Nurturing the Brain with Magnesium

At THIOGUARD®, we are concerned with all things magnesium, so when we run across an article like this one on Brain Blogger, we want to share it. It is about the health benefits of magnesium on the brain. We hope you enjoy the article.

Magnesium is everywhere – it does not occur free in nature, only in combination with other elements, but it is the eighth most abundant chemical element in the Earth’s crust and the third most abundant element in seawater; it is even the ninth most abundant in the Milky Way. In the human body, magnesium is the fourth most abundant ion and the eleventh most abundant element by mass, being stored in bones, muscles, and soft tissues.

Magnesium is fundamental for health: it is essential to all cells and to the function of hundreds of enzymes, including enzymes that synthesize DNA and RNA, and enzymes involved in cellular energy metabolism, many of which are vital. Magnesium is involved in virtually every major metabolic and biochemical process in our cells and it plays a critical role in the physiology of basically every single organ.

Low plasma levels of magnesium are common and are mostly due to poor dietary intake, which has lowered significantly in the last decades. Magnesium can be found in high quantities in foods containing dietary fiber, including green leafy vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. But although magnesium is widely distributed in vegetable and animal foods, some types of food processing can lower magnesium content up to 90%. Also, the soil used for conventional agriculture is becoming increasingly deprived of essential minerals. In the last 60 years, the magnesium content in fruit and vegetables has decreased by around 20 to 30%.

Symptomatic magnesium deficiency due to low dietary intake in healthy people is not very frequent, but a consistently poor dietary supply of magnesium has insidious effects. Magnesium deficiency alters biochemical pathways and increases the risk of a wide range of diseases over time, namely hypertension and cardiovascular diseases, metabolic diseases, osteoporosis, and migraine headaches, for example.

In the brain, magnesium is an important regulator of neurotransmitter signaling, particularly glutamate and GABA, the main neurotransmitters by modulating the activation of NMDA glutamate receptors and GABAA receptors. It also contributes to the maintenance of adequate calcium levels in the cell through the regulation of calcium channels’ activity.

These physiological roles make magnesium an essential element in important neuronal processes. Magnesium participates in the mechanisms of synaptic transmission, neuronal plasticity, and consequently, learning and memory. Accordingly, increased levels of magnesium in the brain have been shown to promote multiple mechanisms of synaptic plasticity that enhance different forms of learning and memory, and delay age-related cognitive decline. Increased levels of magnesium in the brain have also been linked to an increased proliferation of neural stem cells, indicating that it may promote the generation of new neurons (neurogenesis) in adulthood. This is an important feature because neurogenesis is a key mechanism in the brain’s structural and functional adaptability, in cognitive flexibility, and in mood regulation.

Magnesium supplementation has also been shown to modulate the neuroendocrine system and to improve sleep quality by promoting slow wave (deep) sleep, which, among many other functions, is also important for cognition and memory consolidation.

Furthermore, magnesium may enhance the beneficial effects of exercise in the brain, since it has been shown to increase the availability of glucose in the blood, muscle, and brain, and diminish the accumulation of lactate in the blood and muscles during exercise.

But just as increasing magnesium levels can be beneficial, magnesium deficiency can have serious harmful effects.

Magnesium has important roles in the regulation of oxidative stress, inflammatory processes and modulation of brain blood flow. In circumstances of magnesium deficiency, all of these functions can potentially be dysregulated, laying ground for neurological disorders. Also, in a context of low magnesium availability in the brain, NMDA glutamate receptors, which are excitatory, may become excessively activated, and GABAA receptors, which are inhibitory, may become insufficiently activated; this can lead to neuronal hyperactivity and to a condition known as glutamate excitotoxicity. This causes an excessive accumulation of calcium in neurons, which in turn leads to the production of toxic reactive oxygen species and, ultimately, to neuronal cell death.

