Magnesium has somewhat of a Goldilocks complex when it comes to dementia, with levels that are either too high or too low affecting our risk of the degenerative disease, researchers from the Netherlands have discovered.
The team from Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands measured serum magnesium levels in 9,569 participants aged 64.9 years, on average.
None of the participants had dementia at the beginning of the study, which ran for eight years on average for each patient.
The research team found patients who’s magnesium levels sat in the sweet spot between 0.79 millimoles per litre and 0.90 millimoles per litre were less likely to develop dementia.
Those outside of that range had an increased risk.
“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,” the study’s lead author Dr Brenda Kieboom told Medical News Today.
“If people could reduce their risk for dementia through diet or supplements, that could be very beneficial.”
She said the study’s results needed to be confirmed with further research, but that they were an intriguing start.
If the results are backed up by further research, magnesium blood tests could be used to screen those at risk in future.
There are more than 410,000 people in Australia living with dementia and over 5 million in America. Worldwide cases are estimated at 47 million.
It is projected to be one of the biggest health issues facing society over the next 25 years, with little clinical treatment available to reduce symptoms.
Magnesium is crucial to the body’s function and helps keep blood pressure normal, bones strong, and the heart rhythm steady.
Magnesium-rich foods include spinach, pumpkin seeds, yoghurt and black beans.