Understanding Different Types of Magnesium

Published on September 08, 2013 by Dr. Paul Hrkal

Magnesium is one of those supplements that is very well known for its benefits throughout the natural health community. Magnesium is involved in over 300 biochemical processes in the body. One of its most important functions is that it plays a key role is producing energy, this makes it vitality important for all cellular functions and processes. It helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function, keeps heart rhythm regular, supports a healthy immune system, and keeps bones strong. Its wide range of health benefits and biological activity make it effective in addressing a number of common diseases and conditions including fibromyalgia, chronic pain, diabetes, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease and headaches. Numerous studies have demonstrated that magnesium supplementation and correction of deficiency has improved the aforementioned conditions. The problem with this essential mineral is that most people do not have sufficient levels for optimal health. A gradual depletion of nutrients from our soils has left many vegetables with lower levels of magnesium. Another factor that contributes to magnesium deficiency is that it often is depleted by various common conditions (i.e. IBS, Crohn’s disease) and medications (i.e. proton pump inhibitors, diuretics).
For a more complete discussion please see the article "The Many Faces of Magnesium" in the Heart Health issue of Advances at our home on the web.

As a supplement, magnesium is most commonly found in small amounts in multivitamins and in certain over the counter laxatives. Minerals such as magnesium or calcium are combined with another molecule to stabilize the compound. Each combination, referred to as a chelate, (such as magnesium citrate) has different absorption, bioavailability and therapeutic value. These additional molecules can really impact the medicinal value of the magnesium and some even have beneficial effects in their own right. The most common forms and their benefits are listed below.

Magnesium oxide: Often used in milk of magnesia products since this form has a strong laxative effect. Even though this combination contains a large proportion of magnesium compared to the oxide molecule, it has poor bioavailability and readily causes loose stools; therefore it is considered the least optimal form to use as a supplement.

Magnesium sulfate: This form is often used as an intravenous preparation but it is not used in oral formulations. Since it does have some absorbability through the skin, it is also found in Epsom bath salts.

Magnesium citrate: A commonly used form that has a good bioavailability compared to oxide. It is also very rapidly absorbed in the digestive tract but it does have a stool loosening effect.1 This form is found in many supplements and remains a solid option for delivering magnesium into the body.

Magnesium Aspartate: This form has increased bioavailability compared to oxide and citrate. There were some promising clinical trials conducted in the 1960s that found a combination of magnesium and potassium aspartates had a positive effect on fatigue and they reduced muscle hyper-excitability.2 Physiologically this makes sense since both magnesium and aspartic acid are critical players in cellular energy production. This form is not commonly found but has been used for chronic fatigue syndrome.

Magnesium Glycinate: Glycine is a well-known calming amino acid. This combination has good bioavailability and does not have a laxative effect since glycine is actively transported through the intestinal wall. Due to the calming and relaxing effect of both glycine and magnesium, this combination has been used successfully for chronic pain and muscle hyper tonicity.3

Magnesium Malate: This less well-known combination has been studied for use in fibromyalgia. Since malate is a substrate in the cellular energy cycle, it can help improve ATP production; there is some preliminary evidence that it may reduce muscle pain and tender points in fibromyalgia patients.4

Magnesium Orotate: This is another relatively unknown chelate combination containing orotic acid. This form has good bioavailability has had been studied specifically for heart health. Orotates can penetrate cell membranes, enabling the effective delivery of the magnesium ion to the innermost layers of the cellular mitochondria and nucleus. Orotates themselves increase the formation of RNA and DNA which can help heart cells repair and therefore improve function. The combination has been shown to improve heart failure, symptoms of angina and exercise performance in clinical trials.5,6

Magnesium Taurate: Both magnesium and the amino acid taurine share the ability to improve cardiac function; each has a potentiating effect on insulin sensitivity and also a calming effect on neuromuscular excitability. The actions of both have striking similarities when it comes to cardiovascular health. They both have blood pressure reducing effects, stabilize nerve cells, improve the contraction of the heart muscle and have an anti-thrombotic effect.7 Additionally, low levels of vitamin B6 have been shown to further deplete both magnesium and taurine.