Magnesium deficiency has been associated with several neurological and psychiatric diseases, including migraine, epilepsy, depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, stress, and neurodegenerative diseases. Magnesium supplementation has shown beneficial effects on many of these conditions, as well as in post-stroke, post-traumatic brain injury, and post-spinal cord injury therapies. This therapeutic action is likely due to its action in blocking NMDA glutamate receptors and decreasing excitotoxicity, in reducing oxidative stress and inflammation, and in increasing blood flow to the brain, all of which are determinant in the outcome of these conditions.

There are multiple benefits to be obtained from magnesium, both from a health promotion, and from a disease prevention and management perspective. The recommended daily intake of magnesium is of 320mg for females and 420mg for males. Too much magnesium from food sources has no associated health risks in healthy individuals because the kidneys readily eliminate the excess. However, there is a recommended upper intake level for supplemental magnesium, since it can cause gastrointestinal side effects. So, keep it below 350mg/day.


Caustic Soda = Volatile Price & Volatile Chemistry.


Caustic Soda is a HIGHLY CORROSIVE CHEMICAL listed on the Special Health Hazard Substance List. Caustic Soda on contact can burn the skin and the eyes and can cause permanent lung damage through inhalation. Caustic soda in contact with water can create enough heat to ignite combustibles and the resulting fire will produce poisonous gases. THIOGUARD® and THIOGUARD® ΩMEGA-S technical grade magnesium hydroxide is an effective, non-hazardous alternative to Caustic Soda. By converting to THIOGUARD®, wastewater utilities are able to eliminate hundreds of hazardous bulk tanker truck deliveries, thereby reducing insurance costs.

In addition, Caustic Soda freezes at a temperature of 52 degrees, rendering it useless for water treatment purposes, and creating additional hazards by creating increased pressure at valves with the potential unexpected eruptions or spills. When it comes to safety, Thioguard and Thioguard Omega-S technical grade magnesium hydroxide is clearly superior.

  • Caustic Soda (Sodium Hydroxide) is hazardous to use, detrimental to personnel safety and biological processes
  • Sodium addition to wastewater upsets flocculation, settling, clarification and dewatering processes, driving up needs for polymer or metal salt use.


Caustic Soda is pricing is subject to a variety of pressures, from basic supply and demand issues to market manipulation – even international trade can cause price fluctuations. THIOGUARD® technical grade magnesium hydroxide offers greater “price reliability,” and delivers a safe and effective alternative to Caustic Soda.

  • Budget Uncertainty
  • Challenging Contract Management when driven to force majeure re-pricing

THIOGUARD® is a better, safe alternative to Caustic Soda.
For more information call 1.800.227.4287 or email



THIOGUARD® OMEGA-S: Nutrient Management

The chemical components of struvite (magnesium, ammonia, phosphorous) exist in every wastewater system. They are specifically found at more highly concentrated levels in biological processes, such as anaerobic digestion… yet struvite scale is not prolific at every plant. This is irrespective of their use of magnesium hydroxide. For several years, Premier has had many customers using THIOGUARD® experiencing no negative impacts from struvite.

Why? Magnesium, an ingredient in THIOGUARD®, is rarely the causative factor for struvite formation. The real explanation is the concentration ratio of the three components mentioned above, COUPLED with mechanical, hydraulic, or chemical inputs facilitating localized aqueous pH spikes, promoting high omega factors, and thus struvite formation (i.e. pump volute or mixer, turbulent elbow, excess caustic or soda ash addition).

THIOGUARD® ΩMEGA-S is an easy turnkey patent pending process. The THIOGUARD® ΩMEGA-S program is a small fraction of the cost of other aggressive methods. A few milligrams of Omega-S combined with THIOGUARD® treatment will insure that struvite will not form under any of the many circumstances that can cause the problem.

For more information call 1.800.227.4287 or email

There’s no magic bullet for fitness, but magnesium comes close

My oldest son’s basketball tryouts are looming this week. He cares deeply about making the team and asked me what he should do to prepare. I suggested he sleep and eat well before the tryouts, which may not have been the novel or life-changing answer he was seeking. I gather he was hoping for a magic bullet, something that would make his muscles strong and flexible, deliver him energy, render him well rested, and keep stress at bay.

