Did you know?
MAGNESIUM IS THE FOURTH MOST ABUNDANT MINERAL IN YOUR BODY.
It’s involved in over 300 metabolic reactions that are essential for human health. They include cellular energy production, blood pressure regulation, nerve signal transmission, and muscle contraction.
Low levels are linked to a variety of illnesses, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, mood disorders, and migraines .
Although in it found in many whole foods such as green leafy vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds, up to two-thirds of people in the Western world don’t meet their magnesium needs with diet alone. One of the theories for this decline is poor diet, choosing foods that are not fresh, whole or green as well as over farming causing soil nutrient depletion.
To boost intake, many people turn to supplements. However, it is a bit of a minefield as to which form is most ideal and for what. I decided to put down some info on 10 forms below for your reading.
1. Magnesium citrate
Magnesium citrate is a form of magnesium that’s bound with citric acid.
This acid is found naturally in citrus fruits and gives them their tart, sour flavor. Artificially produced citric acid is often used as a preservative and flavor enhancer in the food industry. In Europe, it’s been described as the most dangerous carcinogen of all. But, that was taken out of context see below link and brief explanation of why. Citric acid is harmless; in fact, citrus fruits are up to about 10% citric acid by weight. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4026104/
The above link is primary research regarding the effects of citric acid on various parameters, at a certain dose the results were positive and promising however after 4g/kilo DNA fragmentation occurred, aka cancer risk/development. 4g/kilo would be a 60 kilo human scoffing 250g of citric acid in pure weight, not even watered down! It would never happen and given that at the more realistic low doses it is actually beneficial I don’t feel there needs to be such great alarm.
Magnesium citrate is one of the most common magnesium formulations and can be easily bought online or in most health stores, pharmacies and even some supermarkets.
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. As it has a natural laxative effect, it is also sometimes used at higher doses to treat constipation.
It is occasionally marketed as a calming agent to help relieve symptoms associated with depression and anxiety, but more research is needed on these uses and we will see lower down some other suggestions for these conditions.
Magnesium citrate is one of the most popular types of magnesium supplements and easily absorbed by your body. It’s mainly used to raise magnesium levels and treat constipation.
2. Magnesium oxide
Magnesium oxide is a salt that combines magnesium and oxygen.
It naturally forms a white, powdery substance and may be sold in powder or capsule form. It is also the main active ingredient in milk of magnesia, a popular over-the-counter medication for constipation relief (pretty potent and people over a certain age will have horrid memories of the taste and having to take it).
This type isn’t typically used to prevent or treat magnesium deficiencies, as some studies report that it’s poorly absorbed by your digestive tract so it would not be my go to.
Instead, it’s more frequently used for short-term relief of uncomfortable digestive symptoms, such as heartburn, indigestion, and constipation. It may also be used to treat and prevent migraines but again, there are better options.
Magnesium oxide is often used to relieve digestive complaints such as heartburn and constipation. Given that the body doesn’t absorb it well, it is not a good choice for those who need to raise their magnesium levels.
3. Magnesium chloride
Magnesium chloride is a magnesium salt that includes chlorine — an unstable element that binds well with other elements, including sodium and magnesium, to form salts.
It’s well absorbed in your digestive tract, making it a great multi-purpose supplement. You can use it to treat low magnesium levels, heartburn, and constipation.
Magnesium chloride is most frequently taken in capsule or tablet form but also sometimes used in topical products like lotions and ointments.
Although people use these skin creams to soothe and relax sore muscles, little scientific evidence links them to improved magnesium levels.
Magnesium chloride is easily absorbed orally and used to treat heartburn, constipation, and low magnesium levels. Also, applying it topically may help relieve muscle soreness but not boost your magnesium levels.
4. Magnesium lactate
Magnesium lactate is the salt formed when magnesium binds with lactic acid.
This acid is not only produced by your muscle and blood cells but also manufactured for use as a preservative and flavouring agent.
Magnesium lactate is used as a food additive to regulate acidity and fortify foods and beverages. It’s less popular as an over-the-counter dietary supplement.
Magnesium lactate is easily absorbed and may be a little gentler on your digestive system than other types. This is particularly significant for people who need to take large doses of magnesium regularly or don’t easily tolerate other forms.
In a study in 28 people with a rare condition that required high doses of magnesium daily, those who took a slow-release tablet of magnesium lactate had fewer digestive side effects than the control group – the control group took magnesium oxide.
A few small studies likewise reveal that this form may help treat stress and anxiety, but more research is needed (you always see this with studies so don’t disregard them as everything starts somewhere).
Magnesium lactate is effective as a dietary supplement and possibly gentler on your digestive system. It may be more suitable for those who don’t tolerate other forms or need to take especially large doses.
5. Magnesium malate
Magnesium malate includes malic acid, which occurs naturally in foods like fruit and wine. This acid has a sour taste and is often used as a food additive to enhance flavor or add acidity.
Research suggests that magnesium malate is very well absorbed in your digestive tract, making it a great option for replenishing your magnesium levels. It is certainly a favourite of mine.