Magnesium-L-Threonate: This form of magnesium has recently been studied to improve memory and brain function. One preliminary study in animals found that it significantly enhanced both short-term and long-term memory, boosting scores by 15% for short-term memory and 54% for long-term memory compared to magnesium citrate.8 Based on this study, it appears that magnesium-L-threonate is a highly absorbable form of magnesium that can improve brain function. While this research is promising, more is needed to confirm its benefit.

Magnesium Pidolate (or picolinate): This form of magnesium has generated interest because it is very inexpensive and can easily be made into a liquid supplement. There really have not been any substantial research trials supporting its specific health benefits. The down side of this form is that the pidolate molecule does not have any additional health benefits.

Due to its broad ranging beneficial effects, magnesium has really emerged as a quintessential health supplement with an excellent safety profile. Various forms of magnesium can be employed for specific health concerns and to increase bioavailability. Consider the research evidence and activity of each form to choose one that is most appropriate for you.

Want to know more about Magnesium check out part 2 here, and a review of magnesium glycinate here

Have you tried Magnesium? What was your experience with it? Leave a comment in the section below!

You may also be interested in: "Understanding Different Types of Calcium Part 1"

Image by © 2015 Tyler Olson via DollarPhotoClub

References

1) Coudray C, Rambeau M, Feillet-Coudray C, Gueux E, Tressol JC, Mazur A, Rayssiguier Y: Study of magnesium bioavailability from ten organic and inorganic Mg salts in Mg- depleted rats using a stable isotope approach. Magnes Res 2005;18:215–223.
2) Nagle FJ, Balke B, Ganslen RV, Davis AW. The mitigation of physical fatigue with "Spartase". FAA Office of Aviation Medicine Reports. Rep Civ Aeromed Res Inst US. 1963 Jul;26:1-10.
3) Lamontagne C, Sewell JA, Vaillancourt R, Kuhzarani C, (2012) Rapid Resolution of Chronic Back Pain with Magnesium Glycinate in a Pediatric Patient. J Pain Relief 1:101
4) Abraham GE, Flechas JD. Management of Fibromyalgia: Rationale for the Use of Magnesium and Malic Acid. Journal of Nutritional Medicine (1992) 3, 49-59.
5) Stepura OB, Tomaeva FE, Zvereva TV. Orotic acid as a metabolic agent. Vestn Ross Akad Med Nauk. 2002; (2): 39-41.
6) Geiss KR, Stergiou N, Jester, Neuenfeld HU, Jester HG. Effects of magnesium orotate on exercise tolerance in patients with coronary heart disease. Cardiovasc Drugs Ther. 1998 Sep; 12 Suppl 2:153-6.
7) McCarty MF. Complementary Vascular-Protective Actions of Magnesium and Taurine: A Rationale for Magnesium Taurate. Medical Hypotheses (1996) 46. 89-100
8) Slutsky I, Abumaria N, Wu LJ, et al. Enhancement of learning and memory by elevating brain magnesium. Neuron. 2010 Jan 28;65(2):165-77

  • Maria

    QUESTION: Would I be overdosing myself with Magnesium L-Threonate and after an hour took some Magnesium Glycinate? Thank you for specifying the different types of magnesium. I took Magnesium L-Threonate thinking it would calm me down as I was having mild anxiety attacks and no benefits after an hour. Decided to take Magnesium Glycinate, felt a difference of calmness!

    • Hrkal

      Hi Maria,
      I don't think you would be overdosing with combo. You really can't over dose on magnesium since excess is just excreted in the digestive tract.
      Glad to hear you found relief!