Now that I think of it, buddy, there just may be a magic mineral that does all of these things. Magnesium helps with energy, muscle strength, flexibility, sleep and stress management — everything you need.

Basketball tryouts are no joke. They involve hours of running, pivoting, head-to-toe muscle use and quick reflexes. Magnesium contributes to flexibility and helps to prevent injury by loosening tight muscles. Without enough magnesium, muscles can’t properly relax, possibly causing cramps. Low magnesium can create a buildup of lactic acid, known to cause post-workout pain and tightness. Also, much of the body’s energy comes from ATP, a molecule that captures chemical energy from food and uses it to fuel other processes in the body. ATP production depends on magnesium.

Magnesium obviously won’t build my son’s arm muscles in time for tryouts, but it does help the body produce more insulin-like growth factor, an essential part of long-term muscle growth and strength.

Magnesium helps to balance and control stress hormones. Specifically, magnesium is essential for the production of serotonin, which is responsible for relaxing the nervous system and lifting moods. Serotonin also contributes to healthy sleep. A lack of magnesium upends sleep not only because of its role in serotonin production but also because it topples the sleep regulating hormone melatonin.

Magnesium is one of the essential electrolytes needed for efficient hydration. Sorry to disappoint you kids that were hoping I’d recommend a Gatorade for your tryouts; instead, you need to eat real magnesium and potassium-rich foods, and drink lots of water. A few magnesium stars include leafy green vegetables, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, almonds, cashews, pecans, walnuts, brown rice, avocado, beans, raw cacao, edamame and seaweed.

A winning smile won’t command my son a spot on the basketball team, but perhaps it will reveal him as a positive, eager player. Low magnesium leaves saliva with excess calcium and phosphorous, which can damage teeth and harm that winning smile.

Magnesium also builds strong bones, maintains heart health, helps to prevent diabetes by regulating blood sugar, prevents inflammation and strokes, boosts immunity, preserves a proper pH balance in the body, and relieves constipation. Phew. Magnesium might really be that magic bullet as it performs an essential role in every almost bodily function.

In fact, in the emergency room, magnesium is considered a critical medication for emergency heart, asthma, pregnancy preeclampsia and other life-threatening conditions because it has a relaxing effect and is found in every tissue.

Modern life conspires to steal our magnesium. Caffeine, phosphoric acid in soda, too much salt, extreme sweating, alcohol, prolonged stress, antibiotics and other medications drain our bodies of the much-needed mineral.

So how can a teenage boy, trying out for a basketball team, or not, obtain the recommended daily intake of 410 mg of magnesium? He can eat meals such as oatmeal for breakfast; a brown rice, black bean and avocado burrito for lunch; a banana with almond butter as a snack; and roasted chicken, sesame noodles and a spinach salad for dinner. One of the most relaxing ways to absorb magnesium is to take a bath with magnesium or Epsom salts. Our skin is our largest organ for ingestion into the blood system so magnesium baths can both relax us and contribute to our magnesium intake.

Ensuring my son has healthy levels of this mineral is not going to secure his spot on the eighth-grade basketball team, but it will help him sleep well, boost his mood and lower his stress; make it less likely that his muscles cramp; and more likely that he is flexible and energetic. These are good outcomes any week of the year.

Earth Friendly Alternative for Odor and Corrosion Prevention


  • Low Solubility – 0.0009 g/100ml, H2O solubility and high surface area of 1 acre per gallon provides long distance collection system treatment to and throughout the wastewater treatment plant
  • SRB Inhibition – reduces the ability of sulfate reducing bacteria (SRB) to convert sulfates to hydrogen sulfide gas
  • Magnesium Polysulfide Complexation – promotes irreversible complexation between magnesium cation and sulfides by absorbing dissolved sulfides onto the solid magnesium hydroxide particle
  • Henry’s Law – Gas/Liquid Phase Equilibrium – resulting increase in pH keeps the dissolved hydrogen sulfide gas in solution


