Spotlight: Magnesium


Almost 50% of Americans do not meet the recommended daily intake of magnesium. Why care? It's necessary for heart health, important muscle function, essential for proper brain function, and acts as a mediator in a multitude of biochemical reactions vital for living (such as forming bones and playing a role in diabetes). With this, most people have been told by their medical doctors to simply "get magnesium". But, not all magnesiums are made the same - some are better for constipation, others can support brain function, and others are targeted towards heart health and muscle functioning. I've made it simple for you, and wrote up the 6 main types of magnesiums found in the market today and what they're usually used for. I've also listed other factors that can increase or reduce oral magnesium absorption. So, make sure to #bookmark this one - it's your magnesium bible.



Magnesium oxide

Research shows that this form of magnesium is the least absorbed form. Therefore, it has a greater tendency than the other forms listed below to stay in the intestinal space, which could mean it being more beneficial for constipation.


Magnesium citrate

Research indicates that magnesium citrate has higher bioavailability than magnesium oxide. How is this determined? Studies indicate that since magnesium citrate has better solubility than magnesium oxide, it becomes better absorbed than magnesium oxide. Animal studies also indicate that organic-acid magnesiums (citrate, gluconate, aspartate) are better absorbed than inorganic-acid magnesium (magnesium oxide). I like to think of this one as the form of magnesium that is beneficial for both constipation and cellular nourishment. So, if you want to target both intestinal and cellular wellness, I would consider supplementing with this form of magnesium.


Magnesium aspartate

Research indicates that magnesium aspartate is better absorbed than magnesium oxide in healthy volunteers, but that aspartate has great or equivalent absorption rate as magnesium lactate and magnesium chloride. Since this is better absorbed, it has the potential to have less intestinal effects and more cellular effects.


Magnesium gluconate

An animal study that compared the intestinal absorption rates of oral magnesium oxide, chloride, sulphate, carbonate, acetate, citrate, gluconate, lactate, and aspartate showed that magnesium gluconate exbhitied the highest rate of absorption. Researchers also indicate that amino acid chelates of magnesium (gluconate, aspartate) have higher bioavailabilities than magnesium oxide. As with aspartate above, since this is better absorbed, it will have less intestinal effects than magnesium oxide. This form of magnesium will also have greater cellular effects than citrate and aspartate above.


Magnesium glycinate (aka magnesium bisglycinate)

Human studies show that magnesium glycerinate exhibited higher absorption rates than magnesium oxide in volunteers with ileum resection. Research also indicates that this form of magnesium is superior than other forms of magnesium for migraines.



This new type of magnesium has been shown to cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB)  in animal models. Studies show that this magnesium form improves learning and memory in animal models and that it increased magnesium levels in the cerebrospinal fluid when compared to magnesium chloride, indicating that it can cross the BBB.



Factors that influence magnesium absorption: age, intestinal dysfunction, dosage, foods taken with magnesium, & supplements taken with magnesium

Age: Animal models show that the older subjects became, the lower the rate of magnesium absorption.

Intestinal dysfunction: Research indicate that individuals with chronic intestinal inflammation (IBD, Crohn's, Ulcerative Colitis) have impaired intestinal absorption. With this, individuals with these conditions have a tendency to show reduced levels of vital minerals in their bodies.

Dosage: Studies show that when magnesium is taken at a large quantity at once, absorption rates are reduced when compared to taking lower doses of magnesium throughout the day.

Foods & nutrients that stimulate absorption: Studies show that higher protein intake is associated with increased magnesium absorption when compared to lower protein intake. Other studies indicate that medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) and specific carbohydrates (resistant starches and inulin) stimulated intestinal magnesium absorption. MCTs could possibly stimulate absorption by increasing the amount of soluble magnesium in the intestinal space.

Foods & nutrients that inhibit absorption: Nutrients and minerals that research shows to inhibit magnesium absorption are phosphorus, iron, copper, manganese, zinc, oxalic acid (from brassicas), and phytic acid (from grains). 



There ya' go. Now you've got the information on how to hack you health and wellness by carefully choosing the type of magnesium to add into your daily supplement ritual. Comment below and let me know which magnesiums you've tried in the past and how they worked out for you. And, as always, any shares of this post would be greatly appreciated! And, if you ever need and professional guidance to help you curate the best supplement ritual to target your health and wellness goals, don't hesitate to book an appointment with me at Jupiter.



Dr. B







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Schuchardt, Jan Philipp, and Andreas Hahn. “Intestinal Absorption and Factors Influencing Bioavailability of Magnesium- An Update.” Current Nutrition & Food Science, vol. 13, no. 4, 2017, doi:10.2174/1573401313666170427162740.

Schuette, Sally A., et al. “Bioavailability of Magnesium Diglycinate vs Magnesium Oxide in Patients with Ileal Resection.” Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition, vol. 18, no. 5, 1994, pp. 430–435., doi:10.1177/0148607194018005430.

Slutsky, Inna, et al. “Enhancement of Learning and Memory by Elevating Brain Magnesium.” Neuron, vol. 65, no. 2, 2010, pp. 165–177., doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2009.12.026.

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DISCLAIMER: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. There are no financial ties to any supplement companies, pharmaceutical companies, or to any of the products mentioned in this post. This post is not meant to treat, cure, prevent, or diagnose conditions or diseases and is meant for educational purposes. As always, please consult your doctor before trying any new treatments or supplements.