      Dr Paul Hrkal ND

      • Gene

        Dr. Hrkal,
        which type of magnesium is best for depression please?
        thanks!

        • Hrkal

          Hi Gene,

          There isn't a form of magnesium studied for depression specifically even though there is evidence that low magnesium levels are most likely related to depression. See the following studies.
          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23321048
          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19944540
          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23950577

          I would stick to a well absorbed form of magnesium with good bowel tolerance like glycinate or malate.

          Hope that helps

          Dr Paul Hrkal

        • Shaileigh

          I have depression and anxiety with panic attacks and take up to approx 600 mg a day evey day -- because of its ability to. Cross the blood brain border its easy to get into your head there by stabilizing the condition..not saying depression goes away permanently but heres proof its so much beter than drugs-- i have been perscription drug free (no paxil no ativan) for 6months now..MAGNESIUM BISGLYCINATE. (I use "NOW" brand because its potency per 250 ml ratio is the best and for my dollar value.

      • Cookie

        Actually, you CAN overdose on magnesium. It's called hypermagnesemia. Uncommon, but it happens; most aways involves supplementation. More common is magnesium deficiency.

        • Hrkal

          Cookie, you are correct. HYPERmagnesia can occur but its rare since it usually involves incorrectly using a supplement or a drug interaction. The vast majority of people with chronic disease, pain, heart disease etc have low levels.

          thanks for raising that point.

          Dr Paul Hrkal ND

      • Jessica

        Hello, how optimal is magnesium gluconate compared to glycinate? Thank you

        • Hrkal

          Hi Jessica,

          Gluconate has no medicinal benefits unlike glycine (calming amino acid, supports detox pathways etc.). I prefer to use the mag glycinate form.

          Dr Paul Hrkal ND

    • David Cantor

      Dr Hrkal i suffer extreme anxiety especially at night. My doctor believes i have a high level of cortisol being produced. He wanted to put me on lexapro and or xanax. I refuse to take any narcotics. I took magnesium citrate for 2 weeks and it actually helped tremendously, but i was experiencing some diarrea. My doctor says i should not be taking magnesium citrate on a daily basis so im so confused and desperate. What should i do and is it safe to take magnesium citrate everyday for the rest of my life basically? My name is David. I value your advice.

      • Hrkal

        Hi David,

        Thanks for the question. If you are experiencing loose stools from mag citrate then try switching to magnesium glycinate. It does not cause diarrhea to the same degree as mag citrate plus you still get the benefits of magnesium and glycine (a calming amino acid). You make have to decrease the dose you are taking daily if you still get loose stools but you can play with the dosing to find what works best. Taking extra glycine on top of the magnesium when you are anxious may also decrease anxiety. You can get glycine powder as a stand-alone product. A well absorbed magnesium is safe to take for long periods of time so no need to be concerned about that.

        Hope that helps

        Dr Paul Hrkal ND

        • Lisa

          Glycine can become excitatory in the presence of too much glutamate in the brain. This is a common cause of anxiety. So magnesium gkycinate may worsen things. Also mag malate can cause stomach pain and digestive distress due to the malic acid.

      • Marie

        Hey David,
        You're not alone in having bowel sensitivity to magnesium, especially magnesium citrate. That's my go to for constipation. And mag glycinate has the same effect on me. It was good to read below about glycine powder for anxiety, which I have too. I want to share that I took ReMag made by Dr. Carolyn Dean who claims it has no bowel sensitivity. Guess again! Oh yes it does! It is reputed to be highly absorbable/bioavailable, but I did not notice ANY sense of calmness while taking it, even as I worked up to therapeutic doses. In addition, if you have product questions, you must listen to 2 hours of radio full of hype and hope your question gets answered. It's why she lost my business. I'm aware of the topical magnesiums and don't like them as my go-to; I'm told when it initially stings, it's because we're mag deficient and that will go away within a couple weeks, so why does it still sting?! I totally prefer oral that also addresses low stomach acid. You could give Dr. Dean's stuff a try, but don't buy into the hype. She claims no laxative effects, but in the small print she adds, "unless you have a bowel sensitivity." All magnesium that I've tried has a laxative effect taken at the lowest suggested doses. I think I've tried them all. Hope this helps!

