Magnesium is one of the most abundant minerals in the human body and 50% of magnesium is located in the bones.Magnesium is found in many different foods. The best sources are leafy greens, spinach, legumes, nuts, seeds and whole grains. It is involved in many everyday processes and its deficiency is linked in many chronic diseases from depression to cardiovascular health. Even in today’s world we can become deficient. The question is: ‘Which type of magnesium should we take?’ There are so many types on the market. Different magnesium supplements can help to improve the following physiological functions depending on what salt, amino acid or acid it is attached to:

Magnesium @Innate

  • Muscle building and muscles relaxation
  • Maintaining regular heartbeat
  • Immune function
  • Nerve function
  • Energy metabolism
  • Concentration and focus

 Different Types of Magnesium Supplements:

  • Magnesium Acid Complexes
  • Magnesium Amino Acid Chelate
  • Mineral Salts of Magnesium

Magnesium is not easily absorbed in the body unless first attached to transporting substance. For this reason, supplement manufacturers have “chelated” magnesium to organic and amino acids. If you are a label reader, like many of the customers at Innate Wellness, you might wonder about the difference between all these different forms of magnesium. Reading labels is important when it comes to Magnesium because of the variation in ingredients. Here is a quick and easy run down.

Magnesium 2

Magnesium Acid Complexes

These forms of supplements represent acids bonded with magnesium. These types of magnesium are often referred to as “organic salts” of magnesium. Since they are usually not formed from food or plants they cannot be considered “organic”.

Magnesium Aspartate: Think ‘Fatigue’

This form has increased bioavailability compared to oxide and citrate. There is speculation that this combination has a positive effect on fatigue and muscle tension. Both magnesium and aspartic acid are critical players in cellular energy production. This form is not commonly found but has been used for chronic fatigue syndrome.

Magnesium Citrate: Think ‘Laxative’

Derived from the magnesium salt of citric acid, this form of magnesium comes in a lower lower concentration, but a high level of bioavalibity (90%). Magnesium citrate is commonly used to move the bowels. This means it can also be used to treat rectal and colon problems. Magnesium citrate functions best on an empty stomach, and should always be followed with a glass of water or juice to help the magnesium citrate absorb properly and help prevent any complications. Magnesium citrate can also be used for treating kidney stones. This is the form of magnesium found in the popular supplement ‘Natural Calm’.

Magnesium Malate: Think ‘Pain Relief’

Malate plays a significant role in energy metabolism. It has been speculated that fibromyalgia may be due to a defect in cellular metabolism characterized by low ATP production. Supplementation with magnesium malate may help to improve energy metabolism and relieve symptoms of fibromyalgia.

Magnesium Lactate: Think ‘Digestion’

This type of magnesium shows moderate concentrations, but higher levels of bioavalibity as compared to magnesium oxide. Magnesium lactate is a mineral supplement that is most commonly used for treating digestive issues. Magnesium lactate should be avoided by those with kidney disease or kidney-related problems.

Magnesium Picolinate: Think ‘Efficient Absorption’

This form of magnesium has generated interest because it is very inexpensive and can easily be made into a liquid supplement. Picolinate has been investigated in connection with zinc and chromium where it has been found to have superior bioavailability.

Picolinic acid is a natural organic acid produced in the body from the conversion of the amino acid tryptophan. It is naturally produced in the pancreas and binds to minerals to facilitate their absorption. So if you have a serious magnesium deficiency this might be the best supplement to increase your levels.

 

Magnesium Amino Acid Chelates

A form of magnesium connected to an amino acid. 

Magnesium Glycinate: Think ‘Sweet Dreams’

This combination has good bioavailability and does not have a laxative effect since glycine is actively transported through the intestinal wall. Due to the calming and relaxing effect of both glycine and magnesium, this combination has been used successfully for chronic pain and muscle hyper tonicity.

Glycine has interesting effects in the central nervous system where it augments N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor-mediated neurotransmission and functions as an inhibitory neurotransmitter via the glycine receptor. These effects may result in a calming, relaxant effect and could explain why glycine helps people sleep better,

Glycine may be useful for insomnia.

Magnesium Orotate: Think ‘Heart Health’

Orotic acid has been shown to have important biological and clinical benefits for cardiovascular health. A naturally occurring dietary acid, orotic acid is an intermediate in the synthesis of cellular energy and has been shown to enhance energy production in the heart amongst other unique biological effects.Orotates can penetrate cell membranes, enabling the effective delivery of the magnesium ion to the innermost layers of the cellular mitochondria and nucleus. Orotates themselves increase the formation of RNA and DNA, which can help heart cells repair and therefore improve function.

