A new study showed that people who ate a diet rich in magnesium showed less brain shrinkage than those who didn't. So it isn't surprising that a high magnesium diet is associated with a lower risk of developing dementia.
Add these to the list of studies that show a diet with folic acid, vitamin D, and B vitamins is also likely associated with dramatically better long-term brain health. (BTW, an excellent and easy way to get all those nutrients is by taking two tablets a day of the multivitamin Clinical Essentials™.)
Food Processing Is Robbing Us of Magnesium
A healthy unprocessed diet normally provides about 600 mg of magnesium a day. After food processing, however, the usual American diet drops to about 275 mg. That's more than 50 percent loss. The Australian diet is a little better, with 350 mg. Where is the magnesium going? About 18% of calories from processed food comes from added sugar and another 18% from white flour. Both of these have little nutritional value other than calories, with most of the magnesium and other vitamins and minerals being lost through processing.
A high magnesium diet typically results from eating healthier unprocessed foods including lots of nuts and vegetables. Seeds, nuts, and beans such as almonds and Lima beans, avocados, and even fish such as tuna, are good examples of high magnesium foods. Spinach is also a good source of magnesium (although other components within spinach can hinder it from being fully absorbed by your body).
So, a high magnesium healthy diet is one high in vegetables and low in sugar and white flour. And it doesn't only decrease your risk of dementia, it's also associated with lower risk of diabetes and hypertension.
Magnesium Deficiency a Serious Problem
Magnesium deficiency is likely the most significant nutritional deficiency of modern life. Magnesium is critical for over 300 reactions in the body. It is essential for energy production and is also associated with a lower risk of diabetes and vascular disease. These are two major causes of dementia, with diabetes doubling the risk. Low magnesium itself is associated with a 30% higher risk of dementia.
Magnesium Deficiency and Chronic Pain
Over half the cases of chronic pain are associated with muscle pain from muscle shortening, which is dramatically worsened by low magnesium. Chronic pain in five or more locations in your body is associated with eight years of excess brain aging! Magnesium deficiency itself was associated with one year of excess brain aging.
20 to 35% of adult Americans have chronic pain, while also probably not getting adequate magnesium in their diet — a combination that would seem to be a major contributor to premature dementia.
The increased risk of dementia from chronic pain is likely very preventable. To learn how, read my book From Fatigued to Fantastic. It will guide you on numerous ways to help your body eliminate discomfort. An easy place to begin is with the Clinical Essentials™ I mentioned earlier along with Curamin® (1-2 caps three times a day). Ask your holistic doctor about low-dose naltrexone and consider getting a prescription for it from a compounding pharmacy (also discussed in my book). Give these 6 weeks to start working (8 to 10 weeks for the low-dose naltrexone).
Low Vitamin D and Dementia
Recent research is showing that low levels of vitamin D is associated with a marked increase in dementia risk, as is low folic acid and B vitamins. A simple high-quality multivitamin high in magnesium, B vitamins, folate and vitamin D (such as Clinical Essentials, two tablets daily) supplies all of these at optimal levels. Unfortunately, most multivitamins do not.
So much of the illness I encounter as a physician is preventable with simple low-cost measures. But given our modern healthcare system, it is very difficult for physicians to get educated about the research on anything that isn't absurdly expensive. You can be sure that most physicians will not be familiar with the study I discussed in this article. But you don't have to wait until they are — you can Get Well NOW! :-)
Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D. is one of the world's leading integrative medical authorities on fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. He is the lead author of eight research studies on their effective treatments, and has published numerous health & wellness books, including the bestseller on fibromyalgia From Fatigued to Fantastic! and The Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Solution. Dr. Teitelbaum is one of the most frequently quoted fibromyalgia experts in the world and appears often as a guest on news and talk shows nationwide including Good Morning America, The Dr. Oz Show, Oprah & Friends, CNN, and Fox News Health.