reduction in behavioural pattern separation is attenuated by dietary
supplementation with a magnesium-rich marine mineral blend in middle-aged rats
Crowley, S Grabrucker, CM Long-Smith, A Stack, DM O’Gorman & Y Nolan
Journal of Medicinal Foods (2021) 1-6
Background: Middle-age is a
critical period where cognitive decline can be targeted with lifestyle
interventions such as diet and exercise. Research shows that dietary factors
play a crucial role in brain health and cognitive function and may help protect
against cognitive impairment. A reduction in pattern separation ability is
frequently observed in healthy older individuals, where similar but not
identical experiences are distinguished from one another. This is a feature of
age-associated, mild-cognitive impairment and often presents during middle-age.
In the absence of effective treatments, novel dietary approaches to lessen
age-related cognitive impairment are essential.
Aim: Magnesium has
been shown to enhance learning and memory, and reverse cognitive impairment.
Magnesium deficiency is associated with impaired memory formation. This study
was designed to evaluate if supplementation with a magnesium-rich marine
mineral blend (MMB, a 50:50 mix of Aquamin F: Aquamin Mg) could influence
age-related cognitive impairment in middle-aged rats.
Details: Young (12 week) and middle-aged (16-month) rats were maintained for 4
weeks on either a control diet or MMB supplementation before undergoing a
series of behavioural assessments.
MMB supplementation had no overall effects on body
weight, food intake or general locomotor activity. The figure on the bottom
left shows how much less middle-aged animals move as compared to younger
animals. This figure also indicates how movement in the arenas was
Supplementation did not affect performance in behavioural
tasks that assessed working memory and recognition memory such as the Y-maze,
and open field experiments.
Pattern separation is a key component of episodic memory
e.g. parking your car in a shopping centre car park. A similar but not the same
spot each time.
In this study, middle-aged animals demonstrated a
significant impairment in pattern separation, compared to young animals. This
impairment was reversed with 4 weeks of MMB supplementation.
with MMB significantly reduced the age-associated deterioration in pattern
separation task by middle-aged animals. This is of interest as an improvement
in this type of cognition requires a unique brain plasticity or flexibility and
neurogenesis (the new growth of neurons).