What Are The Best And Worst Types Of Magnesium

8 min read
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Apr 19, 2024
What Are The Best And Worst Types Of Magnesium

Do you intend to take a magnesium supplement? Knowing which type of magnesium is right for you and why it's advisable to stay away from particular magnesium supplements is crucial.

Find out which forms of magnesium are most beneficial to prevent deficiencies and how to get the most out of taking supplements of magnesium for health reasons.

What is magnesium?

The body's fourth most prevalent mineral, magnesium aids in the regulation of hundreds of metabolic and cellular processes.

This crucial mineral is required for the synthesis of DNA and proteins, the synthesis of muscles, the control of blood pressure, the production of energy, the synthesis of neurotransmitters, hormonal balance, and cognitive function.

Magnesium controls various elements of cardiovascular function and is essential for bone health.

Magnesium is a potent natural beta blocker that helps lower blood pressure and may lessen the risk of tachycardia and arrhythmia. Fast and erratic heartbeats are a hallmark of many heart-related disorders, which also dramatically raise the risk of cardiac arrest and stroke.

Magnesium Deficiency Symptoms

Magnesium is a mineral that offers numerous health advantages. Insufficient magnesium levels can lead to a variety of health problems. These are typical indicators of a magnesium shortage:

  • Low exercise tolerance
  • Weak and sore muscles
  • Muscle cramps
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Irregular heartbeats

Best types of magnesium and their uses

Pure magnesium is not found in nature and is quite reactive. Rather, it combines with other substances to produce salts, which influences the body's ability to absorb and use it.

Magnesium supplements come in a variety of forms with unique qualities that suit a range of applications and personal requirements.

These are the best magnesium varieties and their applications.

1. Magnesium citrate

A well-liked magnesium supplement that mixes magnesium and citric acid is called magnesium citrate. The body may readily absorb this form of elemental magnesium due to its high bioavailability.

Because of its inherent laxative properties, magnesium citrate is frequently used to alleviate constipation and has been shown to be helpful in reducing headaches and nocturnal leg cramps.

2. Magnesium glycinate

Glycine is an amino acid that is bonded to magnesium glycinate, also known as magnesium bisglycinate.

Compared to other magnesium supplements, it is less prone to induce gastrointestinal distress and is therefore highly bioavailable, making it appropriate for people with sensitive stomachs.

Magnesium glycinate may reduce the incidence of insomnia and other sleep disorders, has a relaxing impact on the central nervous system, and can help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.

3. Magnesium L-threonate

One of the few elemental magnesium forms that can pass across the blood-brain barrier is magnesium L-threonate, or simply magnesium L-threonate.

Magnesium L-threonate is a substance that may penetrate brain tissue, which helps to maintain brain health and cognitive function while also reducing the risk of mental health issues including sadness and anxiety.

According to a study that was published in The Journal of Neuroscience, magnesium L-threonate has neuroprotective qualities and could be a useful therapeutic intervention for Alzheimer's disease and age-related memory loss.

4. Magnesium malate

A magnesium supplement called magnesium malate mixes magnesium with malic acid.

Magnesium malate may reduce chronic muscle soreness in people with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome because malic acid is required by muscle cells to produce energy.

5. Magnesium taurate 

The amino acid taurine, which is present in magnesium taurate, supports healthy cardiovascular function and aids in blood pressure regulation.

It has been discovered that magnesium taurate improves blood sugar management. Those with metabolic disorders including obesity, diabetes, or insulin resistance may benefit most from this supplement.

6. Magnesium orotate

Orotic acid, a substance that facilitates the passage of magnesium across cell membranes, is combined with magnesium in its elemental form.

Magnesium orotate is frequently used to increase strength and endurance because it readily enters muscle cells and improves cellular energy generation.

Additionally, magnesium orotate has been shown in studies published in The International Journal of Cardiology to support heart health and may be a better treatment option for severe congestive heart failure symptoms than other types.

7. Magnesium lactate 

Most people agree that taking magnesium lactate as a dietary supplement helps keep magnesium levels in check.

For people who require high dosages of magnesium, it is a good supplement because it is easy on the stomach.

8. Magnesium chloride

Typically, transdermal magnesium treatments contain magnesium chloride, which hair follicles and sweat glands can absorb.

Transdermal magnesium can be a useful treatment for joint and muscular discomfort, even if it won't much boost magnesium reserves.

Worst types of magnesium

Because of their low absorption, higher risk of adverse effects, and tendency to interact with pharmaceuticals, some magnesium supplements are thought to be less useful.

Worst types of magnesium
Worst types of magnesium

The following varieties of magnesium ought to be avoided or taken under the careful supervision of a healthcare professional.

1. Magnesium sulfate

It is not advisable to use magnesium sulfate, also referred to as Epsom salt, as a dietary supplement to maintain adequate stocks of magnesium.

Due to its potent laxative effects, magnesium sulfate can cause serious gastrointestinal problems such cramping in the stomach and diarrhea.

2. Magnesium carbonate 

Compared to other forms of magnesium, magnesium carbonate is typically less absorbed and less efficient at restoring magnesium reserves.

Supplements containing magnesium carbonate have a gritty taste and texture, and many people find it difficult to take them.

