Magnesium, the Nootropic Cofactor You’re not getting Right

A crucial Nootropic mineral, a cofactor to fiber and calcium. As a performance enhancer it aids sleep and alleviates symptoms of depression.

Originally published on

Over 300 different chemical reactions in the human body require magnesium. A significant body of studies has correlated low magnesium levels to general depression.

Why supplement magnesium?

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Mitochondria and the Future of Medicine: The Key to Understanding Disease, Chronic Illness, Aging, and Life Itself

From Dr. Lee Know’s recent book:

Magnesium is likely one of the most underrated minerals and most people are just not consuming enough of it . One reason most are deficient in this mineral is that water softeners , while great for making your faucets shiny , has reduced the water’s hardness by removing minerals such as magnesium . Further , high intake of calcium can reduce the absorption of dietary magnesium , and with the conventional medicine focus on calcium intake for bone health , we’ve seen a corresponding general decrease in magnesium levels . Then there’s our rising caffeine intake , which increases the amount of magnesium we lose through urine , and our rising use of antacids and proton pump inhibitors — drugs that can reduce the absorption of magnesium . All these factors contribute to the alarming statistic that 70–80 percent of the developed world population is deficient in magnesium . ( 2569–2575)


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Many Westerners are Magnesium deficient, the biggest negative of this is inflammation. Magnesium deficiencies are more likely in those who abuse alcohol.

Unless you supplement Magnesium regularly you’re probably deficient (especially if you drink a lot of coffee)…

Magnesium L-Threonate

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Order: 500 milligram capsules (from $30)

Personally, given the option I reach for the Mercedes-Benz of Magnesium, Magnesium L-Threonate. It’s more bioavailable and has greater benefits to cognition but it actually first caught my attention for a really silly reason…

About 20 years ago, before all these silly, over commercialized Star Wars and Star Trek movies came out there was an (actually good!) Star Trek movie called Insurrection featuring Captain Picard and the rest of the Next Generation Enterprise cast. In the movie they were in this tense political standoff with these aliens that were using these banned, illegal space weapon called Threonate.

You should watch that movie if you like science fiction and regularly supplement magnesium if you care about your Mitochondria!


A paper, Magnesium and depression: a systematic review, in Nutritional Neuroscience analyzed 29 different studies, looking at the growing incidence of depression world wide. It concluded that there is a statistical significant correlation between low dietary intake of magnesium and depression.

Magnesium seems to be effective in the treatment of depression but data are scarce and incongruous. Disturbance in magnesium metabolism might be related to depression. Oral magnesium supplementation may prevent depression and might be used as an adjunctive therapy.

Problems with Magnesium Metabolism were also correlated to depression. A 2012 Taiwanese study, also showed correlations between depression in Type-2 diabetics and magnesium.

Type 2 diabetes mellitus is a major global public health problem in the worldwide and is increasing in aging populations. Magnesium intake may be one of the most important factors for diabetes prevention and management…


A 2012 Iran study, The effects of magnesium, L-carnitine, and concurrent magnesium-L-carnitine supplementation in migraine prophylaxis, of 133 people suffering from migraines demonstrated that concurrent supplementation of Magnesium and L-Carnitine had a significant positive effect on migraines.

In this clinical trial, 133 migrainous patients were randomly assigned into three intervention groups… it was clarified that magnesium supplementation had a significant effect on all migraine indicators. Oral supplementation with magnesium oxide and L-carnitine and concurrent supplementation of Mg-L-carnitine besides routine treatments could be effective in migraine prophylaxis…

Vs Vasoconstriction

For the smooth muscles that surround the blood vessels , a magnesium deficiency means that they remain tenser than they should , a condition called vasoconstriction . Vasoconstriction can further aggravate any health condition because it restricts blood flow to a tissue and its cells . With less blood flow , there is less oxygen delivery . With less oxygen , oxidative phosphorylation in the mitochondria can’t operate at top speed . Similarly , a deficiency of magnesium doesn’t allow the heart to fully relax between contractions (2585–2591)


Magnesium also promotes quality REM sleep, there are over 100 papers on Pubmed discussing Magnesium and sleep.

