Have you ever wanted to start taking magnesium for your health, but did not know where to begin? Then this post is for you... I will break down the common types of magnesium supplementation and give a few of my favorite brands that I have used personally or recommend to my clients/patients.
This form of magnesium is well absorbed as it is bound to chlorine making it a salt. You can use this to replete (increase) low magnesium levels or to support stomach symptoms like heartburn or constipation. Often you will find this supplement in capsule or tablet form, but can also be applied topically to the body to sore muscles for recovery after a good workout.
Magnesium form found naturally in citrus fruits. It has a tart, sour taste and is one of the more common supplements found on the shelf. While it can be taken orally to boost your magnesium levels I tend to reserve this form for patients or clients who are suffering from constipation as it has a mild laxative effect.
This is probably my most prescribed form of magnesium, because it contains the amino acid glycine, which is needed for protein construction in the body. Glycine alone has benefits to improve sleep and decrease systemic (full-body) inflammation. This can often improve conditions like heart disease and diabetes. It also is easily absorbed and has less effects on the gut, making it ideal for treating non-gut symptoms. There are some calming effects of this form of magnesium, therefore I will often recommend it to people with some anxiety/stress and/or depression.
This form of magnesium is produced by your own body's production of lactic acid in muscle and blood cells. It is a salt that is formed when magnesium joins up with lactic acid. This form is easier to absorb and will not affect the gut as much as. Larger doses can be taken. Not as many studies have shown its ability to support the plethora of health benefits from magnesium so I tend to avoid it unless if no other forms are tolerated.
This form is one of my favorite forms of magnesium and happens when magnesium joins up with malic acid (a naturally occurring acid in fruit). This form is readily absorbed in the gut and can be a great way to increase low blood magnesium levels. Because it is more readily absorbed, it has less affect on your bowels and is less likely to have that laxative effect. This could be helpful for people who tend to have more runny stool. There also is some evidence for this form of magnesium with chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia, which are two chronic fatigue and pain causing conditions that do not have many conventional treatments.
This form is easy to absorb and will not cause that laxative (anti-constipation) effect, which makes it ideal for people with looser stool. It contains orotic acid, which is formed in the body and involved in making DNA and other genetic items (means its kind of a big deal). There is some evidence that this form can improve heart health through energy production pathways in your heart and blood vessels. A small study found that patients who had congestive heart failure and supplemented with this form had less long-term symptoms and increased survival compared to those who did not. It is more pricey, so that is something to keep in mind.
This magnesium can be found in capsule or powder form and is a combination of the mineral magnesium bound with oxygen. It is not super well absorbed on its own, but can be helpful for digestive symptoms like constipation, indigestion, and even heartburn. There may be evidence for it to improve migraine headache pain or prevent migraines all together.
This last form is Epsom Salts! Magnesium + sulfur = epsom salts. PLEASE DO NOT TAKE THIS ORALLY or INTERNALLY EVER! It can be corrosive to the stomach and gut, cause major harm internally, and hurt you more than help you. Now, I love epsom salts (topically). Use it in the bath to relieve sore muscles or relax after a stressful day. I love to add a few drops of essential oil to make it a real spa day at home.
If you have studied biochemistry, like my students are right now, then you may have guessed that this form of magnesium contains the amino acid taurine! This form is super helpful for those with diabetes or other blood dysregulation conditions like PCOS. It can help promote healthy blood sugar/glucose metabolism. Through this it also can improve healthy blood pressure, which overall improves heart health. This is my go to form for anyone with metabolic syndrome or cardiovascular disease risk.
The last form of magnesium contains threonic acid, which creates a salt. Threonic acid is water-soluble and comes from the breakdown of vitamin C (SPOILER ALERT: our vitamin focus of next week). This form is absorbed the easiest from the diet and has some evidence that it is the best at boosting magnesium levels in the brain. Therefore your boosts here are in depression and age-related memory loss.
Dosing and Recommended Daily Values (RDV)
In general, the goal amount of magnesium in the diet is 320-420 mg. This is often not achieved (unless if you are a super good fruit and veggie eater). So I tend to recommend that people start with 100-200 mg of the right magnesium for them per day. This is not for everyone and you might not need magnesium at all. A few of my favorite brands are below, but there are many good supplements out there. If you want to purchase these, you can find them at my online medicinary (see my shop page on my website).