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Magnesium 101: The Best Types of Magnesium
Providing your body with enough magnesium may require both dietary and supplemental sources, especially if you lead an active lifestyle and lose electrolytes through sweat.
This article will review four different types of magnesium and their influence on your health and athletic performance.
- Magnesium is critical to hundreds of functions in your body.
- Magnesium deficiency can affect many areas of your health.
- There are many different types of magnesium, but not all offer the same benefits.
THE IMPORTANCE OF MAGNESIUM
Magnesium (Mg) is found throughout your entire body. In fact, every cell contains magnesium and needs it to function properly. You can find the majority of your body’s magnesium (approximately 60%) in your bones, while the rest is dispersed between your muscles, soft tissues, and fluids.
Technically, magnesium is an electrolyte, but most of its influence on the human body has very little to do with electric conduction in the body.
Magnesium plays a vital role in many aspects of our health. In fact, it’s involved in over 600 metabolic reactions, including energy production, muscle contraction, nerve function, and blood pressure regulation.
While magnesium is readily available in a variety of whole food sources, research shows that nearly two-thirds of the western population is not consuming the recommended dietary allowance for the essential element.
The recommended dietary allowance for the general population is 400-420mg daily for men and 310-320mg for women 19 years and older. However, the more active you are, the more magnesium you will need.
Recent research pointed out that athletes are not consuming enough magnesium to meet their increased needs. Magnesium can be lost through sweat, meaning your hard-hitting training sessions might be draining your magnesium stores.
Additional research is needed to better understand just how much magnesium athletes need to see potential benefits.
However, one study found that volleyball players who consumed 350mg of magnesium daily saw an improvement in their athletic performance in comparison with the placebo.
TOP 4 MAGNESIUM SUPPLEMENTS
Magnesium plays a significant role in many bodily functions. While it is possible to meet your needs through whole foods alone, it can be difficult due to your body’s absorption rates. Some form of magnesium supplements can be extremely beneficial when trying to increase your intake.
Choosing the best magnesium supplement for your needs can feel overwhelming with so many different forms of magnesium available. To help with your search, this article will focus on four types of magnesium supplements as well as their potential effects on your health.
These top magnesium supplements include magnesium malate, magnesium citrate, magnesium gluconate, and magnesium glycinate.
1) MAGNESIUM MALATE
Magnesium malate is a compound formed by combining magnesium and malic acid. Malic acid can be found in many different foods such as fruits and wine, and it is responsible for their tarte taste.
Magnesium malate is a common form of magnesium supplement often prescribed for chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia.
Based on scientific research, it is believed that this magnesium compound is better absorbed than other types of magnesium supplements. It has a higher bioavailability compared to other Mg preparations in its category.
In addition to its superior absorption, magnesium malate may also have less of a laxative effect on your gastrointestinal system when compared to other magnesium supplements.
You may see supplements with dimagnesium malate as the form of magnesium provided. Dimagnesium malate provides the same benefits as magnesium malate, however, it contains more magnesium by weight.
2) MAGNESIUM CITRATE
Magnesium citrate is simply magnesium bound to citric acid, which is commonly found in citrus fruits.
Research studying Mg citrate found that it is one of the most bioavailable forms of magnesium, meaning it is easily absorbed by the body.
In addition to its superior absorption, magnesium citrate is also highly accessible as one of the most common forms of magnesium sold on the market.
It is typically taken to replenish low magnesium levels, but it also has a natural laxative effect with the ability to treat constipation.
However, taking magnesium citrate for constipation (usually in powder form) may increase the frequency of your bowel movements. Large doses should be limited to a specific time period to prevent unwanted side effects.
3) MAGNESIUM GLUCONATE
Magnesium gluconate is considered a magnesium salt, and it is a popular mineral supplement. It is created by combing magnesium and gluconic acids.
It is a frequently used type of magnesium because it is easily absorbed in the body and it causes less diarrhea than other types of magnesium. Mg gluconate had better absorption rates when compared to other types of magnesium such as magnesium oxide, magnesium chloride, magnesium lactate, and magnesium carbonate.
4) MAGNESIUM GLYCINATE
Magnesium glycinate is formed by combining magnesium with the amino acid glycine. Your body relies on this amino acid for protein synthesis, hence its presence in many protein-rich foods.
Glycine is sometimes taken as a supplement on its own to support healthy sleep patterns and treat certain inflammatory conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. With these mechanisms, magnesium glycinate is said to have calming properties.
When magnesium and the amino acid are combined to form magnesium glycinate, it is believed that the magnesium compound works to calm conditions such as depression, anxiety, insomnia, and stress. There is still a need for more research regarding the extent to which the magnesium supplement helps these conditions, but it certainly is intriguing.
SYMPTOMS OF DEFICIENCY
Often, the importance of magnesium isn’t overly apparent until deficiency symptoms set in.