        • Lisa

          Marie, it takes a lot longer than a few weeks to overcome a deficiency. I've read a year. Or more. Please don't give up on transdermal mag. You can do foot soaks with it or put it on the soles of your feet. I put a couple drops in my hand, add a big squirt of lotion, rub it together and apply to my body. If you get enough lotion there's no sting. Strangely I can put it straight on my abdomen with no sting but not other places. I feel it in 15 minutes. Often we cannot take enough orally to overcome a deficiency. You really must incorporate this.. Also mag threonate will help your anxiety. Good luck.

        • Arun

          Hi Marie,
          Ref your sentence ...."oral addresses stomach acid"....
          there is some cloud here... While Magnesium in itself "reduces" stomach acid reflux (which is Why Neksium has started adding Magnesium to its tabs), Magnesium Chloride tried to augment the "good" hydrochloric acid that was destructed by PPIs (proton-pump inhibitors) like Neksium in the first place.

          You are bang on to term this is big Hype. Apart from the above here are some "conditionally" Bad effects of Magnesium that is already expressed in public domain -
          1) Excess Magnesium "just getting excreted" is a complete downplay - any unwanted laxation can cause serious Depletion of Nutrients and create other deficiencies
          2) Any stress on Kidneys to purge excess of chemicals even for patients who do not have Renal complications is highly avoidable
          3) Magnesium is "intricately balanced with Calcium and in turn Vitamin D". It is well known that "over doze of Magnesium" is absolutely harmful and can cause Calcium /Vit D deficiency" - serum calcium and D must be tested
          4) There are so many Foods / other meds that Seriously affect the Daily absorption of Magnesium - any form. Like Citrous foods, excess Calcium -tabs taken separately, lack of Vit B6 etc - without addressing these Inhibitors and augmentors - I think its no use to just advise Mag supplements
          5) What use if Magnesium HAS to be taken "lifelong" - there has to be a way to unblock the blocked channels of Magnesium channels of bio absorption - the original reason for low Magnesium. While supplements are

          All the above Not withstanding, Magnesium deficiency is serious and Has to be supplemented. We need to transcend from the hype cycle to some serious next.

          Arun

          • Hrkal

            Hi Arun,

            I wanted to correct some mis-information in your posts.

            1) Magnesium is not an antacid. It's actually added to PPI's because research clearly shows that PPI's can severely deplete magnesium (and B12). Adding magnesium is the drug makers weak effort to replete the magnesium.
            http://www.medpagetoday.com/Gastroenterology/GERD/25147

            2) Magnesium does not deplete calcium. Low levels of either mineral affects the other but high levels don't have a negative effect. Magnesium and calcium make each other more soluble (easy to dissolve) so thats why they have always been supplemented together but this doesn't mean that they <strong>need</strong> to be given together.
            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1331782
            To quote Dr Carolyn Dean MD "The 2:1 ratio—that was a mistake; a mistaken translation from French researcher Jean Durlach, who said never ever go beyond two parts calcium to one part magnesium in your food, water, or supplement intake combined."

            Generally we eat a calcium excess diet and have a chronic magnesium deficiency so many people should take extra magnesium (not calcium) in the short term. Magnesium actually can dissolve calcium build up found in arteries (think high blood pressure, atherosclerosis AKA calcification of arteries). In the long run, a person should supplement with a complete mineral complex.

            3) Magnesium is not harmful to the kidneys (in normal, healthy functioning kidneys). In kidney disease, any supplementation should be supervised by a qualified doctor.
            In fact, chronic kidney disease causes magnesium depletion. Studies show magnesium supplementation can protect the vascular damage associated with kidney disease. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27039606
            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26997375

            Magnesium can become toxic but that usually occurs in specific conditions where a person has a dysfunction causing excess absorption or is taking medications that increases magnesium.

