Magnesium is a very popular supplement and for good reason. It’s an essential mineral needed for basic human function yet deficiency is extremely common. So widespread, in fact, it’s estimated 80% of the population is magnesium deficient. Eighty percent! You are likely to be included in that figure and you may not even know it. Before you scramble for a supplement you’ll want to read this. In this post, I’ll be walking you through the top 5 magnesium supplements for oral supplementation. To help you to choose which supplement is best for you we’ll look at the benefits of the different types and where you can get your hands on them.
Why is magnesium deficiency so common?
Fun fact! Humans cannot make magnesium. We must take it in through external sources like food and water. Unfortunately, food sources of magnesium are lacking due to modern farming practices and poor diets so eating more of right stuff isn’t necessarily gonna cut it. Pesticides deplete the soils while genetically modifying the crops themselves meaning they lack nutrients, magnesium included. The water is lacking magnesium due to chlorination and the chemical treatment process. Do you see the problem here? The sooner we get back to organic farming on small neighbourhood scales and reject the pesticide filled crap the sooner we get healthier as a people. Until then, there’s supplementation. The key is to take the best-absorbed forms of magnesium to ensure you get the most out of your supplements.
Why do we need magnesium?
Magnesium is needed for over 300 chemical reactions within the body. Of course, I won’t list all of those here instead here is a snapshot of the roles which magnesium plays an important part:
- Cardiovascular health
- Cognitive function
- Quality sleep
- Efficient muscle function
- Energy production
- Mood stabilising and enhancing
- Balances hormones
- Healthy Gut
That is a pretty impressive list yet that’s just the tip of the iceberg and so are vital to health. With deficiency so widespread it’s little wonder disease and illness is everywhere we look. Heart disease, insomnia, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, depression, leaky gut. All these ailments are so common yet no one is talking about magnesium as a potential fix. Or at the very least to help relieve symptoms. Why? Perhaps one reason is that magnesium is mainly stored in the bones and within cells so levels cannot be accurately measured. However, with the havoc deficiency is known to cause on health measuring levels isn’t always necessary. One just needs to look
at the presenting symptoms. Then again, there is no money in health for big pharma so it’s up to us to take action and look after ourselves.
The best type of magnesium for oral supplementation
Not all magnesium supplements are made equal; there are different types. Magnesium oxide and magnesium citrate are commonly found on the supplement market but neither of these is well absorbed by the body. Furthermore, citrate forms are often poorly tolerated and have laxative effects. Many bathroom trips and upset tummies could be avoided if we were better informed of different types available. This is where I am going help you and save you having to do doing extensive research, meaning you gain optimum results from your magnesium supplement faster. The best forms of oral magnesium for maximum absorption from is gained from chelates. Magnesium chelates are generally much better tolerated because they are gentle on the gut. No unexpected trips to the bathroom then!
Chelated magnesium is bonded to an amino acid containing nitrogen. It’s a costly process reflected in the price but allows for the best absorption of your supplement, so on balance, it’s absolutely worth it. The bioavailability of magnesium chelates and gentleness on the tummy make them the most appealing supplements on the market.
Top 5 Magnesium Supplements: The Chelates
Yes, a lot of “ates”. These are not the only chelated forms of magnesium but they are some of the most widely available with some impressive benefits to match. Which is right for you depends on what you hope to achieve by using it. Let’s have a look at each in a little more detail.
Why consider Magnesium Glycinate?
- Gentle on the gut
- Promotes calm and relaxation
- Promotes quality sleep
- Stabilise and improve mood
- Promotes energy production
- Regulates neurotransmitters for brain health
Recommended most often for those with known magnesium deficiency, magnesium glycinate is highly absorbable and happens to be the gentlest on the tummy. The threat of loose stools is much less likely with glycinate. Glycinate promotes calm and relaxation making it a good choice for insomnia sufferers and studies have shown it to improve sleep. According to Jonathan Prousky author of “The Vitamin Cure For Chronic Fatigue Syndrome” magnesium glycinate is a good choice for relieving symptoms in those suffering chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia.
Why consider magnesium malate?
- Energy boosting
- Enhances stamina
- Reduce muscle fatigue
- Promotes oral health
- Brain enhancing “smart drug”
Malic acid naturally occurs in fruit which happens to maintain oral hygiene by encouraging saliva production and keeping harmful bacteria in the mouth under control. Whoever said fruit is sugary and bad for your teeth Rather, this seems the perfect excuse to eat more organic fruits! Malic acid also plays a vital role in reversing muscle fatigue and overall muscle performance and reduces tiredness while boosting energy levels. Fitness enthusiasts through to bodybuilders may find themselves attracted to magnesium malate for its ability to naturally enhance physical performance. Magnesium malate is, therefore, a potent combination and considered a nootropic (smart ‘drug’) in its ability to boost mental clarity. Students will no doubt find that aspect appealing as well as those who are looking to boost their brain power. Malate promotes the production of energy ATP – adenosine triphosphate and has the potential to help relieve the symptoms associated with chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia.