Some people report that it is more gentle on the system and may have less of a laxative effect than other types. This may be beneficial, depending on your specific needs.
Magnesium malate is occasionally recommended as a treatment for symptoms associated with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. However, there’s currently no strong scientific evidence to support these uses, it is good to note that chronic conditions are often high individual and multifactoral so case by case basis is essential.
Magnesium malate is easily absorbed and may have less of a laxative effect than other forms. It’s occasionally recommended for chronic conditions like fibromyalgia, but no current scientific evidence supports this.
6. Magnesium taurate
Magnesium taurate contains the amino acid taurine.
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 and diabetic associated cataracts.
Magnesium and taurine also support healthy blood pressure according to animal trials, this does not always translate to humans but is to be considered.
Magnesium taurate may be the best form for managing high blood sugar and high blood pressure.
7. Magnesium L-threonate
Magnesium L-threonate is the salt formed from mixing magnesium and threonic acid, a water-soluble substance derived from the metabolic breakdown of vitamin C. I really dig this form!
This form is easily absorbed. Animal research notes that it may be the most effective type for increasing magnesium concentrations in brain cells. Magnesium L-threonate is often used for its potential brain benefits and may help manage certain brain disorders, such as depression and age-related memory loss. Nonetheless, more research is needed.
Magnesium L-threonate may support brain health, potentially aiding the treatment of disorders like depression and memory loss.
8. Magnesium sulphate
Magnesium sulphate is formed by combining magnesium, sulphur, 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 sulphate is frequently dissolved in bathwater to soothe sore, achy muscles and relieve stress. It’s also sometimes included in skin care products, such as lotion or body oil.
Although adequate magnesium levels can play a role in muscle relaxation and stress relief, not all people have positive effects from this. Personally it works very well for me and reduces exercise induced stiffness, and what a doctor explained to me is a spinal migraine – not great fun.
Magnesium sulphate, or Epsom salt, is frequently dissolved in water to treat stress and sore muscles.
9. Magnesium glycinate
Magnesium glycinate is formed from elemental magnesium and the amino acid glycine.
Your body employs this amino acid in protein construction and remember it is useful in creatine production for muscles. It also occurs in many protein-rich foods, such as fish, meat, dairy, and legumes.
Glycine is often used as a standalone dietary supplement to improve sleep and treat a variety of inflammatory conditions, including heart disease and diabetes.
Magnesium glycinate is easily absorbed and may have calming properties. It may help reduce anxiety, depression, stress, and insomnia.
Magnesium glycinate is often used for its calming effects to treat anxiety, depression, and insomnia. However, research supporting its efficacy for such conditions is limited, this is a much newer form and so perhaps in time the scientific evidence will broaden.
10. 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. Marcus Warry
One study in 79 people with severe congestive heart failure found that magnesium orotate supplements were significantly more effective for symptom management and survival than a placebo.
Yet, this form is significantly more expensive than other magnesium supplements. Based on the limited evidence available, its benefits don’t justify its cost for many people at the moment.
Magnesium orotate may bolster heart health by improving energy production in your heart and blood vessel tissue.
Should you take a magnesium supplement?
If you don’t have low magnesium levels, no evidence suggests that taking a supplement will provide any measurable benefit.
Yet, if you are deficient, obtaining this mineral from whole foods is always the best initial strategy. Magnesium is present in a variety of foods, including:
Legumes: black beans, edamame
Vegetables: spinach, kale, avocado
Nuts: almonds, peanuts, cashews
Whole grains: oatmeal, whole wheat
Others: dark chocolate
If you’re unable to get enough magnesium from your diet, a supplement may be worth considering.
Certain populations may be at a greater risk of deficiency, including older adults and people with type 2 diabetes, digestive disorders, under a lot of stress, exercise a lot or excessively and alcohol dependence.
Dosage and possible side effects
The average recommended daily amount of magnesium is 320 mg for women and 420 mg for men .
The amounts in different supplement formulations may vary, so check the label or consult a professional to ensure you’re taking the most appropriate dose.
Magnesium supplements are generally considered safe for most people. Once you’ve reached adequate levels, your body will excrete any excess in your urine. Certain forms or excessive doses may cause mild symptoms like diarrhea or upset stomach.
Although rare, magnesium toxicity can occur. If you have kidney disease or consume very large doses of this mineral, you may be at a greater risk. Signs of toxicity include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle weakness, irregular breathing, lethargy, and urinary retention .
Most adults need 320–420 mg of magnesium per day. If you’re unable to meet your needs from your diet, a supplement may be warranted. They’re widely considered safe, but you may want to talk to a health professional before starting.
The bottom line
Magnesium plays a vital role in human health. Low levels are linked to numerous adverse effects, including depression, heart disease, and diabetes.
You may want to consider supplements if you’re not getting enough of this mineral in your diet or have an increased requirement.
To book a FREE call to discuss your individual needs or ask any questions about your supplement regime then simply click here to book a FREE short call with me