            4) I agree that magnesium should be ideally be taken with complementary minerals (i.e. potassium) and vitamins (namely B6) but this doesn't prevent the the short term (<3 months) use of higher doses magnesium (200-400mg)

            Dr Paul Hrkal ND

      • Kate

        David- or really, anyone reading this now- I don't know why this wasn't addressed already but neither Lexapro or Xanax are narcotics. Lexapro is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor or SSRI, an antidepressant. Xanax is a benzodiazepine. Blanket avoidance of pharmaceuticals often makes very little sense when their use can rewire the brain sufficiently so the presenting problem is modified into non-existence. That would be the SSRI. Benzodiazepines should have a long enough conversation so you understand what you'd be getting into and why so it's a good idea to take them with caution.

        Still- none are narcotics and everyone should understand what meds are being discussed.

    • Frank

      Hello Dr. Hrkal

      I have just a few simple questions about taking Magnesium Oxide 500mg daily.

      I have had AFib for nearly 20 years and 1 1/2 years ago I had a ablation done (which failed) and started having PVC's really bad, then a few months later I had a Pacemaker/Defibrillator implanted due to Ventricular tachycardia and again an ablation (not 100 successful). I still suffer from the PVC's and started taking Magnesium Oxide 500mg daily to help, it's only been a couple of days since I started taking it.
      My current meds are:
      a. Eliquis
      b. Sotalol
      c. Quinapril
      d. Eplerenone


      Questions:
      1. Is magnesium oxide best for my condition (eliminate PVC's) at 500mg/day?
      1a. If not which one and why?
      2. Will taking magnesium at these levels daily cause problems with liver or kidneys?

      Regards,

      • Hrkal

        Hi Frank,

        Magnesium oxide is not well absorbed and there are better magnesium's for heart function. I would check out mag taurine or mag orotate in the above article and comments. Really good research on those forms for many cardiac issues including arrhythmia.
        Magnesium will not cause issues with healthy kidneys. If you have kidney disease consult with your healthcare practitioner.

        Good luck,
        Dr Paul Hrkal ND

    • Arun

      Hi Maria,
      There are ample web authored content by Doctors who explicitly say that "Magnesium and Calcium are intricately connected and balanced"...Taking just Magnesium over al long time can severely reduce your Calcium and Vice-versa !! Thats why Slow Mag and so many other brands are "NOW" mixing the Primarily Magnesium Supplement with Calcium....
      While its true that over doses will get excreted, it DOES put a great stress on your Kidneys which have to work so much harder.
      While you cannot effectively test for Magnesium levels in blood, you can get a much better estimate by testing for Serum-Calcium levels very cheaply - and is so important to be sure you dont tend towards osteoporosis.
      regds/Arun

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  • Camille

    Good article. I have read studies that showed the benefits of supplementing magnesium during pregnancy but none indicated which form is best or used during pregnancy. Are you familiar with this?

    • Hrkal

      Hi Camille,

      Thanks for reading the article. Magnesium (and calcium) are important to take during pregnancy to prevent muscle cramps and healthy bone formation. There has not been any specific form studied but citrate, malate or glycinate are well absorbed and safe for both mother and baby.

      Hope that helps

      Dr Paul Hrkal ND

  • Patricia Grimes

    I'm a 85 year old widow and would like to take magnesium for my leg cramps.
    I take Clopidogel Bisulfate for a heart stent and Losartan 100 mg. for blood pressure.
    Could you tell me what type of magnesium would be best for me?
    Will appreciate your reply.

