- Neurologists say we should take magnesium supplements every day to reduce levels of cortisol, the stress hormone
- Many say this lowers risk of dementia, since the disease is linked to magnesium deficiency
- But new research shows it’s not that simple – since overloading on magnesium could also increase your risk of dementia
These days, there is a supplement for everything.
In brain-care, the latest must-have is a magnesium supplement, designed to reduce your levels of cortisol, the stress hormone.
However, a new study warns pill-poppers that it’s not as simple.
People with both high and low levels of magnesium in their blood may be at a greater risk of developing dementia, according to new research.
Scientists say that if the results are confirmed, blood tests to measure magnesium levels could be used to screen for people at risk of dementia – and also to help people understand whether or not they should take a supplement.
Neurologists say we should take magnesium supplements every day to reduce levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. But research shows you have a limit (file image)
The study involved more than 9,500 people with an average age of 65 who didn’t have dementia whose blood was tested for magnesium levels.
The participants were followed for an average of eight years. During that time, 823 people were diagnosed with dementia. Of those, 662 people had Alzheimer’s disease.
They were divided into five groups based on their magnesium levels.
Both those with the highest and the lowest levels of magnesium had an increased risk of dementia, compared to those in the middle group.
And both were about 30 percent more likely to develop dementia than those in the middle group.
Of the 1,771 people in the low magnesium group, 160 people developed dementia, which is a rate of 10.2 per 1,000 person-years.
For the high magnesium group, 179 of the 1,748 people developed dementia, for a rate of 11.4 per 1,000 person-years.
For the middle group, 102 of the 1,387 people developed dementia, for a rate of 7.8.
The results, published online by the journal Neurology, were the same after researchers adjusted for other factors that could affect the risk of dementia and magnesium levels, such as body mass index (BMI), smoking and alcohol use.
Study author Brenda Kieboom, of Erasmus University Medical Centre in Rotterdam, Holland, said: ‘These results need to be confirmed with additional studies, but the results are intriguing.
‘Since the current treatment and prevention options for dementia are limited, we urgently need to identify new risk factors for dementia that could potentially be adjusted.
‘If people could reduce their risk for dementia through diet or supplements, that could be very beneficial.’
She noted that almost all of the participants had magnesium levels in the normal range, with only 108 people with levels below normal and two people with levels above normal.
Foods that are good sources of magnesium include spinach, almonds, cashews, soy and black beans, whole grains, yogurt and avocados.
Ms Kieboom said that if the results are confirmed, blood tests to measure magnesium levels could be used to screen for people at risk of dementia.
But she emphasised that the study doesn’t prove that high or low levels of magnesium cause dementia; it only shows an association.
The researchers said that limitations of the study included that magnesium levels were measured only once, so they could have changed, and that magnesium levels in the blood do not always represent the total level of magnesium in the body.
Health | Mail Online