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Different types of magnesium supplements

Magnesium is one of the most abundant minerals in our body and 50% of magnesium is located in our bones. Magnesium, similar to zinc, is a necessary cofactor for more than 300 biochemical reactions in our body. This includes ordinary processes, such as muscle building, maintaining nerve function, keeping a healthy heartbeat and sustaining optimal immune system function.

There are different types of magnesium supplements used for alleviating or circumventing differently chronic conditions and it can get quite confusing. 

For magnesium to be absorbed well in our body it requires a transporting agent.  For this reason, many supplement manufacturers have “chelated” magnesium to organic and amino acids. A few of these include magnesium oxide, magnesium sulphate and magnesium carbonate. Quality depends on the amount of magnesium in the supplement and how bioavailable it is. Bioavailability refers to the amount of magnesium in the supplement that can be assimilated by the digestive system and used for cellular activity and health benefits.

These are the type you may come across

  • Magnesium Amino Acid Chelate - A mineral chelate form of magnesium containing an ion of magnesium oxide connected to a mixture of some other form of amino acid. This could be a lactate, a glycine, aspartate or arginate, etc. The best chelated amino acid form of magnesium is aspartate or arginate.

  • Magnesium Oxide - Also referred to as “Magnesia”, is commonly used therapeutically as a laxative and relief for acid reflux. This type of magnesium shows high levels of concentration, but poor levels of bioavailability (only 4%).

  • Magnesium Citrate - Derivative of magnesium salt from citric acid.  This form of magnesium has lower concentration, but a high level of bioavailability (90%).  This type of magnesium is often used to induce a bowel movement, but has also been studied for kidney stone prevention.

  • Magnesium Orotate – Possibly the most effective form of magnesium supplement, created through the use of the mineral salts of orotic acid. Both plants and animals use orotates to create DNA and RNA. Extensive scientific research shows orotates can penetrate cell membranes, enabling the effective delivery of the magnesium ion to the innermost layers of the cellular mitochondria and nucleus. Magnesium orotate contains many properties that can help protect your health, while offering your cells the most readily absorbable form of magnesium.

  • Magnesium Chloride - A form of magnesium showing moderate concentrations, but higher levels of bioavailability when compared to magnesium oxide.

  • Magnesium Lactate - This type of magnesium shows moderate concentrations, but higher levels of bioavailability as compared to magnesium oxide. Magnesium lactate is a mineral supplement that is often used for treating digestive issues. Magnesium lactate should be avoided by those suffering from kidney disease or kidney-related issues.

  • Magnesium Sulphate - An inorganic form of magnesium with an elemental concentration of 10% and lower levels of bioavailability. Magnesium sulphate contains magnesium and sulphur and oxygen; You might know it as Epsom Salt.

  •  Magnesium Carbonate - This form of magnesium has moderate levels of elemental concentration and 30% bioavailability rates. Magnesium carbonate has a strong laxative-effect when taken in high amounts. It is also commonly known as chalk.

  • Magnesium Glycinate, Malate & Taurates - Chelated forms of magnesium are less concentrated, but the magnesium in them is in a much more bioavailable form. All three types of magnesium have a variety of uses, but none are as medically beneficial as those listed above.

A magnesium supplement is best taken with calcium.

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