The Complete Guide to Supplemental Magnesium

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The Pure TheraPro Team

The Pure TheraPro Education Team is comprised of researchers from diverse backgrounds including nutrition, functional medicine, fitness, supplement formulation & food science. All articles have been reviewed for content, accuracy, and compliance by a holistic integrative nutritionist certified by an accredited institution.
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Magnesium is a crucial mineral that plays a significant role in maintaining the health and functionality of the human body. It is involved in over 300 enzymatic reactions that regulate various biochemical processes, including muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, and blood pressure regulation. Magnesium is an essential nutrient that we obtain through our diet because our bodies cannot produce it. It is the ninth most abundant element in the universe and is found in various natural sources such as vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, fish, and legumes.

There's a reason thousands of people are searching Google every month for the following: "best form of magnesium for anxiety," "best form of magnesium for sleep," "best form of magnesium for muscle cramps," and "best form of magnesium for heart health." These searches highlight the widespread interest and importance of magnesium in addressing various health concerns.

Biological Role of Magnesium

  • Magnesium in Human Physiology

    • Cellular Functions: Magnesium is vital for cellular health, contributing to the structural development of bones and the synthesis of DNA, RNA, and antioxidants. It helps maintain the stability of cell membranes and supports the function of ion channels.
    • Enzymatic Reactions: Magnesium acts as a cofactor for many enzymes, assisting in processes such as energy production, protein synthesis, and muscle contraction. It is particularly important in the conversion of food into energy (ATP).

  • Magnesium and Bone Health

Magnesium is essential for bone formation, as it helps regulate calcium levels, which is crucial for bone health. Approximately 60% of the body's magnesium is found in the bones, contributing to their structure and strength.

  • Magnesium and Muscle Function

Magnesium plays a critical role in muscle function, including muscle relaxation and contraction. It helps prevent muscle cramps and spasms and is important for athletic performance and recovery.

  • The Nervous System and Magnesium

Magnesium helps to maintain the electrical potential of neurons. This is essential for the proper functioning of nerve cells, as it allows them to generate and transmit electrical impulses. These impulses are the primary means of communication within the nervous system, enabling the brain to process information and control bodily functions.

Health Benefits of Magnesium

    • Cardiovascular Health

      • Blood Pressure Regulation: Magnesium supports the maintenance of healthy blood pressure levels. It helps relax blood vessels, which can reduce the risk of hypertension.
      • Heart Rhythm and Function: Magnesium is important for maintaining a healthy heart rhythm. It supports the electrical conduction system of the heart, ensuring proper heartbeat regulation.

    • Metabolic Health

      • Blood Sugar Control: Magnesium helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels by aiding in insulin production and glucose metabolism. It supports the body's ability to regulate blood sugar, which is crucial for preventing metabolic disorders.

        • Weight Management: Magnesium supports healthy weight management by influencing metabolic processes and energy production. 

      • Mental Health

        • Anxiety and Depression: Magnesium supports a healthy mood and outlook. It plays a role in neurotransmitter function and is heavily implicated in how we feel every day, physically & mentally.
          • Sleep Improvement: Magnesium supports healthy sleep cycles by regulating neurotransmitters that influence sleep and relaxation. It helps maintain a balanced sleep-wake cycle.

        Different Forms of Magnesium

        Magnesium supplements come in various forms, each with different absorption rates and benefits. Understanding the different forms can help you choose the right supplement to meet your specific health needs.