  • pH and Alkalinity Supplementation – without adversely electing pH beyond biologically healthy limits creating a more stable environment for bioremediation of BOD, nitrogen and phosphorus
  • 1 mg/L ammonia-N requires 5.50 mg/L NaOH caustic soda or 4.16 mg/L Mg(OH)2 for elective nitrification
  • With the addition of a slowly dissolving low solubility (0.009 g/100ml) H2O particle, THIOGUARD®‘s use in aerobic and anaerobic biological digestors provides a steady reactor pH conducive for maximizing bacterial development.
  • Negatively charged microbial flora are bridged by the divalent positive charge of magnesium hydroxide forming a large floc that settles readily.
  • Biosolids Chemistry Enhancement for Land Application:
    Available magnesium in soil occupies the central position of the chlorophyll molecule/green pigment to utilize solar energy for the production of organic matter. Therefore, an adequate magnesium supply to plants may markedly increase photosynthetic activity of leaves. Also, magnesium is essential to energy (vitamin) transfer within plants.
  • Increasing filter cake solids by 20-40% percent due to divalent cation bridging improvements in floc formation and thereby significantly reducing polymer demands

Ask me how the NEW Thioguard Omega-S program
can help you take advantage of THIOGUARD®
addressing struvite and nutrient management needs!
Call 1-800-227-4287 today for details.

Filtered Alkalinity Testing May Provide the Answer you Need to Dramatically Improve Plant Performance

Is it worth switching to Filtered Alkalinity Testing instead of standard, Non-Filtered Alkalinity testing methods? It’s certainly worth careful consideration, and here’s why:

  • Filtered Alkalinity Testing is likely to provide results that are more representative of your aqueous system’s true buffering capacity, when compared with Non-Filtered testing.
  • Unfiltered testing, when using lime or caustic, may cause plant operators to errantly believe there is sufficient soluble alkalinity, or true pH buffering capacity, in their aqueous system. This is because the standard unfiltered testing will “count” the insoluble particulate created by the use of caustic or lime in the test results.
  • Inaccurate information from unfiltered tests can lead plant operators to add insufficient lime or caustic initially, only to require the addition of more product to accomplish the desired result. This is inefficient, creates larger amounts of sludge, and can increase operation and transportation costs.

When you add Lime or Caustic to your basins, it’s likely you are creating detrimental “Hot Zones” which have the double negative effect of:

Standard non-filtered testing methods do not accurately reflect actual buffering capacity. An operational pH of 4.0, simply doesn’t exist in any real life situation at a typical treatment plant. Plants are frequently operating at a pH of 6.5 – 7.5. Adjusting the “final testing pH” to a more realistic 6.0 when measuring alkalinity, may allow plant operators to get a better idea of buffering capacity, but it is still a questionable approximation.

When you are accurately assessing your system’s true buffering capacity, through Filtered Alkalinity testing, you may discover it makes a great deal of sense to consider your options. Consider THIOGUARD®.

When you use THIOGUARD® as an additive in your wastewater treatment plant, you will maintain a narrower operational pH range, with higher buffering capacity – even over extended periods of time and variable influent conditions. Technical grade magnesium hydroxide delivers double the Alkalinity per Gallon when compared to Caustic Soda, and triple the Alkalinity per Gallon when compared to Lime Slurry, resulting in greater operational efficiency.

Call today today and let’s talk about how Filtered Alkalinity Testing and THIOGUARD® can improve YOUR plant’s performance.


Understanding the Hidden Costs of Iron Use

Many areas of the United States still use ferric or ferrous chloride for H2S control. Whether you are using ferric or ferrous, choride or sulfate, the usual discussion of sulfide removal emphasizes only the iron chemistry and glosses over other reaction products resulting from the chloride and sulfate that is released, when the iron combines with sulfur to form iron sulfide, a black precipitate.

What happens when iron sulfate is used for odor control in wastewater?

