RELEVATE Nutrients

Magnesium Bisglycinate Chelate

Key Food Groups: Nuts/Seeds, Dark Leafy Greens, Beans/Legumes

Magnesium: Role in Brain Health

Countless biochemical pathways in the brain depend on magnesium for their regulation. A demonstration of this is magnesium’s direct regulation of the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor, which plays an important role in learning, memory formation, and stabilization of mood.1,2 Too much activation of the NMDA receptor can be toxic (known as excitotoxicity), however, so magnesium plays a role in neutralizing this by blocking the NMDA receptor.3 If magnesium is depleted and the NMDA receptor is overstimulated, the resulting excitotoxicity leads to production of reactive oxygen species and nitric oxide radicals that cause neuronal inflammation, which can ultimately lead to cell death.1,2 Magnesium can also indirectly mitigate inflammation by blocking inflammatory promoters, but amidst a deficiency, neuroinflammation ensues, which damages neurons and increases the risk of dementia.2

Intake Deficiency and Relevance

Up to 50% of Americans consume less than the estimated average requirement of magnesium, and closer to 80% of the elderly are deficient.4 Low serum and brain magnesium levels have been demonstrated in patients with Alzheimer’s Disease. Some researchers have suggested a relationship between magnesium supplementation and decreased hyper-activation (called hyperphosphorylation) of tau, one of the neurotoxic proteins in Alzheimer’s disease that create the “tangles” of hallmark “protein plaques and tangles.” This refers to the clumps of toxic substances that chronically accumulate in Alzheimer’s brains.5

A chronic low magnesium diet may lead to neuromuscular and psychiatric symptoms, including impaired coordination, tremors, irritability, and depression,1 and eventually may lead into neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease.6 This makes adequate intake to normalize your magnesium levels so important for protecting cognitive function.

RELEVATE’s Form of Magnesium

The glycinate form of magnesium (magnesium bisglycinate chelate) used in RELEVATE is designed for high bioavailability, which can compensate for reduced absorption seen in older adults. Reduced absorption can also be influenced by use of multiple medications and chronic conditions, also common amongst the elderly.7 Regarding glycine, it is a ubiquitous and naturally found amino acid in the body, and it has the added benefit of being able to cross the blood-brain barrier and is itself an inhibitor of the NMDA receptor.8 Magnesium bisglycinate chelate also minimizes laxative effects and decreases the risk of dehydration and abdominal discomfort, compared to forms of supplemental magnesium like magnesium carbonate, chloride, gluconate, and oxide.9

The dose of magnesium bisglycinate chelate selected for RELEVATE is based on the evidence that suggests there is a “happy medium” of intermediate dosing – not too little and not too much – that is associated with beneficial brain health outcomes, such as incidence of dementia and Parkinson’s disease.6,10 This reinforces the concept that more is not always better, as well as our philosophy for RELEVATE to use diet-informed doses, rather than mega-doses.

Concluding Thoughts to Consider

While the exact biochemical effects of magnesium on the brain may not be fully understood yet, studies do suggest a significant correlation between magnesium and a decrease in neurocognitive degeneration.1,2,6 The linkage to the brain is further supported by clinical studies directed towards mood stabilization and depression, which show positive outcomes on patients with depression given magnesium supplementation.3 More studies investigating Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease would of course provide further support. Considering these factors, as well as considering the deep intake inadequacy at the population level, magnesium could provide a significant beneficial effect on brain health as a supplemented nutrient.


Cited Research

  1. Serefko, A. et al. Magnesium in depression. Pharmacol. Reports 65, 547–554 (2013).
  2. Kieboom, B. C. T. et al. Serum magnesium is associated with the risk of dementia. Neurology 89, 1716 LP – 1722 (2017).
  3. Eby, G. A. & Eby, K. L. Rapid recovery from major depression using magnesium treatment. Med. Hypotheses 67, 362–370 (2006).
  4. Rosanoff, A., Weaver, C. M. & Rude, R. K. Suboptimal magnesium status in the United States: Are the health consequences underestimated? Nutr. Rev. (2012). doi:10.1111/j.1753-4887.2011.00465.x
  5. Xu, Z. P. et al. Magnesium protects cognitive functions and synaptic plasticity in streptozotocin-induced sporadic Alzheimer’s model. PLoS One (2014). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0108645
  6. Miyake, Y. et al. Dietary intake of metals and risk of Parkinson’s disease: A case-control study in Japan. in Journal of the Neurological Sciences 306, 98–102 (2011).
  7. Barbagallo, M. & Dominguez, L. J. Magnesium and aging. Curr. Pharm. Des. 16, 832–9 (2010).
  8. Razak, M. A., Begum, P. S., Viswanath, B. & Rajagopal, S. Multifarious Beneficial Effect of Nonessential Amino Acid, Glycine: A Review. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity (2017). doi:10.1155/2017/1716701
  9. NIH Office of Dietary Supplements. Magnesium — Health Professional Fact Sheet. National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements (2018). Available at:
  10. Ozawa, M. et al. Self-reported dietary intake of potassium, calcium, and magnesium and risk of dementia in the Japanese: The hisayama study. J. Am. Geriatr. Soc. 60, 1515–1520 (2012).