        Form of Magnesium

        Recommended Use


        Magnesium Oxide

        General supplementation, laxative

        High magnesium content, low bioavailability, can cause digestive upset

        Magnesium Citrate

        Relief of constipation, general supplementation

        Good bioavailability, can cause digestive upset

        Magnesium Lysinate


        General supplementation, especially for sensitive stomachs

        Highest absorption & bioavailability, gentle on the stomach (one of our favorites)

        Magnesium Sulfate

        Epsom salt baths, relief of constipation

        Low bioavailability, often used in bath salts, can cause digestive upset if ingested

        Magnesium Malate

        Support for energy production and muscle health

        Excellent bioavailability, good for energy production and muscle function (one of our favorites)

        Magnesium L-Threonate

        Cognitive function, brain health (one of our favorites)

        High bioavailability, known for its cognitive benefits, shown to cross blood-brain barrier

        Magnesium Chloride

        Topical applications, general supplementation

        High bioavailability, often used in topical products, may cause skin irritation

        Magnesium Taurate

        Supports cardiovascular health

        Moderate bioavailability, supports cardiovascular health

        Magnesium Carbonate

        Digestive support, antacid

        Moderate bioavailability, good for digestive issues, can cause bloating

        Magnesium Aspartate

        Energy production, athletic performance

        High bioavailability, supports energy production

        Magnesium Lactate

        Gentle on the stomach, general supplementation

        Moderate bioavailability, gentle on the stomach


        Types of Magnesium Supplements

        Magnesium Citrate Liquid: An Effective Option?

        Magnesium citrate liquid is a widely used supplement known for its high absorption rate and effectiveness in quickly replenishing magnesium levels in the body. The combination of magnesium with citric acid enhances its bioavailability, making it easier for the digestive system to absorb compared to some other forms. This form of magnesium is particularly beneficial for individuals who have difficulty swallowing pills or need a rapid increase in magnesium due to deficiency. Additionally, magnesium citrate liquid is commonly used as a laxative to relieve constipation by drawing water into the intestines, which can help induce bowel movements.

        However, despite its benefits, magnesium citrate liquid can often cause digestive upset, including diarrhea and stomach cramps, due to its strong laxative effect. This makes it less suitable for long-term use as a daily magnesium supplement, as prolonged use can lead to dependency and disrupt normal bowel function. Therefore, it is generally recommended for occasional relief of constipation rather than daily supplementation. 

        Are Magnesium Gummies Effective?

        Magnesium gummies have become a popular choice for those seeking a convenient and tasty way to increase their magnesium intake. They are particularly appealing to individuals who dislike swallowing pills or have trouble doing so. The gummy form makes them easy to consume, and they often come in a variety of flavors, making them more palatable compared to traditional magnesium tablets or capsules.

        However, the convenience of magnesium gummies comes with some drawbacks. Almost all gummy supplements contain binders that may bind up the vitamins and minerals, flavors (often artificial), coloring (often artificial), and sugar. These additives can inhibit the absorption of magnesium, reducing the overall effectiveness of the supplement. The presence of sugar and artificial ingredients might also be a concern for individuals with dietary restrictions or those who are mindful of their sugar intake. Additionally, the actual magnesium content in gummies is generally much lower than in other supplement forms, which means more gummies need to be consumed to meet the daily recommended intake, potentially leading to higher sugar consumption (and a higher cost to you).

        While they can be a fun and easy way to get magnesium, gummies should not be relied upon as the sole source of supplementation, especially for individuals with higher magnesium needs or those managing specific health conditions.

        Magnesium Powders

        Magnesium powders are a versatile option for those looking to supplement their magnesium intake. These powders can be mixed with water, juice, or smoothies, providing a customizable and easy-to-digest form of magnesium. One of the key benefits of magnesium powders is their flexibility in dosing; users can easily adjust the amount to meet their specific needs, which can be particularly useful for individuals with varying magnesium requirements.

        Despite their versatility, magnesium powders may not always be the most palatable option. Many magnesium powders have a bitter taste, which can be off-putting for some users. Additionally, it’s important to be mindful of the ingredients in these powders. Many of these products contain sweeteners, fillers, and other additives that can affect the quality and effectiveness of the supplement. It’s also crucial to be aware of the source of the ingredients, as products sourced from certain regions, like China, may have varying levels of quality and safety.

