Magnesium is one of the most abundant minerals in the human body, and 50 percent of magnesium is located in the bones. Magnesium, which is similar to zinc, is a necessary cofactor for over 300 biochemical reactions in the human body. These chemical reactions help the body build muscles, maintain nerve function, promote a healthy heart, and sustain optimal immune system function.
Scientists are studying how magnesium alleviates or circumvents many common chronic ailments. If you are interested in taking magnesium for better health, it helps to be knowledgeable about the various magnesium supplements, especially magnesium orotate, the best form of the mineral supplement.
Magnesium is not easily absorbed in the body unless first attached to a transporting substance. For this reason, many supplement manufacturers have "chelated" magnesium to minerals or amino acids. A few of these include magnesium oxide, magnesium sulfate, magnesium orotate, and magnesium carbonate. The quality of these supplements depends on the amount of magnesium it contains, its bioavailability, and how well it dissolves in the gut. Bioavailability refers to the amount of magnesium in the supplement that can be assimilated by the body and used to produce the desired health benefits.
9 Types of Magnesium
If you want to take a magnesium supplement, you will want to understand the different types you might find on the market.
1. Magnesium-Amino Acid Chelate
A magnesium-amino acid chelate is magnesium connected to an amino acid. This could be a glycine, aspartic acid (aspartate) or arginine (arginate), or another amino acid. Magnesium aspartate and arginate are considered to be the best of these options.
2. Magnesium Oxide
Magnesium oxide is therapeutically used as a laxative and to provide relief for acid reflux. Because this form of magnesium has poor bioavailability (only 4 percent), magnesium oxide supplements may contain up to 60 percent more magnesium than other supplements so that enough can enter the bloodstream and provide the intended effect.
3. Magnesium Citrate
Derived from the magnesium salt of citric acid, magnesium citrate is highly soluble and has higher bioavailability than magnesium oxide. Magnesium citrate is commonly used to induce bowel movements but has also been studied for kidney stone prevention.
4. Magnesium Orotate
Magnesium orotate, also called magnesium orotate dihydrate, is the most effective form of magnesium supplement and extremely helpful for addressing deficiencies. Magnesium orotate is a compound that includes both magnesium and orotic acid.
Extensive scientific research by Dr. Hans A. Nieper, M.D. shows orotates can penetrate cell membranes, enabling the effective delivery of the magnesium ion to the innermost layers of the cellular mitochondria and nucleus. This is particularly important in heart and nerve cells, which are unable to renew or regenerate when damaged, and hence effective delivery of magnesium is important to the recovery of these tissues. Magnesium orotate has many properties that support your health while providing one of the most readily absorbable forms of magnesium.
5. Magnesium Chloride
Magnesium chloride has a higher bioavailability than magnesium oxide and magnesium citrate, with a bioavailability equivalent to magnesium lactate. The magnesium concentration in magnesium chloride supplements is low, around 25 percent, to balance its higher bioavailability.
A supersaturated magnesium chloride oil can be applied to the skin for sore muscles and has been recommended by some as a supplement for those who experience an undesired laxative effect from pills.
6. Magnesium Lactate
This type of magnesium shows higher levels of bioavailability than magnesium oxide. Magnesium lactate is a mineral supplement commonly used to manage digestive issues. Magnesium lactate should be avoided by those with kidney disease or kidney-related concerns.
7. Magnesium Sulfate
Magnesium sulfate is a form of magnesium with an elemental concentration of 10 percent and lower levels of bioavailability. It contains magnesium, sulfate (sulfur and oxygen) and is often sold as Epsom Salt, which can be added to baths to relieve sore muscles.
8. Magnesium Carbonate
Also called magnesite, magnesium carbonate is used as a remedy for heartburn and upset stomach. Its bioavailability is about 30 percent when taken internally. Magnesium carbonate has a strong laxative effect when taken in high amounts. It is also commonly used as chalk used as a drying agent by pitchers, gymnasts, rock climbers, and weightlifters.
9. Magnesium Glycinate, Malate, & Taurates
These are chelated forms of magnesium which are sold with lower concentrations of magnesium because it is in a highly bioavailable form. These three types of magnesium have a variety of uses.
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†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.