Magnesium is one of the 13 minerals the human body requires to function properly. Your body needs magnesium in order to facilitate around 300 biochemical reactions and support a healthy immune system, among various other functions.
However, not all magnesium is built equally and different types of magnesium can be beneficial in the treatment of various conditions. It can be hard to navigate the supplement aisle when you see all these magnesium products and their name variations, unsure of what they mean.
This article outlines nine of the most common types of magnesium, along with their uses and benefits so that you can choose the right one for your needs.
Let’s get started!
1. Magnesium Malate
Magnesium malate contains malic acid, an acid present in certain fruits. Given its sour, acidic nature, it can be used to enhance certain flavors in food items.
Additionally, it is also absorbed effectively and can serve well to increase low levels of magnesium in the human body. Unlike some types of magnesium, magnesium malate has a minimal laxative effect on the bowels.
2. Magnesium Taurate
Magnesium taurate or magnesium ditaurate refers to the magnesium salt of taurine, an amino acid. This compound has been proven effective in regulating blood sugar levels.
A recent study also suggests that it can help lower blood pressure. This type of supplement is generally recommended for people at an increased risk for cardiovascular issues due to its potential benefits for heart health.
However, be wary of using these supplements as an absolute treatment because research within this area is currently scarce and efficacy may vary.
3. Magnesium Glycinate
Magnesium glycinate is a combination of magnesium and glycine, an amino acid. Like magnesium malate, magnesium glycinate is easily absorbed in the digestive tract and can be helpful in increasing magnesium levels in the body.
While higher doses of other magnesium variants do have the potential to cause side effects, magnesium glycinate is fairly well tolerated. Anecdotal evidence suggests that magnesium glycinate patches and supplements can be helpful in calming individuals with anxiety, high levels of stress, insomnia, and depressive symptoms.
4. Magnesium Citrate
Magnesium citrate refers to the form of magnesium that is bound to citric acid, another fruit acid commonly found in lemons, oranges, and tomatoes.
This is also one of the more bioavailable types of magnesium and can be used to treat magnesium deficiencies. However, it can also create a laxative effect which makes it an effective treatment for people with constipation.
Given its laxative effects, it has been known to cause diarrhea in normal patients as a side effect when consumed. If you are not constipated, but still require a magnesium supplement you might find magnesium malate better suited to your needs.
5. Magnesium Oxide
Magnesium oxide is a salt. This salt is a combination of both magnesium and oxygen and is generally sold in its white, powdered form or in a capsule.
Given its poor absorption rate, it is generally not prescribed for people with magnesium deficiencies. However, it is one of the primary ingredients in milk of magnesia, a laxative that works by drawing water into your intestines.
Magnesium oxide is often used to treat migraines and digestive issues like heartburn and indigestion.
6. Magnesium Sulfate
More commonly referred to as an Epsom salt, magnesium sulfate is a combination of magnesium, sulfur, and oxygen. When consumed orally, magnesium sulfate can be used as a treatment for constipation.
Additionally, Epsom salts are commonly used to alleviate sore muscles, aches, and stress. However, this is done by soaking feet, joints, and the body in bathwater with diluted Epsom salts.
Given its soothing properties, it is a common ingredient in bathing and skincare products.
7. Magnesium Lactate
Magnesium lactate is a combination of magnesium and lactic acid. It is easily absorbed in the gut and tends to have fewer side effects than magnesium variants.
Additionally, it works well as a food additive and is often used as an acidity regulator by food and beverage manufacturers. As a supplement, it is sometimes prescribed to alleviate symptoms of premenstrual syndrome.
8. Magnesium Chloride
This salt is a combination of magnesium and chlorine.
It is typically found in salt lakes and some rivers. As a supplement, it is used in the treatment of heartburn, and magnesium deficiencies, but it is also used in topical ointments to soothe muscles.
9. Magnesium L-Threonate
Magnesium L-threonate or magnesium threonate is a compound of magnesium and threonic acid, a sugar acid derived from the breakdown of ascorbic acid (vitamin C). When consumed, this salt increases the level of magnesium in the brain cells and assists in the improvement of brain function.
It may help in managing certain brain conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, depression, and other cognitive issues including memory loss. Some side effects include dizziness, headaches, and the sensation of increased blood flow towards the head.
What Types of Magnesium Are Right for Your Needs?
Magnesium serves various functions in the human body including protein formation, gene maintenance, and energy creation. However, in supplement form, it can be used to treat and manage constipation, anxiety, and other cognitive ailments. When dissolved, certain types of magnesium can also help soothe aching joints and sore muscles.
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