Different Types of Magnesium Supplements
Updated: Sep 3, 2021
Did you know magnesium is necessary for over 300 enzyme reactions in your body? That is A LOT of magnesium being used up to make energy, complete biochemical processes, and stabilize cell membranes. A generally widespread effect of Magnesium is Relaxation.
Functional Medicine and Health Expert Dr. Mark Hyman writes, "Think of magnesium as the relaxation mineral. Anything that is tight, irritable, crampy, and stiff — whether it is a body part or an even a mood — is a sign of magnesium deficiency." Let's break down the types of Magnesium to determine their individual properties and why they might be more beneficial for certain conditions:
Magnesium Glycinate: Many health professionals regard this type as the "best" kind of Magnesium for its high absorption rate and least amount of gastrointestinal effects. Magnesium Glycinate is a "chelated" form of Magnesium which means it has been combined with an amino acid (Glycine) to form a very stable molecule which is less likely to cause loose stools and generally safe in high doses when "superloading" in times of high stress.
Magnesium Citrate: This form of magnesium is commonly used to clear the gastrointestinal tract before surgeries or a colonoscopy. It can help relieve constipation, gas pain, and bloating as well. It referred to as a "saline laxative" because it clears out the intestines by drawing water and fluid into the intestines. Best used for those with digestive complaints.
Magnesium Chloride: This form is often found in lotions for topical use. It dissolves quickly in water and is believed to be absorbed more readily in the body. Uses include sleep, endurance, muscle pain, digestion, and relaxation. This form of magnesium may have digestive side effects but is less likely to upset your stomach when applied topically. The very popular CryoDerm uses this form of Magnesium which has great pain reliving and muscle relaxing qualities.
Magnesium Sulfate: Good for topical use to alleviate muscle pain, arthritis, and inflammation. Magnesium Sulfate what is used in a hospital setting during labor to slow uterine contractions and relax but is not the form for internal consumption. Epsom Salt is also magnesium sulfate which has many health benefits including muscle and joint pain, inflammation, arthritis, sleep, sore muscles, and reduces stress. Stick to external uses likes lotions and baths for this form of Magnesium.
Magnesium Malate: This is a great option for people with fatigue or low energy levels. Magnesium is combine with malic acid which helps with energy production. Often recommended for those suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome and Fibromyalgia.
Magnesium Taurate: With very little to no laxative properties this form of magnesium is easiest on the stomach. Many recommend this for those suffering with cardiovascular complaints as it can increase circulation and prevent heart arrhythmia. Magnesium and the amino acid, Taurine, help to stabilize cell membranes, reduce the stress hormone called cortisol, and increase a neurotransmitter called GABA that has calming and relaxing properties in the nervous system.
Magnesium to Avoid: Oxide, Glutamate, Carbonate, and Aspartate.
Magnesium Oxide is thought to have an absorption rate of 4% which would take A LOT to have any positive effect at all in the body. These forms are usually very cheaply made and the least effective. Magnesium Glutamate and Aspartate can actually become toxic to the nervous system in their natural state. These are the types of Magnesium that are said to have the least bioavailability which means they are absorbed the least by the body. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, they are common sources of magnesium in very popular over the counter supplements like the one below.