I talk about the causes and symptoms of magnesium deficiency in the previous article: Magnesium - The Missing Cure to Many Diseases (Part 1), and also mention there are multiple varieties of magnesium supplements available, but it can be hard to know which one is most appropriate for our needs.
Not all magnesium is made the same, thus below are various forms of magnesium available and their different benefits. To help you make a better choice, I will categorize them into the types recommended and the types to avoid:
1. Magnesium Glycinate
Magnesium glycinate (also called magnesium chelate, magnesium bisglycinate, magnesium diglycinate) is a well-absorbed form of magnesium that is chelated to two molecules of the amino acid, glycine. Glycine is a very relaxing amino acid that can help calm anxiety and promote sleep. Magnesium glycinate is easily absorbed and may have calming properties. It may help reduce anxiety, depression, stress, and insomnia.
For calmness and relaxation
2. Magnesium Malate
This type of magnesium is a compound of magnesium and malic acid. Some evidence suggests that it is highly bioavailable and that people tolerate it well. Magnesium malate is an energy-promoting form of magnesium that works by helping the body create ATP, the energy currency of our cells. This form of magnesium is often recommended to those struggling with fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome. This form may be too stimulating for some and may disrupt sleep, especially when taken at night. Therefore, take it in the morning or no later than early afternoon.
For energy and pain
3. Magnesium L-Threonate
Threonate is a form of magnesium chelated to threonic acid, a metabolite of vitamin C. This form of magnesium distinguishes itself from others as it is able to cross the blood-brain barrier. Research notes that it may be the most effective type for increasing magnesium concentrations in brain cells. It may, therefore, improve learning and memory functions and maybe be especially beneficial for age-related cognitive decline.
For memory and cognitive function
4. Magnesium Orotate
Magnesium orotate includes orotic acid, a natural substance involved in your body’s construction of genetic material, including DNA. It’s easily absorbed and doesn’t have the strong laxative effects characteristic of other forms. Early research suggests that it may promote heart health due to orotic acid’s unique role in the energy production pathways in your heart and blood vessel tissue. As such, it’s popular among competitive athletes and fitness enthusiasts, but it may also aid people with heart disease.
For heart health and fitness performance
5. Magnesium Citrate
Magnesium citrate is one of the most common magnesium formulations and can be easily purchased online or in stores worldwide. This chelated type of magnesium is bound to citric acid and is about 30% bioavailable, but it pulls water into the bowels giving it more of a laxative effect. Some research suggests that this type is among the most bioavailable forms of magnesium, meaning that it’s more easily absorbed in your digestive tract than other forms.
It’s typically taken orally to replenish low magnesium levels. Due to its natural laxative effect, it’s also sometimes used at higher doses to treat constipation.
6. Magnesium Taurate
This form of magnesium is bound to the amino acid, taurine. Taurine reduces the stress hormone, cortisol, and increases the calming neurotransmitter, GABA. Magnesium taurate is used to increase circulation, which can have positive benefits throughout the body. Research suggests that adequate intakes of taurine and magnesium play a role in regulating blood sugar. Thus, this particular form may promote healthy blood sugar levels. Magnesium and taurine also support healthy blood pressure.
For circulation support and blood sugar balance
7. Magnesium Chloride (Topical)
Magnesium chloride is a type of salt that people can find in topical magnesium products, such as magnesium oils and some bath salts. People use it as an alternative method for getting more magnesium. Magnesium chloride is a form of magnesium that can lower anxiety, reduce pain, and help promote restful sleep. Historically, it was used topically as an antiseptic. Not only is magnesium chloride a great antimicrobial treatment when given topically, but it also delivers magnesium directly into the bloodstream. The skin is a great way to increase magnesium levels and bypass using the gut – this is especially beneficial for people with IBS (or leaky gut) who suffer from malabsorption of nutrients.
8. Magnesium Sulphate (Epsom Salt)
Magnesium sulfate is formed by combining magnesium, sulfur, and oxygen. It’s commonly referred to as Epsom salt. It’s white with a texture similar to that of table salt. It can be consumed as a treatment for constipation, but its unpleasant taste leads many people to choose an alternative form for digestive support. Magnesium sulfate is frequently dissolved in bath water to soothe sore, achy muscles and relieve stress. It’s also sometimes included in skincare products, such as lotion or body oil.
TYPES TO AVOID
1. Magnesium Oxide
A popular form available in over-the-counter dietary supplements. This magnesium has a bioavailability of only 4%, which means it is poorly absorbed by our digestive tract. It has a laxative effect and some use it as a constipation relief but this type should not be used to treat magnesium deficiency. This form is cheap and tends to be used with other low-quality ingredients therefore should be avoided.
2. Magnesium Stearate
This magnesium is used as a coating agent in supplements and isn’t water-soluble. It’s not going to help you restore your magnesium levels at all. In fact, it’s even possible to have an allergy to Magnesium stearate. This form of magnesium should be avoided.
3. Magnesium Lactate
Magnesium lactate is derived from lactic acid, which is a product of bacterial fermentation. Magnesium lactate can also be dangerous for those with kidney disease as the extra lactic acid may irritate the kidneys.
4. Magnesium Aspartate
Studies show that it does not dissolve well in water; that’s an indicator of its bioavailability, which is low. Additionally, aspartic acid is not something we want to get more of. In excess, it can be neurotoxic - like Aspartame.
Magnesium is essential for health. For magnesium deficiency, a magnesium supplement may be necessary to get enough of this mineral. People should seek guidance from a doctor before starting taking a magnesium supplement or using a topical magnesium product, as they are not suitable for everybody. If you suspect you might be magnesium deficient and unsure of which supplement may help you, talk to us.
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