    • Hrkal

      Hello Patricia,

      Thank you for the inquiry. Unfortunately we can't recommend specific products for you on this forum. I would recommend you consult a qualified healthcare practitioner to make sure that your supplements are safe with the medications you are on. I can say that most forms of magnesium are useful for leg cramps. I would direct you to a form such as magnesium malate, that is easily absorbed and does not cause loose stools.

      Dr Paul Hrkal ND

    • Arun

      Hi Patricia,
      Even though Im not a practitioner, I can safely advise you take Magnesium Chloride "transdermally" which means through the skin. This will have no complications with your other medications. Actually Magnesium Oil is what you would apply transdermally. While Magnesium Oil is very costly, you could get Magnesium Chloride "Salt" form very cheaply. Stir 1 cup of this Salt into 1 cup of just boil(ed) water. That will become Oily which you can apply. You must choose a "very fine /pure quality". Ideally it should give you tingling sensation.
      regds/Arun

  • Mark

    I have restless leg which seems to be getting worse. I was told potassium would help. I have been taking nearly 2000 mg with only very slight improvement. I want to add Magnesium, which form would you recommend?

    • Hrkal

      Hi Mark,

      Any form for magnesium would work except magnesium oxide. Magnesium citrate has a fast absorption so that is something you can take before bed. Magnesium glycinate has a calming effect and mag malate is great for muscle pain. Remember magnesium stores are built up over time so it may take a few months to see lasting benefits but usually people see an improvement quickly.

      Dr Paul Hrkal ND

  • Sara

    Hi there,

    I'm just wondering what the best form of magnesium would be in order to get as many benefits as possible. Do you have to get each type of magnesium separately, or is there a way to get them all in one form of magnesium? If you do have to get them all separately, is it okay to mix them together and use all at once?

    • Hrkal

      Hi Sara,

      Sorry for the late response. I don't think you need to take all the forms to get the benefits of magnesium. Any of the amino acid combinations of magnesium will give you the benefits of repleting magnesium plus the effects of the amino acids. I would pick a magnesium form that best fits your goals (i.e. magnesium orotate if you have cardio vascular concern) and stick with it for a few months to build your levels. Magnesium glycinate or malate are my favorite for general health since they have a broad spectrum benefit on muscles.

      If you want feel free to mix them but a better approach would be to take each one for a period of time and rotate so you get the benefits of each. This way you amy be even able to tell which form you feel the best with. This will help guide you which form is best for you.

      Hope that helps
      Dr Paul Hrkal

  • Roger

    Hello Dr. Hrkal,

    Your article list the benefits of different forms of magnesium that have different health attributes. My question is once cellular magnesium levels have reached optimal status. Would the benefits of Orotate's effect on RNA & DNA be achieved? As such would L-Threonate benefits to cross the BBB be achieved as well. I guess my question is are these health benefits attributed to the FORM or magnesium. Thank you in advance
    .

    • Hrkal

      Hi Roger,

      Great question. The benefits of ortotate or threonate would be effective right from the start of supplementation since they have an independent and distinct therapeutic benefit. That being said, the evidence suggests that it can take months to replete cellular magnesium levels depending on the intestinal absorption and previous level of deficiency. It's also very difficult to accurately measure this. So assuming that after 3 months of rigorous supplementation you achieve optimal magnesium levels the benefit of orotate would be there throughout this time since the effects are independent. You could argue that once magnesium levels are optimal orotate would be more effective but they are not needed for it to be effective.

      The form of magnesium makes a big difference but the effects are not necessary tied together. The added benefit of "amino acid" forms of magnesium it that they are actively absorbed compare to citrate or oxide so they don't cause loose stools are easily.

      Hope that helps
      Dr Paul Hrkal

  • Janni

    Hello,

    I've recently discovered that most magnesium supplements contain dicalcium phosphate. Is there any calcium-free form?

    Thanks in advance.