3. Magnesium oxide 

Another type of magnesium supplement that has a limited absorption and frequently causes gastrointestinal adverse effects is magnesium oxide.

Magnesium poisoning and dangerously increased blood magnesium levels can result from large dosages of magnesium oxide.

4. Magnesium hydroxide

In addition to being poorly absorbed, magnesium hydroxide also affects how iron is metabolized and may reduce the efficacy of antibiotics and other treatments for osteoporosis.

Magnesium hydroxide misuse can also result in electrolyte imbalances, dehydration, and persistent diarrhea.

Best sources of magnesium

Because plants acquire magnesium and other necessary nutrients from the soil through their roots, some of the best sources of magnesium include vegetables, seeds, and nuts.

The following are a few of the top food sources of magnesium:

  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Avocados
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Almonds
  • Dark chocolate
  • Dairy
  • Seaweed

How to improve the bioavailability of magnesium

The bioavailability of magnesium supplements was studied and the results were published in The Nutritional Medicine Journal. "Absorption rates can range from 20% to 80%, however they are typically between 30% and 50%, according to the study.

Furthermore, it can be difficult to maintain adequate magnesium stores even if you eat foods high in magnesium and take supplements because only 30 to 40 percent of dietary magnesium is thought to be absorbed.

Magnesium and vitamin D have a synergistic relationship, and good intestinal absorption of magnesium depends on sufficient vitamin D levels.

Although whole grains are frequently regarded as great providers of magnesium, they also include phytates, an antinutrient that can limit the absorption of magnesium by 60%." says Berg. "Limiting grains can enhance magnesium bioavailability and help replenish magnesium stores.

The absorption of magnesium can be hampered by an excessive calcium intake, thus it's advisable to refrain from taking calcium supplements unless a healthcare professional is closely monitoring you.

Magnesium dosage and side effects

For adults, the recommended daily amount of magnesium is 320 mg for women and 420 mg for men.

Significantly greater dosages of up to 600 mg daily may be required to treat a severe magnesium deficit, even though ingesting 200–400 mg of magnesium daily is often sufficient to maintain healthy magnesium reserves.

Magnesium dosage and side effects
Magnesium dosage and side effects

Your level of physical activity and overall health also have an impact on how much magnesium you should consume.

Higher magnesium intakes are usually necessary for athletes and those suffering from gastrointestinal conditions including Crohn's disease and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in order to restore magnesium stores.

In general, magnesium is regarded as safe and well-tolerated. Large doses, however, may have an adverse effect on the digestive system and result in symptoms including diarrhea, nausea, and stomach pains.

To reduce the risk of intestinal problems, people with sensitive digestive systems or low stomach acid should take lower doses of magnesium two to three times a day rather than larger ones.

It's also crucial to remember that hypermagnesemia, or high magnesium levels, can result from taking too much magnesium. Kidney damage, unconsciousness, and possibly cardiorespiratory arrest might result from this potentially fatal disorder.

If you believe you may have taken too much magnesium and exhibit symptoms like weakness or confusion, you should see a doctor right once. low blood pressure, or irregular heartbeats.

Key takeaways

It can be difficult to get enough magnesium from diet alone, so taking supplements is a practical approach to support adequate stocks of the mineral.

The best forms of magnesium are those that are high in bioavailability and have little chance of adverse effects, such as magnesium citrate, glycinate, threonate, orotate, and taurate.

On the other hand, magnesium hydroxide, sulfate, carbonate, and oxide are poorly absorbed and greatly raise the possibility of side effects, such as nausea, diarrhea, and cramping in the abdomen.

Frequently asked questions

What are the best types of magnesium?

Because of their high bioavailability—a metric that indicates how easily a nutrient is absorbed into the bloodstream—and minimal risk of adverse effects, magnesium citrate, threonate, glycinate, orotate, and taurate are regarded as the best forms of the mineral.  

Which type of magnesium is the most easily absorbed?

Magnesium comes in two extremely absorbable forms: citrate and glycinate. 

Is it better to take magnesium citrate or magnesium glycinate?

Magnesium citrate and glycinate are both excellent at preserving adequate stocks of the mineral and highly bioavailable.

While magnesium glycinate has been shown to relax the nervous system and may be an appropriate supplement for treating symptoms of anxiety, magnesium citrate has a laxative effect and is frequently used to treat constipation.

What type of magnesium is best for weight loss?

The optimum form of magnesium for weight loss is thought to be magnesium taurate.

The important amino acid taurine and the mineral magnesium both help the body better control insulin and blood sugar levels, two critical components of a healthy metabolism and effective weight loss.

Which types of magnesium should I avoid?

Magnesium hydroxide, sulfate, oxide, and carbonate should be avoided.

Compared to other forms of elemental magnesium, these forms are less absorbed, have a higher chance of side effects, and are more likely to disrupt the way prescription drugs are metabolized.

What are the best natural sources of magnesium?

Pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate, avocados, spinach, green leafy vegetables, almonds, and seaweed are some of the best natural sources of magnesium. 

What are the benefits of magnesium?

Magnesium is an essential cofactor for many enzymes that are involved in hundreds of biological activities, such as the synthesis of DNA, the production of energy, and the regulation of blood pressure.

Magnesium is essential for bone health, heart health, and the maintenance of muscle and nerve function.