Magnesium is essential for life playing a major role in the metabolism of glucose and nervous system function. It acts as an electrolyte and is intimately related to the function of vitamin D and calcium in the body, regulating bone and muscle function.
Along with affecting over 300 enzymatic reactions in the human body, magnesium may be useful for overcoming cardiovascular disease, hypertension, migraines, insomnia, anxiety, depression, ADHD, asthma, migraine headaches, kidney stones, and several other issues.
Magnesium deficiencies are common due to low dietary intake of fruits and vegetables and magnesium depletion in soil. More than 57 percent of the population doesn’t meet the U.S. RDA for magnesium in the diet (1).
One way to improve magnesium status is supplementation. There are many varieties of supplemental magnesium, making it difficult to know which is appropriate for your needs. Here are 5 forms of magnesium with information about their uses.
1. Magnesium Glycinate
Magnesium glycinate is a combination of elemental magnesium bound with the amino acid glycine, making it one of the best absorbed forms of magnesium. Glycine supports liver detoxification and reduces the effect of phytates in plant foods that inhibit absorption.
Magnesium glycinate has a calming effect in the body and it is useful for overcoming stress-related disorders, including insomnia, depression, anxiety, hyperactivity, muscle soreness, and headaches (2, 3, 4). It can also meet the body’s general magnesium needs and may support cardiovascular, endocrine, musculoskeletal, and metabolic health.
2. Magnesium Orotate
Magnesium orotate is a form of magnesium bound with orotic acid, which is an intermediate of the DNA nucleotide pyrimidine. Magnesium orotate doesn’t dissociate in the gut because orotic acid has low solubility in water, which improves absorption and lowers the quantity needed to be effective.
Magnesium orotate is recommended for cardiovascular benefits due to its positive effects on cholesterol levels while also reducing inflammation in the lining of the blood vessels. It has been shown to kickstart the manufacture of myocardial protein to replace damaged tissue after heart attacks and it stimulates ATP production so the heart has a ready energy supply (5). It may also be beneficial for brain health by improving blood flow through the brain (6).
3. Magnesium Fumarate
Magnesium fumarate is magnesium bound to fumaric acid, which is formed in the skin due to sun exposure. Fumaric acid supports absorption of nutrients in the GI tract and is necessary for the prevention of psoriasis (7).
Magnesium fumarate plays a role in oxygen transport and ATP energy production, making it useful for people with poor blood glucose regulation and diabetes. It may also be used by athletes who require high energy production for performance. Magnesium fumarate has antioxidant and anti-tumor effects that may support the immune system and protect against liver cancer.
4. Magnesium Taurate
Magnesium taurate binds magnesium with the amino acid taurine, which has calming effects on the body and promotes blood glucose regulation and healthy blood pressure. This form of magnesium may reduce the risk of stomach discomfort or diarrhea associated with other forms of magnesium such as magnesium oxide.
Magnesium taurine can be used by people who need cardiovascular support, are struggling with stress-related issues, including poor sleep, anxiety, and headaches. Magnesium taurate is suggested as a treatment for pre-eclampsia in pregnant women due to the dual relaxant effect of magnesium and taurine on blood pressure. It may also protect the fetus from hypoxia (lack of oxygen delivery during elevated maternal blood pressure), reducing the risk of complications such as cerebral palsy (8).
5. Magnesium Threonate
Magnesium threonate is a combination of elemental magnesium with threonic acid, a substance derived from vitamin C that is very easily absorbed and is capable of crossing the blood brain barrier to raise magnesium in brain cells (9). Magnesium threonate has many potential brain benefits, including overcoming depression, anxiety, headaches, and cognition. It may also help with sleep, memory recall and general relaxation.
How To Take Magnesium
Magnesium is present in a variety of foods including legumes, leafy green vegetables, nuts, and grains. Unfortunately, even with diets designed around these foods, magnesium deficiency is widespread and a majority of the U.S. population does not getting enough magnesium.
A deficiency has widespread harmful effects on health, significantly increasing blood pressure, reducing glucose tolerance, and increasing neural excitation that is associated with depression and ADHD. Certain lifestyle factors increase risk of magnesium deficiency, including caffeine and alcohol use, high-intensity exercise, and laxative use.
The U.S. RDA for elemental magnesium is 420 mg a day for men and 320 mg a day for women. Studies show benefits appear in magnesium dosages as low as 250 mg elemental magnesium in magnesium-deficient individuals but may need to be increased to between 10 to 12 mg/kg of body weight for therapeutic interventions (3).
Continuous supplementation is important because levels can be depleted fairly quickly. In a study of overweight subjects with low magnesium levels, supplementing with 500 mg of elemental magnesium daily improved magnesium status, however, 4 weeks after cessation of the supplement, subjects were again magnesium deficient, indicating that full elimination occurs within one month (10).
Magnesium Options From the Poliquin Store
We offer several magnesium products in our online store:
Ubermag is a blended magnesium that supplies four magnesium chelates (orotate, glycinate, fumarate, and taurate) for cardiovascular support and stress relief.
Magnesium Essentials provides five magnesium chelates along with the active form of vitamin B6 for general use, cardiometabolic support, and stress relief.
Zen Mag provides magnesium threonate for neurological health and sleep.
1. Moshfegh A, Goldman J, et al. What We Eat in America, NHANES 2005-2006: Usual Nutrient Intakes from Food and Water Compared to 1997 Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin D, Calcium, Phosphorus, and Magnesium. 2009. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
2. Held K, Antonijevic I, et al. Oral Mg(2+) supplementation reverses age-related neuroendocrine and sleep EEG changes in humans. Pharmacopsychiatry. 2002. 35(4): 135-43.
3. Spencer H. Minerals and mineral interactions in human beings. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 1986. 86(7): 864-7.
4. Tarleton E, Littenberg B, et al. Role of magnesium supplementation in the treatment of depression: A randomized clinical trial. PLoS One. 2017. 12(6): e0180067.
5. Richards SM, Conyers R, et al. Cardioprotection by orotic acid: metabolism and mechanism of action. Journal of Molecular Cell Cardiology. 1997. 29(12): 3239-50.
6. Rosenfeldt FL, Richards S, et al. Mechanism of cardioprotective effect of orotic acid. Cardiovascular Drugs and Therapy. 1998. Suppl 2:159-70.
7. Ryszka F, Dolinski W, Krupej J. Bioavailability and pharmacokinetics of magnesium after magnesium fumarate administration in humans. Bolletino Chimico Farmaceutico. 1997. 136(9): 575-6.
8. McCarty M. Magnesium taurate for the prevention and treatment of pre-eclampsia/eclampsia. Medical Hypotheses. 1996. 47(4): 269-72.
9. Shen Y, Dai L, et al. Treatment Of Magnesium-L-Threonate Elevates The Magnesium Level In The Cerebrospinal Fluid And Attenuates Motor Deficits And Dopamine Neuron Loss In A Mouse Model Of Parkinson's disease. Neuropsychiatry Disease Treatment. 2019. 15: 3143-3153.
10. Chacko S, Sul J, et al. Magnesium supplementation, metabolic and inflammatory markers, and global genomic and proteomic profiling: a randomized, double-blind, controlled, crossover trial in overweight individuals. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2011. 93(2): 463-73.