    • Justine

      Hi Janni, there are many quality magnesium supplements that don't contain calcium diphosphate. Calcium diphosphate can be used either as a source of calcium to make a cal-mag type of product, or it can be used as a type of flow agent or bulking agent to help the product go into the capsule better. But there are lots of magnesium supplements that don't have any type of calcium in them. None of AOR's magnesium products contain calcium.

  • Betty

    Hello,

    I want to take some bone health products like calcium, vitamin D, vitamin K2 and magnesium. What type of magnesium do you recommend and how much?

    • Hrkal

      Hi Betty,

      Thanks for the question. Any of the amino acid magnesiums (glycinate, aspartate, malate etc.) or citrate are good for bone health. Just stay away from magnesium oxide because its an inferior form that is poorly absorbed and causes loose stools.
      The recommended amount usually is 500mg.

      Hope that helps

      Dr Paul Hrkal ND

  • Adnan

    What is your opinion on Magnesium Oil?

    • Hrkal

      Hi Adnan,

      Some people really advocate for the use of magnesium oil for topical application to relieve muscle pain. While there are some reports of improvement in symptoms, this way of getting magnesium has not been studied nor is a good way to address systemic deficiency. There really isn't a good way to assess if topical application is actually getting into the body other then patient feedback. I personally stick to oral magnesium products since my clinical experience and the research supports this administration route.

      Hope that helps
      Dr Paul Hrkal

  • Jessica Ann

    I have been taking 400 mg magnesium oxide once a day for about 2 weeks and I have been feeling very dizzy. Could this be a possible side effect? I have hyperparathyroidism and am below normal levels magnesium and phosphorus but high blood calcium and pth. Thank you

    • Hrkal

      HI Jessica,

      Its tough to tell if your symptoms are related to the mag oxide. Magnesium can lower blood pressure which can lead to symptoms such as dizziness. I would stop the supplement to see if the symptoms persist. If they do persist see you doctor.

      Hope that helps
      Dr Paul Hrkal ND

  • Rosalind

    Which form of magnesium would be the best to use for severe constipation even though I eat fresh fruit, dark leafy greens each day and plenty of water since I stopped eating gluten. My antibodies were elevated on a blood test to 5.6ug/ml ( the normal range was <2.0 so I was told to avoid wheat,etc. I used to eat a lot of whole grains everyday with all of the above to keep myself regular. I am really afraid of becoming dependent. It is impossible to get enough whole grains without wheat.

    • Hrkal

      Thanks for the question

      Magnesium citrate would be the best to promote bowel movement. Keep increasing the dose little by little each day until you get loose stools. Then reduce dose by half. The absorption is on par with the best amino acid chelate forms of magnesium but it still can offset constipation. If you are gluten sensitive then magnesium is poorly absorbed so I would recommend you continue magnesium supplementation as you get your diet in order.

      Hope that helps
      Dr Paul Hrkal ND

      Hope that helps

  • Rosalind

    I definitely feel better since I stopped the gluten( except for the severe constipation)

  • Simi

    I was taking magnesium malate 850 mg each day for muscle pain.Now, I am having stomach acid problem. I have cut magnesium malate dose to less then 425 mg. For stomach acid problem, which magnesium would be the good one?
    Thank you

    • Hrkal

      Thanks for the question Simi,

      My understanding of your question is that you have reflux after taking magnesium malate ("stomach acid problem").
      Magnesium is very well tolerated and usually doesn't cause digestive or stomach upset when taken at the recommended doses. There is no one form that is best at minimizing the effect on stomach acid except avoiding magnesium oxide. The only thing you can do is reduce the dose (which you are trying) or change to a different form. Try AOR's new advanced magnesium complex for a combo of the most absorbable forms.

      There are many other reasons for reflux. I would consult your healthcare practitioner if the problem persists.

