The New Boost-Your-Memory Nutrient

by Elizabeth Devita-Raeburn
Photograph: Illustration: Neil Webb

Eating magnesium-packed food may help combat memory lapses, according to a study in the journal Neuron. In lab experiments, researchers boosted the level of magnesium in the brains of one set of rats but not in a control group. Rats that had been given more of the mineral were better able to navigate mazes—and remember them—than were those that hadn’t. That’s probably because an ample supply of magnesium enhances the number of connections between brain cells, which are essential for learning and memory. While most American women don’t get the recommended amount of 320 mg per day, you should hit the quota if you eat at least two daily servings of apricots, beans and other magnesium-rich foods. But for now, skip the trip to the Vitamin Shoppe. “In our animal experiments, magnesium supplements weren’t very effective,” says Guosong Liu, MD, PhD, lead author of the study.

Originally published in the May 2010 issue of More.

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