If you've ever experienced muscle cramps, trouble falling asleep, or irregular heart rhythm, then you may have heard of magnesium supplementation as a possible solution.
This essential mineral is vital for the energy metabolism of literally every cell in your body. A deficiency can lead to a wide range of unpleasant symptoms.
What's more, Magnesium is arguably the most commonly deficient mineral in modern western diets, so adding it as a supplement is always a great idea.
Yet, not all magnesium formulations are created equal, and choosing the best one may be pretty challenging. Unfortunately, many supplements on the market contain magnesium oxide, which is poorly absorbed and often leads to diarrhea.
One exception is Magnesium Bisglycinate which is widely considered the most absorbable and well-tolerated form of Magnesium.
This article will help you learn more about the benefits of this unique mineral and the advantages of magnesium glycinate over other supplement formulations.
What is Magnesium Bisglycinate?
The name Bisglycinate comes from a molecule consisting of a magnesium atom connected to two glycine molecules.
Glycine is an organic molecule and the smallest amino acid in the human body. Therefore, Magnesium glycinate is a relatively small, organic, and easily absorbed compound.
Thanks to its small size, studies have shown that magnesium bisglycinate can easily pass into most tissues and reach all organs that need the micronutrient, including the brain (1).
Magnesium glycinate can also deliver a relatively large amount of elemental Magnesium with every dose - 14% of the molecule's mass is elemental Magnesium.
Thus, a 1000 mg serving size of magnesium glycinate will provide you with 141 mg of your daily value.
The recommended daily value of Magnesium is about 6 mg per kilogram of your body weight. That is slightly over 300 mg for women and 400 mg for men.
Taking higher doses of magnesium glycinate is safe as it has excellent absorption and a low risk of causing diarrhea. Any excess is effectively excreted by the kidneys (2). Consult with your doctor if you have a condition affecting your kidneys' function.
Toxicity may occur when the dose is more than 10x above the recommended limit - over 5 000 mg daily.
What are the different types of Magnesium?
Magnesium glycinate is one of the many forms of magnesium salts in supplements.
Other forms of organic and inorganic magnesium salts include:
Inorganic magnesium compounds such as magnesium oxide are the most common forms found in supplements.
However, as a rule of thumb, inorganic Magnesium is poorly absorbed by the human digestive system.
One of the signs of poor magnesium absorption is diarrhea. That is because unabsorbed Magnesium is an osmotic laxative. Moreover, many of the organic salts can also lead to laxative effects.
For example, the organic molecule of magnesium citrate has 4-times higher bioavailability than magnesium oxide (3). However, high amounts of magnesium citrate can also lead to diarrhea as an adverse reaction.
Magnesium glycinate stands out from the rest because it carries the lowest risk of digestive issues.
Studies have shown that when Magnesium is bound to 2 glycine molecules, the compound's absorption is significantly better than magnesium oxide and remains sufficient even in patients who have undergone intestinal surgery and resection (4).
Why do I need to supplement with Magnesium?
Magnesium is vital to many physiological functions and is a cofactor for over 300 metabolic reactions (5). But even if you strive to eat a balanced diet, it can be pretty challenging to get enough Magnesium from food alone.
Nuts are one of the few foods containing high amounts of this mineral, but they also contain anti-nutrients like phytic acid that block magnesium absorption (6).
Other viable options, such as wheat, rice, and corn, are usually depleted of up to 97% of their mineral content due to modern processing and refining methods (7).
As a result, scientists report that around 48% of the US population consumes less than the recommended amount of Magnesium in food (8).
Prolonged insufficient intake of Magnesium can lead to a deficiency. Research has estimated that the condition affects up to 30% of individuals in developed countries (9).
Several scenarios and conditions may put you at a higher risk of deficiency (10). These include:
If you are physically active, like an athlete, you are at an increased risk of deficiency due to a higher loss of Magnesium during perspiration. Therefore, experts suggest that your magnesium needs increase by an additional 20% after intensive exercise (11).
Those with diabetes also experience increased magnesium losses. Yet, the extra Magnesium is lost via the urine because hyperglycemia stimulates the kidney to excrete more of this mineral (12).
Patients with eating disorders, addictions, and other conditions that may lead to malnourishment are also at risk for magnesium deficiency.
A magnesium deficit may also occur due to reduced absorption in patients who have gastrointestinal problems. Many gastrointestinal conditions can cause diarrhea and malabsorption, and magnesium deficiency is one of the most common consequences.
Older adults experience reduced intestinal ability to absorb Magnesium and increased magnesium loss via the kidneys. Therefore, experts recommend magnesium supplementation in all elderly individuals (13).
What are the symptoms of a magnesium deficit?
Unfortunately, magnesium deficiency often remains hidden and untreated. That is because the condition's symptoms are nonspecific, and medical doctors rarely assign magnesium tests for these complaints.
Even if they do, research suggests that serum concentration of Magnesium within the normal reference range does not exclude a deficiency (14).
The typical symptoms of magnesium deficiency are usually mild. They include fatigue, muscle cramps, restless leg syndrome, loss of appetite, nausea, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), vertigo, and palpitations (15).
Severe deficiency can disrupt the electrolyte balance in the body, such as hypocalcemia or hypokalemia. These conditions can cause life-threatening arrhythmia and bone loss.