The first step in the reaction produces iron sulfide as a precipitate and sulfuric acid. The use of ferrous choride is just as problematic, producing hydrochloric acid and creating significant challenges downstream for water re-use.

f this were all that happens in wastewater, iron would be fed at a stoichiometric rate of 4.5 lbs. of ferrous sulfate to remove 1 pound of H2S.

However, in real world applications, 2 to 3 times that amount is necessary for sulfide reduction, because there are competing reactions in wastewater that will consume iron. Phosphorus, chlorides, sulfates, hydroxide, carbonate, oxygen and other common compounds compete for the iron – especially in wastewaters high in saltwater infiltration.

The next question to ask is this… what is likely to happen to the H2SO4 that is produced as a reaction product.

First, it is highly corrosive and works to lower the pH in the wastewater attacking both concrete or iron infrastructure. Second, sulfuric acid rapidly dissociates and will allow SO4 to be used as an oxygen source by the same Sulfate Reducing Bacteria (SRB) that produced the problematic H2S in the first place, ultimately producing even more H2S.

In practice, iron sulfate could produce as much sulfide as it removes stoichiometricly, which then must be removed with additional iron. Furthermore, the lowered wastewater pH will cause more H2S to be released as gas, in accordance with both the Law of Equilibrium acid-base chemistry and Henry’s Law of partial pressure.

THIOGUARD® as a Total System Treatment (TST)

In contrast THIOGUARD® technical grade magnesium hydroxide does not lower the pH of the wastewater, produces no reaction products that can lead to additional sulfide production, and produces no sludge to settle out in the system or to be dewatered at the WWTP.

The chemical reaction is as follows:

The Magnesium binds the sulfide in a similar manner to iron and it will not be released unless the pH drops to 5.5, which does not occur under normal wastewater conditions.  More importantly, THIOGUARD® is preventative and controls the formation of sulfide by maintaining, or possibly increasing pH and retarding Sulfate Reducing Bacteria activity.

Thioguard® is Superior to Lime Slurry & Caustic Soda



On the surface, it’s easy to do the theoretical calculations and provide exact alkaline equivalents. However, field and trial experience tells us something different. The amount of high grade Thioguard® – magnesium hydroxide required to achieve equivalent buffering/performance benefits in the biological reactors tends to be much lower than the calculations would suggest. Why?

Often overlooked are some of the side impacts of lime use, such as softening and pH spikes, and confusion about what standard total alkalinity tests are telling us. An easy way to find out the extent of softening that is taking place in your facility, is to filter your sample with a 0.45 micron filter before titration. This will remove the insoluble CaCO3 particles that are not “biologically available.” Another significant, yet overlooked impact is the EPA documented sludge production typically associated with lime.

EPA – wastewater technology fact sheet – chemical precipitation: “the addition of treatment chemicals, especially lime, may increase volume of waste sludge up to 50%.”


Lime is commonly used in potable water to “soften,” or remove hardness minerals, such as calcium and magnesium from drinking water, in an effort to minimize the effects of potential scaling in the water distribution system. However, in the softening process, calcium and magnesium are removed from water in the form of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) and magnesium carbonate (MgCO3) which are also forms of alkalinity. Removing hardness from water also removes alkalinity.

In wastewater, lime is often considered as an alkalinity supplement. However, the effects of lime softening can have undesirable consequences to the biological system, e.g., removal of alkalinity, creation of CaCO3 sludge, and the potential for bio-upsetting pH spikes.

The simple fact: Thioguard® and lime slurry have different physical and chemical properties that affect how each responds to and reacts with the systems to which they are added. And because of these differences in properties, the impacts they impart and the utility for their use are starkly different.


  • Because of the high solubility of both caustic soda and lime, pH often becomes
    biologically prohibitive before ideal alkalinity levels and process stability can
    be reached.
  • The use of lime in, or prior to, primary treatment can actually reduce alkalinity going into the secondary treatment processes by precipitating CaCO3 in the primary clarifiers
  • Lime produces calcium carbonate in wastewater which acts as a coagulant for hardness and particulate matter.
  • Lime is an effective phosphate removal agent, but results in a large sludge volume and the addition of treatment chemicals, especially lime, may increase the volume of waste sludge up to 50 percent.

