Magnesium is the most abundant mineral in the body. At the same time it is typically the most deficient. This makes sense since 50% is needed for bone health with additional magnesium required for over 300 biochemical reactions in the body.
Magnesium is critical within the nervous system and skeletal and cardiac muscle operations. It should be no surprise then that a deficiency in this critical mineral results in difficulty handling stress, sleep and increases overall weakness.
But how are you going to know which form to use?
For sleep and stress, the overwhelming choice is magnesium glycinate. We have made a checklist of common forms of magnesium for an easy to use reference:
Magnesium is an ion and the chelated forms have been chemically attached to an amino acid. These compounds typically improve absorption like magnesium glycinate, lactate, aspartate, malate, taurate, etc.
This is a very common form and when people complain that magnesium gives them diarrhea, this is the form they are consuming. This application is mainly as a laxative. This is the most common form in supplements as it is cheap and has a very low absorption rate. Good quality supplements will not use this form.
This is formed when magnesium is treated with citric acid to form a salt. It has a lower concentration of magnesium, but is high in bioavailability. This is also used as a laxative with the benefit of aiding kidney stone passage.
Like magnesium citrate this is a salt that is formed in the presence of orotic acid. This is easily the most expensive form of magnesium and is occasionally marketed as having the highest bioavailability with the added benefit of easy cell membrane passage. There is no scientific proof of this and savvy shoppers would be smart to avoid this form.
This is a very effective form of magnesium and is helpful in supporting electrolyte balance. It is also helpful in detoxification, though too much can cause nausea.
Often employed when treating digestive issues. This should be avoided with individuals having kidney related problems.
This commonly goes by the name of Epsom Salt™ It has a low level of magnesium and low absorption rates as well. It’s mostly used in therapeutic baths to relieve muscle tension and inflammation.
This is chalk and is a drying agent. This can be used as a laxative though citrate is preferable.
This magnesium has the highest bioavailability and is the most readily absorbed form. The glycinate is also optimal in applications for sleep and stress. Magnesium glycinate has been shown to improve secretion of melatonin aiding in returning individuals to their normal circadian rhythms. It is also thought of as a mood elevator because of its influence in serotonin melatonin secretion.
This form is most often used as an excipient (additive) in supplements. It is used as a flow agent to make the powders flow easily through manufacturing equipment. Some have speculated that it reduces t-cell count in the immune system, but the science seems somewhat inconclusive. This form of magnesium should be avoided just in case.