Do painful leg cramps ever wake you up in the middle of the night? A 2019 Swiss study of 129 patients found that it was associated with fewer cramps per day. Although a 2017 Israeli clinical trial concluded that oral supplementation while helpful to those suffering from leg cramps doesn’t outperform a placebo, perhaps Magnesium Oil Spray that you apply directly to your skin is a better option.

Mechanism of Action

NMDA Receptors in the membranes of our brains also rely heavily on the presence of magnesium. These receptors are a site where anesthetics and recreational drugs affect our brains, so this would suggest that magnesium supplementation is an even better idea for those who use recreational drugs.

Magnesium is an essential cofactor of the processes our individual cells use to generate energy. Therefore, low magnesium levels can be significant potential contributor to chronic fatigue.

Magnesium ions are also necessary for the activity of the Ca — Mg — ATPase ; they bind to the catalytic site of this enzyme to mediate the reaction . Without magnesium , this enzyme cannot function and relaxation of the smooth muscle cannot occur ( which can lead to things like high blood pressure , heart problems , or restricted breathing ) . For those who might have heard magnesium is great for muscle function and relaxation but didn’t know how or why , now you know (1266–1270)


Magnesium is used for treating Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), anxiety, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Migraines.

Athletic Performance

Athletes use it to boost energy and promote endurance as quantified in the study, Improving performance? Dietary supplementation practice in ultramarathon runners.

Over two-thirds of runners said they consumed sports drinks and electrolytes, and over half used carbohydrate drinks and vitamin preparations followed by herbal supplements, minerals, magnesium…

A Swedish study demonstrated that Magnesium can regulate high blood pressure that is common towards the ends of pregnancies, Magnesium supplementation prevents high blood pressure during pregnancy.

Magnesium supplementation prevented an increase in diastolic blood pressure during the last weeks of pregnancy. The relation between diastolic blood pressure and urinary excretion of magnesium suggests that magnesium is involved in the regulation of blood pressure and that the increase in diastolic blood pressure in pregnancy could be due to a lack of magnesium.

Magnesium also has a lot to do with bone health, low magnesium in those over 50 leads to a significant amount of bone loss.


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Order: Natural Stacks MagTech™ Magnesium Complex

Magnesium supplements start at around $7/monthly, but often you get what you pay for not all Magnesium is created equal. I’m a big fan of MagTech™ Magnesium Complex, from…

MagTech™ is the highest quality magnesium complex on the planet featuring three types of magnesium known to have the highest absorption rates, each with unique biological effects: L-Threonate, Taurate, and Glycinate.

Research suggests that the magnesium-l-threonate in MagTech™ is the only form of magnesium proven to cross the blood-brain barrier and:

Increase synapse density†

Support healthy cognitive aging†

Support healthy learning and memory†

Promote relaxation and support quality sleep†

100% chelated and optimized with nutritionally functional amino acids, MagTech™ is the best magnesium complex on the market.

Doctor’s Best High Absorption Magnesium is the top rated Magnesium supplement on Amazon.

Food Sources

Top dietary sources include:

  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Legumes
  • Broccoli
  • Seeds
  • Nuts
  • Chocolate
  • And of course coffee

Interestingly some bottled water can be a great source of magnesium, high mineral content water, like San Pellegrino.


Magnesium supplementation is a good idea for those who are taking Racetam Nootropics to balance out the sometimes over stimulating effects of Racetams.

Mitochondrial Nootropic

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Head Strong: The Bulletproof Plan to Activate Untapped Brain Energy to Work Smarter and Think Faster-in Just Two Weeks

Head Strong by Dave Asprey makes the case that optimizing your Mitochondria is the ultimate performance enhancing Biohack because your Mitochondria are the fundamental energy generation mechanism that underlie everything else. From the book:

In short, the more magnesium you have during the day, the more ATP, energy, and efficient sleep you have! 7 I’ve started taking my magnesium in the morning with my coffee, followed by a little more at night for sleep. (p. 261)


  • Men 400–420 Milligrams Daily
  • Women 310–360 Milligrams Daily

Morning is the recommended time for taking supplements.

Side Effects

Large doses may build up in the body which can could cause things like irregular heartbeat and low blood pressure. People with heart block and kidney problems should avoid magnesium.

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Originally published on

Adventuring philosopher, Pompous pontificator, Writer, K-Selected Biohacker, Tantric husband, Raconteur & Smart Drug Dealer 🇺🇸

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