The 2020 Guide to Different Forms of Magnesium in Supplements : The Difference Between Magnesium Forms

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It is estimated that 80% of our population is deficient in magnesium, yet this mineral plays a crucial role in our bodies.

In fact, it is involved in over 300 reactions and pathways in our bodies.

It is used in varying processes: from hormone metabolism in the liver, to biochemical pathways that affect the production of products that regulate our moods, to helping  proper muscle function and reducing muscle hypertonicity, and more.

Normally , we would get this magnesium from our food, but our soils have become so deplete in this generation that our food often does not contain enough.

In addition, the use of many medications ( for example; Proton Pump inhibitors, antacids) , and varying digestive issues, can cause low magnesium status in the body.

We also lose magnesium through urine, sweat, vomit, and bowel movements: so too much of any of these can contribute to a lower magnesium status.

Before we get into breaking down various magnesium forms , it is important to understand that online information, including this article, should only serve as a relative guide, and more so as simply educational and interesting, and not as medical advice or recommendations.

The Information in this guide is basic and you should always ask your Naturopathic Doctor before supplementing. They will guide you in the safety , efficacy, dosage, and the right brands and professional line productsthat will be right for YOU and your body.

Forms – in no particular order:

Magnesium Malate:

This form of magnesium is mainly used for people who are suffering from conditions where their energy is low and compromised. Magnesium malate ends up playing into a biochemical pathway that leads to energy production. People with fibromyalgia are often recommended this form.

Magnesium Oxide:

This form of Magnesium is actually regarded as more of a filler,and is not quite as effective. It is not well absorbed and its therapeutic value is low, it mainly causes loose stools which can be helpful with constipation – BUT- there is a better magnesium form for that- keep reading!   You usually will run into this in products that are less professional, that may label the bottle as Magnesium Bisglycinate, but in the ingredients list there is a blend with magnesium oxide.

Magnesium Citrate:

This is the form of magnesium that is the main go-to for people needing relief of constipation. It is more well absorbed than magnesium Oxide, so you get some benefit from the magnesium being absorbed, as well as constipation relief.  This is better suited to people who are looking for constipation relief short term, there are better magnesium forms that are well-absorbed and can help with proper bowel functioning more long-term use, keep reading!

Magnesium Bisglycinate :

Magnesium Bisglycinate is probably the most well-rounded magnesium form as it is well-absorbed into our blood stream, making it the least laxative form of magnesium.  Well-absorbed means it can be used in the many biochemical processes that we need it for, and the glycine attached is a calming amino acid that helps with anxiety and proper neurotransmission.  Though it is the least laxative , it can still help contribute to proper bowel functioning by helping to quell anxiety and support elimination pathways , smooth muscle functioning and muscle function.  Also, for people suffering from muscle hypertonicity , or active people who want proper muscle function,  this would be the most indicated.

Magnesium Chloride/ Topical Magnesium:

Usually, topical magnesium solutions contain magnesium chloride. These topical forms can be slightly tingly upon application, but are used for two main reasons. First, it can be useful to massage the magnesium oil into the affected area of muscle tension to help these muscles relax and function properly. Second, it can be a way to get magnesium into the bloodstream and system without relying on the gastrointestinal system, so people with very poor absorption or who cannot tolerate oral magnesium would find use with this form.

Magnesium Taurate: This is a form of magnesium with the amino acid taurine, and is mainly used with the targeted approach to help heart muscle function as both magnesium and taurine are crucial for healthy heart muscle function.

Magnesium L-Threonate: This form of magnesium is engineered to pass through the blood brain barrier and acts to calm anxiety, help memory and cognitive function, and help sleep. Some patients notice that when they take this form before bed, they end up with vivid dreams and sometimes even nightmares! This doesn’t happen to everyone, and overtime could decrease in some patients.

Some food sources of magnesium : pumpkin seeds, brazil nuts, and dark leafy greens are a good place to start.

Make an appointment today and start your journey to achieving better health with Dr. Elena Z ND. Book online at ,

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Optimize Your Health Today.


Dr. Elena Zarifis is a Naturopathic Doctor who holds your athletic achievements in high priority.

Providing Naturopathic Medicine for Athletes and active adults of all levels, the ultimate goal is to optimize your health, in order to have you feeling and performing your best.


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