Taking magnesium can help with brain injuries in several ways. Magnesium decreases seizures, relieves cramps, helps nerves and much more. But the studies for giving magnesium to improve a brain injury are mixed at best. There is a causal relationship between low magnesium and some cells in your brain called the hippocampal neurons, and neural degeneration. Magnesium has been shown to help somewhat in the treatment of dementia, seizures and even high blood pressure. Magnesium is critical to preserving neuronal (nerve) function during periods of downtime, when the neuron is not firing. A deficiency of magnesium in the brain (which tends to occur during chronic deprivation of dietary magnesium) makes cells have more activation during periods where they are not intentionally activated. In other words, a deficiency of magnesium is very bad in the face of a brain injury.
There are many reasons why you should consider taking magnesium if you have a brain injury. Forty percent of all people in the USA are said to be magnesium deficient. Magnesium is an essential dietary mineral, and the second most abundant electrolyte in the human body. Magnesium is involved in over 300 reactions in the body, everything from your hormones to your heart beat to your humerus. Energy is a huge deal in brain injury and it happens that magnesium is involved in ATP formation; ATP is your bodies energy currency). For example, ATP must be bound to a magnesium molecule to be biologically active. Glutathione requires magnesium in order to detoxify chemicals, heavy metals, and others. Magnesium is involved in DNA and RNA synthesis. Magnesium profoundly affects blood pressure, yet you almost never hear of health practitioners suggesting magnesium to treat their high blood pressure; blood pressure is often high during a brain injury. Magnesium is necessary for maintaining the cellular membrane electrical potential and initiating protein synthesis.
Magnesium deficiencies are common the western diet because grains are poor sources of magnesium. Other prominent sources of magnesium, like nuts and leafy vegetables, are not eaten as often. It is possible to fix a magnesium deficiency through dietary changes and improving insulin sensitivity. And maintaining good insulin sensitivity or glucose control, is a good thing for brain injury.
The main food sources of magnesium are a plant based diet. Nuts, seeds, and legumes all contain magnesium. However, nuts and seeds contain phytic acid as well as some enzyme inhibitors which interfere with the absorption of magnesium. The reason that plants contain so much magnesium is because they contain chlorophyll, a protein that contains magnesium at its center. This is analogous to hemoglobin and iron. Plants utilize the energy from the sun through chlorophyll and magnesium to convert it into energy. Green leafy vegetables such as spinach and Swiss chard are excellent sources of magnesium. Avocados are also a good source. Juicing your vegetables provides a lot of magnesium. It is said that those who often crave chocolate may have a magnesium inadequacy.
There are many different types of magnesium supplements on the market. A well-known magnesium supplement is magnesium citrate. It has a good bio availability magnesium citrate is often used in preparation for colonoscopies as it pulls water into the lumen (tubes) of the intestine lines, thus dehydrating the body. Magnesium aspartate is an amino acid chelated magnesium. Aspartate is critical for cellular energy production and is thought to have a positive effect on energy depletion depleting processes such as exercise and fatigue. It appears that magnesium helps the most when the other cofactors such as vitamin D are optimized. The intestinal absorption of magnesium varies depending on how much magnesium the body needs. If there is too much magnesium, the body will only absorb as much as it needs. However, excessive doses may cause gastrointestinal distress and diarrhea.
Checking your laboratory levels of magnesium is not a straightforward process either. You need to check a Red Blood Cell (RBC) magnesium to really know your levels of magnesium in the body. A regular serum magnesium will not be low unless you are very sick, basically at the end of life, or you are a severe alcoholic and / or malnourished.
At the end of the day, magnesium given in very high doses above normal probably does not help in brain injuries. But if you have a brain injury and are deficient in magnesium, there would be benefit to at least supplementing with some form of magnesium as well as eating foods high in magnesium. Ideally, you can get sufficient amounts of magnesium and other minerals from food, but research strongly shows that 40% of Americans are deficient in magnesium. It is better to think of magnesium deficiency as an inadequacy. As actual vitamin and mineral deficiencies are quite rare nowadays, which is why we should refer to mineral inadequacies.