Brain Foods

Brain Foods

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"Mineral for the mind"

The minerals magnesium, iron, and zinc show promise on several fronts for maintaining brain health. "Magnesium seems to be important for maintaining normal brain activity," A 1996 study in Procedures of the North Dakota Academy of Sciences showed that a low magnesium intake was linked to poorer scores on memory tests in rats, and Penland notes that low levels have also been associated with decreased cognitive function in humans. James G. Penland, Ph.D., research psychologist and supervisor of the Mineral Element, Nutrition, Neuropsychological Function, and Behavior Research Lab at the Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center in North Dakota.

Magnesium helps stabilize your brain wave patterns and increases blood flow to your brain, . People who have a shortage of magnesium, says Teitelbaum, may notice problems with memory and thinking clearly, commonly described as "brain fog."says Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D., director of the Annapolis Research Center for Effective FMS/CFS Therapies in Maryland and author of From Fatigued to Fantastic! (Penguin Putnam, 2001)

Magnesium: Deficiency in children is characterized by excessive fidgeting, anxious, restlessness, psychomotor instability and learning difficulties in presence of normal IQ. Clinical Aspects of Chronic Magnesium Deficiency, Seelig, Mildred, Magnesium in Health and Disease, Spectrum Publishing, 1980.

Linus Pauling Institute: Magnesium plays important roles in the structure and the function of the human body. Magnesium is involved in more than 300 essential metabolic reactions, some of which are discussed below
Energy production: The metabolism of carbohydrates and fats to produce energy requires numerous magnesium-dependent chemical reactions. Magnesium is required by the adenosine triphosphate (ATP) synthesizing protein in mitochondria. ATP, the molecule that provides energy for almost all metabolic processes, exists primarily as a complex with magnesium (MgATP). Synthesis of essential molecules Magnesium is required at a number of steps during the synthesis of nucleic acids (DNA and RNA) and proteins. A number of enzymes participating in the synthesis of carbohydrates and lipids require magnesium for their activity. Glutathione, an important antioxidant, requires magnesium for its synthesis.
Structural roles: Magnesium plays a structural role in bone, cell membranes, and chromosomes.
Ion transport across cell membranes: Magnesium is required for the active transport of ions like potassium and calcium across cell membranes. Through its role in ion transport systems, magnesium affects the conduction of nerve impulses, muscle contraction, and the normal rhythm of the heart.
Cell signaling:Cell signaling requires MgATP for the phosphorylation of proteins and the formation of the cell signaling molecule, cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP). Inadequate blood magnesium levels are known to result in low blood calcium levels, resistance to parathyroid hormone (PTH), and resistance to some of the effects of vitamin D
Reviewed by: Robert K. Rude, M.D. - Professor - Deptartment of Medicine - Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California

Magnesium deficiency can cause numerous psychological changes, including depression. The symptoms of magnesium deficiency are nonspecific and include poor attention, memory loss, fear, restlessness, insomnia, tics, cramps and dizziness. Freyre AV, Flichman JC. Spasmophilia caused by magnesium deficit. Psychosomatics 1970;11:500-2.

Magnesium and ADHD is another area of increasing interest. Researchers at the Department of Family Medicine in Szczecin, Poland, studied 116 ADHD children ages 9 to 12 for blood serum levels of magnesium. Remarkably, magnesium deficiency was found in 95 percent of those examined. Kozielec T, Starobrat-Hermelin B. Assessment of magnesium levels in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Magnes Res 1997;10(2):143-8.

Given Mg's myriad roles in human physiology, it is perhaps not surprising that cellular Mg deficiency leads to a wide variety of symptoms: anxiety, fear, restlessness, poor attention, confusion, memory loss, mood changes including depression, lack of co-ordination, appetite loss, weakness, insomnia, muscle tremors, disorientation, learning disability, apathy, fatigue, heart disturbances, problems in nerve conduction and muscle contraction, muscle cramps, and predisposition to stress, to name just a few! Note that many of these symptoms are common to ADHD.) A.R. Gaby (1994) Magnesium New Canaan: Keats, p.13.
60) Garrison & Somer, p.160. R.A. Passwater & E.M. Cranton (1983) Trace Elements, Hair Analysis and Nutrition New Canaan: Keats, p.68.

Dr. Penland showed that low magnesium intakes result in quantifiable increases in brain electrical activity, indicating a role for magnesium in maintenance of normal brain arousal. Nutritional factors have been suggested both as causes and possible treatments of symptoms associated with menstrual distress. Mineral Element Nutrition, Neurophsychological Function and Behavior Research Laboratory.

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