A number of more recent human studies support that supplementation may improve exercise tolerance in patients with coronary artery disease, improve ventricular function, and significantly increase survival rate and improve clinical symptoms and quality of life in congestive heart failure.

Magnesium Taurate: Think ‘Heart Health’

Both magnesium and the amino acid taurine share the ability to improve cardiac function; each has a potentiating effect on insulin sensitivity and also a calming effect on neuromuscular excitability. The actions of both have striking similarities when it comes to cardiovascular health. They both have blood pressure reducing effects, stabilize nerve cells, improve the contraction of the heart muscle and have an anti-thrombotic effect.7 Additionally, low levels of vitamin B6 have been shown to further deplete both magnesium and taurine.

Magnesium-L-Threonate: Think ‘Memory and Mood’

This form of magnesium has recently been studied to improve memory and brain function. One preliminary study in animals found that it significantly enhanced both short-term and long-term memory, boosting scores by 15% for short-term memory and 54% for long-term memory compared to magnesium citrate.8 Based on this study, it appears that magnesium-L-threonate is a highly absorbable form of magnesium that can improve brain function. While this research is promising, more is needed to confirm its benefit.

 

Mineral Salts of Magnesium

These forms of magnesium are typically minerals or salts found in nature. These are typically called ‘in-organic’ however this refers to it’s chemical structure not it’s quality.

Magnesium Chloride: Think ‘Dead Sea Salts’

Magnesium in natural seawater is approximately 3.7% of the total seawater mineral content. Dead Sea minerals contain approximately 50.8%. Dead Sea minerals have been considered deeply for hundreds of years. This form f magnesium has high solubility in water and can frequently be found as a component of Epsom Salts.

Magnesium Oxide: Think ‘Laxative’

Often used in milk of magnesia products since this form has a strong laxative effect. It is also neutralizing in the gut and can be used to treat acid reflux. Even though this combination contains a large proportion of magnesium, it has poor bioavailability and readily causes loose stools; therefore it is considered the least optimal form to use as a supplement for magnesium. It is more functional for moving the bowels.

Magnesium Sulfate: Think ‘Epsom Salts’

Commonly called Epsom salt, magnesium sulfate takes its name from a bitter saline spring in Epsom in Surrey, England. This is an inorganic form of magnesium with an elemental concentration of 10% and lower levels of bioavailability. This form is often used as an intravenous preparation but it is not used in oral formulations. Magnesium sulfate and can be found in Epsom bath salts.

 

References:

Blaszczyk U, Duda-Chodak A. Magnesium: its role in nutrition andcarcinogenesis. Rocz Panstw Zakl Hig. 2013;64(3):165-71.

Eby GA, Eby KL. Rapid recovery from major depression using magnesium treatment. Med Hypotheses. 2006;67(2):362-70.

Eby GA 3rd, Eby KL. Magnesium for treatment-resistant depression: a review and hypothesis. Med Hypotheses. 2010 Apr;74(4):649-60.

Guerrera MP, Volpe SL, Mao JJ. Therapeutic uses of magnesium. Am Fam Physician. 2009 Jul 15;80(2):157-62.

Kim YS, Kim KM, Lee DJ, Kim BT, Park SB, Cho DY, Suh CH, Kim HA, Park RW, Joo NS. Women with fibromyalgia have lower levels of calcium, magnesium, iron and manganese in hair mineral analysis. J Korean Med Sci. 2011 Oct;26(10):1253-7.

Li W, Yu J, Liu Y, Huang X, Abumaria N, Zhu Y, Huang X, Xiong W, Ren C, Liu XG, Chui D, Liu G. Elevation of brain magnesium prevents and reverses cognitive deficits and synaptic loss in Alzheimer’s disease mouse model. J Neurosci. 2013 May 8;33(19):8423-41.

Russell IJ, Michalek JE, Flechas JD, Abraham GE. Treatment of fibromyalgia syndrome with Super Malic: a randomized, double blind, placebo controlled, crossover pilot study. J Rheumatol. 1995 May;22(5):953-8.

Stepura OB, Martynow AI. Magnesium orotate in severe congestive heart failure (MACH). Int J Cardiol. 2009 Jan 9;131(2):293-5.

Volpe SL. Magnesium in disease prevention and overall health. Adv Nutr. 2013May 1;4(3):378S-83S.

Wang J, Liu Y, Zhou LJ, Wu Y, Li F, Shen KF, Pang RP, Wei XH, Li YY, Liu XG. Magnesium L-threonate prevents and restores memory deficits associated with neuropathic pain by inhibition of TNF-α. Pain Physician. 2013 Sep-Oct;16(5):E563-75.