Why consider Orotate?
- Cardiovascular health
- Regulate blood pressure
- Enhance physical performance
- Improve sleep
This chelate includes orotic acid, a naturally occurring acid known for boosting cardiovascular health. It can reduce blood pressure and even prevent it hypertension altogether. If you are already taking medication for high blood pressure talk to your healthcare professional before embarking on a magnesium orotate journey. You’ll want to make sure your blood pressure is monitored and medication is as required. Orotate may be able to help you increase athletic performance as research shows orotate improves exercise tolerance and increases energy levels. It can also greatly improve sleep, so if sleep is something you struggle with magnesium orotate may be the supplement for you.
Consider Taurate for
- Reducing risk of heart attack
- Balancing electrolytes
- Migraine prevention
- Immune function
- Cognitive impairment
This form of magnesium is bonded to amino acid taurine. Studies on taurine have shown it is effective in significantly reducing the risk of heart attack as well as balancing electrolytes, promoting immune function, relieving depression, preventing migraines and neurological degeneration. Geez! This list of potential benefits makes orotate an attractive all-rounder in many respects. Magnesium taurate may be particularly useful older people who are at risk of or are already showing signs of cognitive degeneration or dementia.
Why consider L-Threonate?
- Promote mental clarity
- Nootropic “smart drug”
- Improve short-term memory
L-Threonate is a fairly new form of magnesium to the market and the only chelate mentioned in this post with a patent. As such it is considered synthetic. Developed as a form of magnesium easily absorbed by the brain, L-Threonate is said to improve cognitive function, improve short-term memory and alertness and marketed as a nootropic (brain enhancer). Are you a student? Or just want to up your game and improve your brain? L-Threonate is likely to appeal to you. It is also useful to those with cognitive impairment.
A Note About Magnesium Chloride – Another Powerful Tool
Magnesium chloride is the only form of magnesium has been found to match or surpass the absorption and bioavailability of magnesium chelates. While it doesn’t come as an oral supplement it is perfect for transdermal use and is highly effective. I feel I’d be doing you a disservice if I didn’t mention it! The body needs chloride to produce the digestive enzyme, hydrochloric acid to break down proteins and aid the absorption of vitamin B-12. Could it be that magnesium deficiency is an underlying cause of vitamin B-12 deficiency? I’d love to hear your experiences on this if you have any.
Naturally occurring in seawater topping up your magnesium chloride level is the perfect excuse for a regular dip in the ocean. Don’t worry if that’s not an option, magnesium chloride is readily available to purchase as flakes, lotion or magnesium oil spray. Frequent and consistent use will provide the same benefits. Don’t spray or apply regularly? Consider taking an oral magnesium chelate supplement alongside transdermal use.
If you’re looking to detox at a cellular level and purify tissue you should seriously consider magnesium chloride flakes. It’s highly effective in drawing toxins out via the skin and banishes stagnant energies from the body.
But what about Epsom Salts?
Epsom Salts are magnesium sulphate. I bet you’ve had someone recommend an Epsom salt bath for reducing muscle aches and pains. There are many who swear by them. Funnily enough, I couldn’t find any science to back up the advantages of using Epsom salts but they are spoken of highly of by holistic practitioners. I’ll admit I occasionally enjoy an Epsom salt bath too. While magnesium sulphate won’t do you any harm it is less advantageous than its chloride form. Sulphate must first be converted to chlorides before our body can use it in any case. Magnesium chloride is a better choice if you’re on a budget but Epsom salts have their uses too! Having both isn’t a bad thing. The choice as always is yours.
Magnesium Chelates – The Best Oral Supplements
Magnesium is absolutely essential for optimum health and wellbeing and deficiency is as common as a cold. Even if we eat well, soil depletion makes it’s possible we are lacking in magnesium. When it comes to spending on supplements you want to know you’re buying something worthwhile. In terms of an oral magnesium supplement, avoid poorly absorbed forms of magnesium like oxide. They are cheap but not the best investment of cash in my opinion. After all, if you can’t absorb the supplement there’s no point in taking it. In order to get the best from your oral magnesium supplement; I’d highly recommend a chelated form from my top five ‘ates’ – glycinate, malate, orotate, taurate and L-Threonate. I hope you have found this post useful, if you have any questions about magnesium supplements let me know below, I’ll be happy to get back to you.
Ready to take action and start supplementing magnesium? How have you benefitted from supplementing magnesium? Let me know your experiences below.
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Bannai M, Kawai N. New therapeutic strategy for amino acid medicine: glycine improves the quality of sleep. J Pharmacol Sci. 2012;118(2):145-8.