Common symptoms of deficiency include:
- Muscle cramps
- Increased inflammation
Magnesium helps move blood sugar into the muscle and dispose of lactate, which builds up during exercise and results in muscle soreness. Low magnesium levels can prevent this disposal of lactate, causing sore muscles and fatigue.
If your body cannot get rid of lactate, your workouts might be plagued by feelings of weakness, and you might have a hard time reaching your fitness goals.
Since magnesium is crucial to muscle contractions, inadequate magnesium intake may contribute to muscle cramping.
If your workouts are affected by muscle cramping, you might benefit from increasing your electrolyte intake or consider adding another form of magnesium to your diet.
Maintaining adequate magnesium stores can help prevent muscle cramping and keep you ready to train at your best.
Recent studies have shown a correlation between low magnesium and increased inflammation and oxidative stress in the body.
Magnesium in supplement form can help athletes better manage inflammation and also reduce the risk of chronic health conditions such as cardiovascular disease.
Research has shown a connection between magnesium levels and blood pressure.
Studies have found that some form of magnesium supplementation can actually reduce high blood pressure, meaning it can be used in a preventative manner or as part of a antihypertensive therapy plan.
Adequate magnesium intake also plays a significant role in bone health. In fact, magnesium helps convert vitamin D to its active form in order to improve the calcium absorption required for healthy bones.
For example, low magnesium has shown a connection to increased risk for osteoporosis, a disease that weakens and thins the bones.
In the fitness world, healthy bones are key to maintaining quality, high-intensity training.
HOW TO GET MORE MAGNESIUM IN YOUR DIET
There are many factors that influence your magnesium blood levels. Electrolyte loss, poor absorption, and medication interactions may increase your dietary needs to counteract low levels. But just how do you increase your magnesium intake efficiently and safely?
There are two ways to meet your magnesium needs:
- Food Sources
A well-balanced diet is essential for meeting your magnesium needs. Magnesium-rich foods can be from both plant and animal origins, and you can find a form of magnesium in several different beverages as well.
Generally, foods that provide dietary fiber can be considered good sources of magnesium. The more processing a food undergoes the more nutrients that are removed.
Heavy processing lowers the magnesium content in food unless magnesium is added during the process. For example, magnesium may be added to fortified foods, such as breakfast cereals.
Some common magnesium-rich foods include:
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Black Beans
- Brown Rice
It is important to note, a high-fat diet may decrease the amount of magnesium you absorb from your diet. Overcooking your food may also decrease the amount of magnesium you can absorb.
While there are a variety of magnesium-rich food sources available, only about 30% to 40% of the dietary magnesium you consume is actually absorbed by the body. Enter dietary supplements.
Quality magnesium supplements help to fill the gaps safely and efficiently. Magnesium compounds are available in powder or capsule form, but magnesium pills may also be an option.
It’s important to work with your trusted health professionals to choose the supplement routine that is right for you, but a good place to start your search is with a list of magnesium compounds that are more easily absorbed.
Supplements such as LYTES that provide highly bioavailable forms of magnesium can help prevent or improve low magnesium levels with consistent intake
Options such as magnesium malate, magnesium citrate, magnesium gluconate, and magnesium glycinate are all easily absorbed by the body. Dietary supplements with other forms of the electrolyte, such as magnesium oxide, magnesium hydroxide, and magnesium carbonate all offer the potential to improve your magnesium but may not be as readily absorbed.
Your doctor or registered dietitian can help you choose the type of magnesium that best meets your needs. Pregnant women, women who are breastfeeding, and people with kidney disease or heart disease should especially check with their doctors before adding any type of magnesium supplement to their routine.
Magnesium is a vital nutrient in the human body, playing a role in hundreds of reactions needed for it to function properly.
The best forms of magnesium are:
- Magnesium Malate
- Magnesium Citrate
- Magnesium Gluconate
- Magnesium Glycinate
Although these four forms are great, we choose to use malate due t
Magnesium deficiency, or hypomagnesemia, can cause several unfavorable effects, many of which can affect athletic performance.
Magnesium can be found in both plant and animal foods, but your body only absorbs a fraction of what you consume no matter the source. So, it may be necessary to take a dietary supplement to ensure your body is getting enough magnesium each day.
Whether it’s soaking in a magnesium sulfate bath or ingesting other forms of the nutrient, magnesium supplements can be very important in preventing deficiency and performing at your best athletic level.
There are many types of magnesium. Choosing the right type of magnesium supplement for your needs can depend on several factors. You will want to consider the form of magnesium, the required dose, and the potential side effects related to your individualized health concerns.
There are many other forms of magnesium that did not make the list for this article. These include compounds such as magnesium oxide, magnesium sulfate, magnesium orotate, magnesium threonate, magnesium L-threonate, magnesium taurate, magnesium lactate, and magnesium chelate.
Of course, this article does not take the place of professional medical advice. It is important to remember that every person has different needs and may react differently to each magnesium form. It’s important to talk with your doctor before starting a new supplement to address your individualized needs.