Hydrated Lime added in collection systems increases O&M costs
related to formation of scale and accumulated solids/sludge.
In severe cases this leads to line blockages and SSO’s

The use of lime generates significant amounts of sludge in wastewater collection systems and treatment plants. On a chemical basis, one ton of lime can generate as much as 5 tons of 20% sludge cake to remove or dispose. In contrast, Thioguard® reactions in wastewater produce only water and water-soluble products as TDS with NO added sludge. In fact, customers using Thioguard® have reported reductions of 15%-25% in total solids/sludge produced, due to a combination of improved biological performance, divalent cation bridging of floc matrix, and reduced inorganic solids loading.

Most wastewater treatment plant operators understand that their wastewater treatment plants function best at some ideal pH and that a minimum amount of alkalinity is required to keep microorganisms happy. But too often, the values of pH and alkalinity are incorrectly used interchangeably, and a thorough understanding of each parameter’s true relationship to biological stability and optimal performance – gets lost in the translation.

Most often this error in terminology stems from the use of the most common alkaline pH modifiers and alkalinity supplements, caustic soda and lime, where their use may successfully meet pH demands, but will likely fall short in supplying adequate alkalinity requirements without adversely elevating pH beyond biologically healthy limits. And often, maintaining pH stability and uniformity across entire treatment basins remains a virtual impossibility.

Compared to caustic soda or lime, Thioguard® is capable of supplying significantly more alkalinity in a bio-available form to a microbial wastewater system without adversely affecting pH. This creates a more suitable environment for bioremediation of BOD and nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus. Moreover, because magnesium supplies a light-weight, divalent cation, unlike the monovalent sodium in caustic, and heavier calcium in lime, Thioguard® helps to generate a denser, more easily dewatered sludge, with a higher percentage of cake solids.



  • It takes 100+ mg/L of Thioguard® to raise a water sample to pH 8.8.
  • This same 100 mg/L of Thioguard® has the same neutralizing power as 138 mg/L of caustic soda and 135 mg/L of lime and would be the equivalent of, though significantly more reactive than, adding 172 mg/ L calcium carbonate alkalinity on a CaCO3 basis, assuming 100% bicarbonate conversion.

Reactor systems treated to an initial pH of 8.5 using Thioguard, caustic soda and lime.Equivalent amounts of acid added to each over time.


Call 1.800.227.4287 or

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THIOGUARD® can help your plant!


Save 50% a Year in Pump Costs by Choosing THIOGUARD®



Pumping and conveying of wastewater from end user through the collection system to wastewater treatment plants can result in negative conditions including gas binding, blockages associated with fats, oils and greases (FOG), and system corrosion. There may be other contributing conditions, but these factors appear to be the greatest contributors to O&M costs including energy consumption, maintenance costs, and Sanitary Sewer Overflows (SSOs).


A collection system line is a unique conveyance system. The transfer of wastewater can result in the release of gases such as O2 – Oxygen, CO2 – Carbon Dioxide, N2 – Nitrogen Gas, H2S – Hydrogen Sulfide, CH4 – Methane, VOCs – Volatile Organic Compounds, and VOSCs – Volatile Organic Sulfur Compounds among others. Some of these gases are drawn into the system through pumping and ventilation, while others are generated within the system either chemically or biologically. These gases can result in the development of gas binding in the system, especially with the utilization of calcium nitrate, as well as contribute to odors and corrosion.


Save up to 50% per year in pump station power costs by choosing THIOGUARD®
as your odor, FOG and corrosion control process in your collection system.

Solution: THIOGUARD® can overcome these issues by reducing or eliminating gas emissions from wastewater, dissolving FOG blankets and reducing corrosion to pumps and infrastructure. No other product can match Thioguard’s ability to neutralize both collection system surface acid and wastewater acid over short and long distances to and through the wastewater treatment plant.

Call 1.800.227.4287 or

Visit to learn more about how
THIOGUARD® can help your plant!