What are the benefits of taking Magnesium glycinate?
There are seven main areas in which magnesium supplementation may be beneficial.
Benefits for cardiovascular health
Magnesium is currently one of the medications used to manage some forms of ventricular arrhythmias, especially in patients with electrolyte imbalance (16).
That is because Magnesium reduces the excitability of the cardiac muscle. Moreover, the mineral may help prevent sudden death in those patients.
In addition, there is evidence suggesting that magnesium supplementation may help reduce hypertension and the risk of heart attack or stroke.
For example, a large meta-analysis reports that magnesium supplementation can slightly reduce blood pressure in the general population by about two mmHg (17).
According to another meta-analysis, the reduction may be more significant when accounting only for studies with hypertensive participants (18).
Two meta-analyses also report about 30% reduced risk of heart disease and 8% reduced risk of stroke after long-term magnesium supplementation (19, 20).
Benefits of Magnesium for bone health
Magnesium is involved in bone formation and resorption, vitamin D synthesis, parathyroid hormone production, and osteocalcin levels. Therefore, adequate magnesium levels are imperative for optimal bone health.
Several randomized controlled trials have found that magnesium supplementation can increase bone mineral density in younger individuals and those at a higher risk of osteoporosis (21, 22).
Type 2 diabetes
Patients with diabetes are at a higher risk for magnesium deficiency, worsening their glycemic control. The mechanism via which Magnesium improves glycemic control is likely related to insulin production and sensitivity.
Supplementation with Magnesium in those who have type 2 diabetes but are not yet on insulin therapy has been shown to reduce blood sugar levels and improve blood glucose control (23, 24).
Furthermore, a meta-analysis of extensive prospective studies, which included more than half a million participants in total, reported that a higher intake of Magnesium correlates with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes (25).
Effects of magnesium supplementation during pregnancy
Magnesium deficiency is considered to be one of the risk factors for preeclampsia and eclampsia during pregnancy. Those are life-threatening conditions that are specific to pregnant women.
Therefore, researchers recommend magnesium supplementation to reduce the risk of these diseases (26).
Moreover, the mineral can act as an anticonvulsant and help manage severe cases of preeclampsia and eclampsia (27).
Magnesium supplementation may also help reduce the severity and frequency of uterine contractions. Still, it does not appear effective in preventing preterm labor (28).
Does Magnesium help reduce migraines?
Scientists have discovered that individuals suffering from migraine generally have lower magnesium levels in their serum and tissues. Therefore, magnesium supplementation has been widely studied for possible beneficial effects in those patients.
Several randomized studies report that supplementing with up to 600 mg of Magnesium a day can lead to a moderate symptom reduction in people with migraine (29).
The American Academy of Neurology and the American Headache Society guidelines also state that magnesium therapy is "probably effective" for migraine prevention (30).
Magnesium deficiency has been found to reduce sleep quality in both younger and older adults (31).
That is because it plays a significant role in regulating the activity of the autonomic nervous system and the production of various hormones and neurotransmitters in the brain (32).
Research suggests Magnesium activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps your brain relax and switch from "fight or flight" to "rest and digest" mode.
It also stimulates the production of the sleep hormone melatonin. It triggers the receptors of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in your brain.
GABA is a neurotransmitter in your brain which reduces excitability and helps your nervous system relax.
Does Magnesium help regulate mood?
One of magnesium supplementation's latest and most researched aspects is its effect on mood.
According to the research, the mineral favors different neuromediators in the brain, reducing depressive symptoms.
Several meta-analyses, the largest of which included 58 studies, have shown that magnesium supplementation is associated with a lower risk of depression, reduced symptoms of depression, and improved mood (33, 34, 35, 36).
However, it is important to note that not all magnesium salts can penetrate the blood-brain barrier and reach the central nervous system to express any beneficial effects.
Thanks to its small molecular size, magnesium glycinate can easily pass the barrier to help improve mood and symptoms of depression.
What to look for in a Magnesium supplement?
When choosing a magnesium glycinate supplement, using a single-ingredient product is preferable to using a multivitamin.
That is because most multivitamins have a relatively low amount of Magnesium. On top of that, there is a risk for competitive absorption between Magnesium and other nutrients.
For example, combining Magnesium with zinc may lead to poor absorption of both minerals. Studies have shown that high zinc levels block magnesium absorption and may even disrupt the magnesium balance in the body (37).
Although magnesium supplementation has beneficial effects on bone health and vitamin D levels, studies suggest that high amounts of calcium can block the absorption of Magnesium when taken together (38).
Furthermore, it would be best if you always went for magnesium supplements manufactured in the USA, which undergo 3rd party testing.
For example, Magnesium Bisglycinate by Nutririse guarantees maximum product quality through rigorous in-house and third-party testing.
Every batch is tested three times during the manufacturing process and then by an independent 3rd party organization a fourth time!
This also guarantees that the supplement is free of binders, fillers, preservatives, and gluten. NutriRise's Magnesium contains:
The product is manufactured in a GMP-Certified facility. Each serving provides you with an optimal dose of 495 mg of elemental Magnesium, which is safe and sufficient to replenish your daily needs completely.
Note: This article is for informational purposes only, and not intended for use as medical advice. Always consult your healthcare provider before starting any dietary supplement.