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What You Need to Know about the Different Forms of Magnesium

  • September 02, 2023
6 minute read

Magnesium is an essential mineral that plays a vital role in various physiological processes within the human body. It is involved in over 300 enzymatic reactions, impacting energy production, muscle function, and nerve function, among others. Given its significance, it is crucial to ensure an adequate intake of magnesium through the diet or supplements. In this article, we will explore and compare magnesium bisglycinate with other regular forms of magnesium, shedding light on their differences and potential benefits.

Understanding Magnesium and Its Importance

Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the human body and is involved in numerous biochemical reactions. It is predominantly found in the bones, muscles, and soft tissues. This essential mineral plays a crucial role in maintaining normal muscle and nerve function, a steady heartbeat, a healthy immune system, and strong bones. It is also involved in the production of DNA, RNA, and proteins.

Considering the significance of magnesium, its deficiency can have detrimental effects on overall health. This brings us to the topic of magnesium deficiency, its symptoms, and associated risks.

The Role of Magnesium in the Body

Magnesium performs multifaceted roles in the body, contributing to various physiological functions. It is involved in the synthesis of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the body's primary source of energy. Additionally, it aids in the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, facilitating their breakdown and utilization for energy production.

Magnesium also plays a crucial role in maintaining proper muscle function. It acts as a calcium channel blocker, preventing excessive calcium influx into muscle cells. This regulation ensures the relaxation of muscles after contraction, preventing muscle cramps and spasms.

Furthermore, magnesium is vital for nerve function. It participates in the transmission of nerve impulses, ensuring smooth communication between nerve cells. This function is particularly important for neurotransmitter release and synaptic plasticity.

Deficiency of Magnesium: Symptoms and Risks

Insufficient magnesium intake can lead to a variety of symptoms, including muscle weakness, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, and abnormal heart rhythms. Prolonged magnesium deficiency can increase the risk of chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension, osteoporosis, and diabetes.

Magnesium deficiency can be caused by several factors, including inadequate dietary intake, poor absorption due to gastrointestinal disorders, excessive alcohol consumption, certain medications, and increased magnesium excretion due to medical conditions like diabetes or excessive sweating.

An Overview of Different Forms of Magnesium

There are various forms of magnesium available as dietary supplements, each with its own unique properties and potential benefits. Let us explore some of the commonly used regular forms of magnesium:

Magnesium Oxide

Magnesium oxide is a widely available form of magnesium that contains a high percentage of elemental magnesium. It is commonly used to relieve acid indigestion or constipation. However, compared to other forms, it has relatively low bioavailability, meaning that the body may absorb and utilize a smaller proportion of the magnesium present.

Magnesium Citrate

Magnesium citrate is another commonly used form that combines magnesium with citric acid. It has been shown to have a higher bioavailability than magnesium oxide. Magnesium citrate is often used to alleviate constipation as it has a gentle laxative effect.

Magnesium Chloride

Magnesium chloride is a form of magnesium that is highly soluble, which enables better absorption by the body. It is commonly used in topical applications and has been studied for its potential benefits in promoting wound healing and relieving muscle pain and soreness.

Magnesium Sulfate

Magnesium sulfate, also known as Epsom salt, is a well-known form of magnesium that is often used in bath salts or foot soaks. While it can be absorbed through the skin, its oral bioavailability is relatively low compared to other forms. Magnesium sulfate is commonly used for its potential muscle-relaxing and stress-reducing effects.

Introduction to Magnesium Bisglycinate

Magnesium bisglycinate, also referred to as magnesium glycinate, is a form of magnesium that is chelated with the amino acid glycine. This chelation process enhances its absorption and bioavailability compared to other regular forms of magnesium.

What is Magnesium Bisglycinate?

Magnesium bisglycinate is a well-tolerated and highly absorbable form of magnesium. The chelation with glycine allows for efficient transportation of magnesium across the intestinal wall into the bloodstream, facilitating its utilization by the body. This enhanced absorption minimizes the potential for gastrointestinal side effects that may occur with other forms of magnesium.

Health Benefits of Magnesium Bisglycinate

Supplementing with magnesium bisglycinate has been associated with various health benefits. Adequate magnesium intake, including magnesium bisglycinate, may contribute to the maintenance of normal muscle and nerve function, promote relaxation and sleep quality, support healthy bone mineral density, and assist in energy metabolism.

Comparing Magnesium Bisglycinate with Other Forms

When considering magnesium supplements, it is essential to understand factors such as absorption, bioavailability, side effects, tolerance, cost, and availability. Let us delve into these aspects by comparing magnesium bisglycinate with other regular forms of magnesium:

Absorption and Bioavailability

Magnesium bisglycinate, due to its chelation with glycine, exhibits exceptional absorption and bioavailability. This allows for higher levels of magnesium to be efficiently absorbed and utilized by the body compared to other regular forms. In contrast, forms such as magnesium oxide have lower bioavailability, limiting their efficacy.

Side Effects and Tolerance

One notable advantage of magnesium bisglycinate is its excellent gastrointestinal tolerance. It is less likely to cause digestive disturbances such as diarrhea, bloating, or cramping compared to other regular forms, making it a favorable choice for individuals with sensitive stomachs.

Cost and Availability

Magnesium bisglycinate may be relatively more expensive than other regular forms; however, its superior absorption and tolerance make it a cost-effective option in terms of the overall benefits it provides. Availability can vary depending on the location and specific brands, but magnesium bisglycinate is commonly found in health food stores, pharmacies, and online retailers.

It is important to note that individual responses to different forms of magnesium may vary, and consulting a healthcare professional is advisable before starting any new supplements.

In conclusion, magnesium is a vital mineral that plays a crucial role in numerous bodily functions. Supplementation with magnesium bisglycinate, a highly absorbable form, may offer distinct advantages over other regular forms of magnesium. By maximizing absorption and minimizing side effects, magnesium bisglycinate provides an efficient and well-tolerated option for individuals aiming to optimize their magnesium intake. When considering magnesium supplements, factors such as absorption, bioavailability, side effects, tolerance, cost, and availability should be taken into account to make an informed choice that aligns with individual needs and preferences.