Are you confused which magnesium supplement you need or if you need it at all? Magnesium is one of the building blocks and used by the majority of our cells all over our body. Before I started my functional medicine training, I had read that magnesium was good for sleep, memory and energy metabolism (fatigue and weight loss) so I had gone to the health food store and discovered quickly there were what seemed to be a jillion forms and I was confused about which form to take!
Let’s do a deeper dive into which forms are best for what. If you are looking for energy, brain clarity, muscle recovery, gut health, sleep then READ ON….
Symptoms of low magnesium include:
- Muscle spasms
- Sleep issues
- Heart rhythm issues /palpitations
- And more….
Food sources of magnesium include green leafy veggies, legumes, dark chocolate, some animal protein and nuts but many people are deficient even with healthy diets.
It is difficult to test for magnesium so I prefer a rbc magnesium level (red blood cell) rather than the serum one and you want the level to be in the high normal side of the reference range.
Magnesium can be difficult to be absorbed in general so it is often tagged with other ingredients to aide in that issue.
I want to break down the forms. Keep in mind that magnesium in general is good for you but certain forms and have more of a claim to fame than others. Often changing the form of magnesium can give you a different result.
- Magnesium Glycinate (glycine is an amino acid)
- Heart issues including rhythm issues and heart disease
- Muscle aches/spasm
- Found in fish, meat, legumes, dairy
- In my opinion, one of the best forms without the laxative effect
- Magnesium Citrate: (often found in bowel preps for colonoscopy)
- Increasing magnesium levels in body but can often cause loose stools
- Dose: 125mg up to 800mg typically
Magnesium is really good for constipation because one of the biggest side-effects of too much magnesium is loose stools! If this occurs back down on the dose or change the form.
- Magnesium Taurate (taurine is an amino acid)
- Anxiety/mood- calming!
- Blood pressure
- Blood sugar regulation
- Magnesium Threonate
- Memory (perhaps has a role in Alzhiemers/dementia)
- Crosses the blood brain barrier
- Dosing is different. Start low around 200mg and slowly work up to 1500mg-2000mg. If you get a headache back down on the dose and titrate up more slowly
- Magnesium Sulfate – found in Epsom salts
- Muscle fatigue
- Magnesium Oxide:
- Dose: 500-1200mg
Very little of this is absorbed in the body so may be useful for constipation. However, the citrate form is better.
- Magnesium Chloride
- Relieve low body magnesium levels if taken orally
- Used topically for sore muscles (won’t boost low levels topically though)
- Magnesium Lactate (magnesium bound with lactic acid)
- Food additive for flavoring or preservative. Also fortifies food products.
- May help with stress/anxiety
- Not readily found as a supplement
- Magnesium Malate
- Food additive for flavor or acidity
- Relieve low body magnesium levels
- Dry mouth
- Naturally in fruit and wine
- Magnesium orotate
- Heart health/blood pressure
- Athletic performance
- Doesn’t usually relieve lower magnesium levels
Sucrosomial magnesium: this is a special formulation that is supposed to have increased absorption
- Blood pressure
- Not easily found on the market
- Small studies are showing it is more bioavailable than Magnesium oxide – keep in mind that the oxide form has the lowest bioavailability of all the magnesiums. There was one small study that indicated it had a higher bioavailability than the bisglycinate form but I could not verify these results.
Dosing of magnesium in general starts around 125mg and can increase up to 800mg unless specified above. If you get loose stools back down!
To your health,