesium L-Threonate Clinical Trial
There’s only one clinical trial that’s been published in a
peer-reviewed medical journal.
Study participants were older adults (ages 50 through 70) who reported concerns with memory, concentration,
anxiety, and sleep. (14)
They were evaluated for four aspects of cognitive ability — working memory, episodic memory, attention, and executive function — the last being a group of skills that
helps you set goals, plan, and get things done.
They were given magnesium l-threonate for 12 weeks.
As researchers expected from the results of animal tests,
magnesium l-threonate increased magnesium levels in
human brain cells.
When retested, all participants performed significantly
better in all four cognitive areas.
Magnesium l-threonate also significantly reduced their
biological brain age.
On average, these seniors’ brains functioned as if they were 9.4 years younger than when the study began,
according to standard tests.
For most participants, this effectively reversed their
brain age back to their chronological age.
This is very encouraging news!
However, magnesium l-threonate did not help with sleep,
mood, or anxiety any better than a placebo.
(This study used ClariMem, a trademarked form of magnesium l-threonate. It is also called MMFS-01. At this time, according to the product website, ClariMem is
currently out of stock.)
Magnesium L-Threonate Animal Study
This compound is still new and more human tests will
certainly be forthcoming.
Until then, here’s what animal research has discovered so
Magnesium l-threonate and anxiety disorders
Magnesium l-threonate may be helpful for anxiety
Magnesium is highly regarded as a natural relaxant.
It works by increasing the calming neurotransmitter
GABA, while reducing the release of stress hormones. (15)
It also works at the blood-brain barrier to prevent stress
chemicals from entering the brain. (16)
The results of animal research suggest that magnesium l- threonate could be particularly helpful for anxiety disorders, such as phobias and post-traumatic stress
disorder, but human studies are needed. (17)
Magnesium l-threonate and dementia and
Magnesium l-threonate shows potential for
treating dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
There’s a well-established link between low magnesium
and all kinds of dementia, including Alzheimer’s. (18)
Research studying human populations finds that diets high in magnesium correlate to a reduced risk of all kinds
of dementia. (19)
Mice and rats are commonly used in Alzheimer’s research because they have good memories and develop brain
diseases similar to those experienced by humans.
Magnesium l-threonate supplements can prevent memory
loss and mental decline in aging rats. (20)
Researchers are hopeful that the substantial neuroprotective benefits seen in rodents indicate potential
for treating Alzheimer’s in humans. (21)
Magnesium l-threonate, learning, and memory
Magnesium l-threonate aids learning and three kinds of
Rats became smarter, better “students” when given
magnesium l-threonate. (22)
They learned more readily and showed improvements in
working, short-term, and long-term memory. (23)
Choosing a Magnesium L-Threonate
Very few magnesium supplements contain magnesium l-
So you must check product labels carefully to make sure
your supplement contains it.
Magnesium l-threonate is available in its generic form, but
there is one brand name you can look for as well, Magtein.
MagteinTM is a patented form of magnesium l-threonate (magnesium l-threonate hydrate) that’s been well-studied
Magtein is a raw ingredient included in magnesium formulations from a handful of supplement companies
including Jarrow Formulas, NOW, and Source Naturals.
The company behind Magtein partnered with Stanford University in one clinical trial, The Use of Magnesium L- Threonate for the Enhancement of Learning and Memory
in People With Mild to Moderate Dementia.
You can read about it on ClinicalTrials.gov, a database of
clinical trials being conducted around the world.
However, the results have not yet been published.
(Considering this study was completed in 2016, this is
The fact that this brand name product has been studied does not necessarily mean it is more effective than generic
In my opinion, this simply reflects the monetary reality
that there is little incentive for companies to conduct
studies on supplement ingredients that can’t be patented.
Magnesium L-Threonate Dosage
The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for magnesium is 420 mg for men and 320 mg for women, but that can
vary slightly depending on age. (24)
There is no RDA for magnesium l-threonate, but 1,500 to
2,000 mg per day is a good rule of thumb for now.
The maker of Magtein suggests 1,000 mg taken twice a day
for optimal cognitive benefits. (25)
In the ClariMem study, participants took 1.5 to 2 grams
per day. (26)
This may sound like a lot, but keep in mind that only a fraction of magnesium l-threonate is elemental
So 2,000 mg of magnesium l-threonate delivers only 144
mg of elemental magnesium.
See a typical magnesium l-threonate supplement label
The 34% on the right indicates that 2 grams of magnesium l-threonate delivers roughly one-third of your daily
requirement of magnesium.
2,000 mg of magnesium l-threonate delivers 144 mg of elemental
Why You Should Consider Taking More
Than One Form of Magnesium
This low amount of elemental magnesium indicates that magnesium l-threonate is not a good choice for
overcoming an overall magnesium deficiency.
For that, better choices are magnesium glycinate,
gluconate, or citrate.
Learn more about the best and worst types of magnesium to take for different situations in 8 Ways
Magnesium Relieves Anxiety and Stress.
There’s no reason you can’t take more than one kind of
In fact, many formulations cover all bases by including
more than one form.
You’ll know if you’ve overdone it with magnesium — loose
stools are the telling sign.
Magnesium L-Threonate Side Effects
The only reported side effects of magnesium l-threonate are headaches, drowsiness, or a feeling of increased blood
flow to the head.
These are temporary and rarely last more than a week.
One common side effect of magnesium supplements in
general is digestive upset.
Most forms have a laxative effect.
This can be a benefit or a side effect depending on your
Magnesium l-threonate generally does not have this effect since it was formulated to enter and be absorbed by the
Discuss taking magnesium with your doctor if you take antibiotics, high blood pressure medications, blood thinners, osteoporosis medications, or muscle relaxants.
Magnesium can affect these drugs’ effectiveness.
Magnesium should not be taken if you have kidney disease
since kidneys normally clear magnesium out of the body.
Magnesium L-Threonate: Take the
Magnesium is a mineral required for good physical and
But the therapeutic use of magnesium supplementation for cognitive health problems has been stymied by this mineral’s inability to pass through the brain’s protective
Magnesium l-threonate was synthesized specifically to
overcome this problem.
It readily crosses into the brain where it increases brain
plasticity and encourages the formation of new brain cells.
It shows promise for treating memory loss, brain aging,
anxiety, dementia, Alzheimer’s, and more.
Since most people are low in magnesium and it’s a safe essential mineral, there is no reason not to try magnesium
l-threonate to boost your cognitive abilities.