        When choosing a magnesium powder, it’s advisable to select a product with minimal additives and from a reputable source. Reading the ingredients list & reviews, as well as checking for third-party testing can help ensure the product's quality. While magnesium powders can be an effective and flexible way to supplement magnesium, they should be chosen carefully to avoid unwanted additives and ensure maximum benefit.

        If you’re looking for a pharmaceutical-grade Magnesium Powder, Pure Thera’s Just Relax™ is a convenient drink mix formulated with advanced nutraceuticals that support an optimal stress response and a sense of profound calm and relaxation for adults and children alike. Subtly flavored with natural cherry or watermelon and lightly sweetened with a patented monk fruit extract, Just Relax™ is a delicious way to support your brain and adrenals in dealing with the rigors of the day and the acute or chronic stress that accompany them.*

        What is Chelated Magnesium?

        Chelated magnesium is a form of magnesium that is bound to an organic or amino acid, such as glycine or malic acid. This binding process enhances the absorption and bioavailability of magnesium, making it more efficient for the body to utilize. Chelation helps protect the magnesium from interactions in the digestive tract that can inhibit its absorption. As a result, chelated magnesium is often more effective at increasing magnesium levels in the body compared to other forms that may be less easily absorbed.

        This form of magnesium is preferred by many for its superior absorption and reduced likelihood of causing digestive upset. Chelated magnesium supplements are commonly used to support various bodily functions, including muscle relaxation, nerve function, and overall energy production. They are especially beneficial for individuals who have difficulty absorbing magnesium from traditional supplements or those who need to manage specific health conditions that require higher magnesium intake. Because of its enhanced effectiveness, chelated magnesium is often recommended by healthcare providers for individuals with magnesium deficiencies or specific medical needs.

        Pure Thera’s Optimum Magnesium™ contains patented mineral-amino acid chelates in delayed-release capsules with zero fillers. Designed for enhanced absorption, this non-laxative formula features highly bioavailable, well-tolerated TRAACS® Magnesium Lysinate Glycinate (mineral-amino acid chelate).

        Are Magnesium Sprays and Lotions Effective?

        Magnesium sprays and lotions may provide localized benefits, but they can cause skin irritation, make the skin sticky, stain clothes, and their efficacy is not well-studied.

        Magnesium sprays and lotions are topical forms of magnesium supplementation that can be applied directly to the skin. These products are marketed for their ability to provide localized benefits, such as muscle relaxation and relief from cramps or soreness. The idea is that magnesium can be absorbed through the skin, bypassing the digestive system and delivering magnesium directly to the tissues that need it.

        While topical magnesium applications can offer some benefits, they also come with several drawbacks. One of the primary concerns is the potential for skin irritation. Some users may experience itching, burning, or a rash, particularly if they have sensitive skin or if the product contains high concentrations of magnesium. Additionally, magnesium sprays and lotions can leave a sticky residue on the skin, which can be uncomfortable and inconvenient. They can also stain clothes, making them less practical for regular use.

        Another important consideration is the lack of extensive research on the efficacy of topical magnesium. While there is some anecdotal evidence and preliminary studies suggesting that magnesium can be absorbed through the skin, the extent of absorption and its effectiveness compared to oral supplementation is not well-established. As a result, individuals considering magnesium sprays and lotions should approach them with caution and may want to use them as a complement to, rather than a replacement for, oral magnesium supplements.

        How to Choose the Right Supplement

        Choosing the right magnesium supplement depends on individual needs, health conditions, and tolerance to different forms. It's essential to consider the bioavailability, potential side effects, and any dietary restrictions.

      • Dosage and Safety Considerations
      • The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for magnesium varies by age, sex, and life stage. It's crucial to follow guidelines and consult a healthcare provider to determine the appropriate dosage.

      • Potential Side Effects and Interactions
      • Excessive magnesium intake can lead to adverse effects such as diarrhea, nausea, and abdominal cramping. Magnesium can also interact with certain medications, including antibiotics and diuretics, so it's important to consult a healthcare provider before starting supplementation.

        Magnesium Deficiency: Causes and Symptoms

        Causes of Magnesium Deficiency

      • Poor Diet: Diets low in magnesium and boron can lead to deficiency. Processed foods and refined grains often lack sufficient magnesium.
      • Gastrointestinal Disorders: Conditions like malabsorption, colitis, and Crohn's disease can impair the body's ability to absorb magnesium.
      • Increased Magnesium Loss: Factors such as an overly acidic diet, low mineral intake, and drinking water stripped of minerals can increase magnesium loss.

        Warning Signs of Magnesium Deficiency

      • Early Signs of Deficiency: Early signs of magnesium deficiency include fatigue, muscle cramps, and mental disturbances such as irritability and anxiety.
      • Severe Deficiency Symptoms: Severe magnesium deficiency can lead to more serious symptoms, including numbness, tingling, seizures, personality changes, and abnormal heart rhythms.

        Special Considerations

      • Magnesium for Kids
      • Magnesium is essential for children's growth and development. Ensuring an adequate intake can support bone health, energy production, and overall well-being.

      • Can You Take Magnesium While Pregnant?
      • Magnesium is generally safe to take during pregnancy. Pregnant women often experience leg cramps, and magnesium supplementation can help alleviate this discomfort. Additionally, magnesium supports the development of the fetus, contributing to healthy bone formation and overall growth. However, it is essential to consult with your healthcare provider before starting any supplementation during pregnancy to ensure it is appropriate for your specific needs and to determine the correct dosage.

      • Should You Do a Calcium Magnesium Combo?
      • Combining calcium and magnesium supplements may be beneficial for bone health, as both minerals play critical roles in maintaining bone density and strength. However, the ratio and timing of supplementation are crucial to avoid potential imbalances and ensure optimal absorption of both nutrients. Calcium and magnesium can compete for absorption in the digestive tract, which means that taking them simultaneously may reduce their effectiveness.

        To maximize the benefits of a calcium-magnesium combo, it is generally recommended to take them at different times of the day. For example, you might take magnesium in the morning and calcium in the evening, or vice versa. Additionally, focusing on the appropriate ratio of calcium to magnesium is important. A common recommendation is a 2:1 ratio of calcium to magnesium, but individual needs can vary, so it’s best to consult with a healthcare provider to determine the ideal ratio and timing for your specific situation.

        It is also worth noting that excessive calcium intake without adequate magnesium can lead to negative health effects, such as the hardening of arteries if calcium is absorbed but not utilized properly. Therefore, balancing these two minerals is essential for overall health and preventing potential complications.

        Magnesium for Older Adults

        Older adults are at higher risk of magnesium deficiency due to decreased absorption and increased excretion. Supplementation can support bone health, cognitive function, and overall vitality.

        The Best Form For You: Pure Thera’s Optimum Magnesium

        Optimum Magnesium contains patented mineral-amino acid chelates in delayed-release capsules with zero fillers. Designed for enhanced absorption, this non-laxative formula features highly bioavailable, well-tolerated TRAACS® Magnesium Lysinate Glycinate (mineral-amino acid chelate). 

        Our clinically effective formula contains:

        • Magnesium Lysinate Glycinate Chelate, a mineral-amino acid chelate delivers a complex with higher absorption rates. Since the body can efficiently absorb dipeptides (two amino acids linked together), Albion’s® TRAACS® Magnesium Lysinate Glycinate is an optimum delivery system for Magnesium.
        • Albion® TRAACS® patented mineral-amino acid chelates are resistant to competitive minerals, do not lessen effectiveness of vitamins, and pose a lowered risk of overdosing.
        • Di-Magnesium Malate, contains 69% Malate (Malic Acid). Malic Acid is utilized as it enhances Magnesium's efficacy. Magnesium and Malate play crucial roles in energy production under aerobic conditions or when decreased oxygen levels are present. Malic Acid is known to show detoxification support benefits by binding certain heavy metals.



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