      Best of luck,

      Dr Paul Hrkal ND

  • Ken

    Hi: I'm a 67 year old male and have been diagnosed with atherosclerosis with a moderate calcium score in the aorta, and also occasional palpitations, nonetheless have worked out regularly for years. Was taking magnesium oxide for a year or two until discovering it's probably the least effective of the magnesium supplements (actually it seemed to help the palpitations some). Also just upped my Vitamin D3 and added K1 and K2. Was wondering what your thoughts were for which magnesium helps heart and circulation the most...thanks!

  • Ken

    Hi: I'm 67 and in pretty good shape, but have been diagnosed with a calcium score of about 145 three years ago, also have once-in-a-while palpitations, but worked out at the gym regularly for decades. Was taking magnesium oxide (400mg a day) for a couple years until researching that it's probably the least effective of the magnesium supplements (actually it seemed to help the palpitations some). Also have upped Vitamin D3 to 4000iu (recent blood level of 40) and added K1 (1mg) and K2 (300mcg). After reading various opinions on various magnesium formulas, was wondering your thoughts on which is best for heart and circulation...thanks!

    • Hrkal

      Hi Ken,

      Thanks for you comment. Magnesium Orotate and Magnesium taurine would be the best for heart health. Take a closer look at those in the above article. Magnesium itself will counter balance calcification and improve blood flow. Orotate and taurine provide additional benefits for heart cell function, nerve conduction and repair. The vitamin K is an excellent addition to offset calcification.

      Dr Paul Hrkal

  • Tammy

    I suffer from chronic migraines and read an article stating to drink 700-1000mg of magnesium citrate/malate along with 4000mg of pyruvate in an 8 ounce glass of water. My question is do you have any experience of using this combination and would it make a difference if it was citrate or malate.
    Thank you

    • Hrkal

      Hi Tammy,

      Magnesium will help you with vaso-relaxation and headaches. I am not familiar with pyruvate or the combo with magnesium. I like to use magnesium and curcumin for tension headaches but migraines are more complex. I would look at food allergies and other sources of inflammation in migraine cases.
      For magnesium I would use either citrate, malate or glycinate. They are best absorbed.

      Dr Paul Hrkal

  • Tammy Philipp

    Thank you

  • Jeanenne

    I have Essential Tremors - it mostly affects my hands. Is there a form of magnesium that might help? I'm otherwise in good health, am 79 years old, take no medications but do take supplements.

    • Hrkal

      Hi Jeanenne,

      Thanks for the question. For essential tremor there has been no studies with magnesium. Theoretically it may help with muscle spasms but I don't think we have any evidence to say it will help with essential tremor.

      There is a lot of evidence supporting the benefit of magnesium (muscle function, bowel regularity, etc.) so you would still benefit from taking a formula like magnesium glycinate or magnesium malate.

      I hope that helps
      Paul Hrkal ND

  • Jeanenne

    Thank you so much for your prompt reply. We have been taking two or three different forms of Magnesium (one kind at a time) but have run out and wanted a recommendation as to which form to take. I have been unable to find any supplement that lessens the effects of ETs but am planning on starting on a highly alkaline diet as that is what helped me in 2008 when I had PMR. (That and prayer)

  • Beth

    Hello I am 39 years old, female. I have heart palpitations and chronic upper back pain. Which kind of magnesium do you recommend? the cardiologist had prescribed me magnesium oxide but if another kind will help me more than I would rather try it. Can I take two kinds at the same time the one for the heart and the one for the muscle function? What is the recommended dose?

    Thank you for your help

    • Hrkal

      Hello,

      There is a lot of evidence supporting the benefit of magnesium (muscle function, heart function, bowel regularity, etc.) so you would still benefit from taking a formula like magnesium glycinate or magnesium malate that have been specifically studied for the muscle function. Magnesium orotate or taurine has been studied with heart function. I have included 2 links below to some information that will be helpful.
      http://www.aor.ca/products-page/products-list/cardio-mag-2-0/
      http://www.aor.ca/products-page/products-list/magnesium-malate-renew-4/

      I do think that whatever type of magnesium you choose (outside of mag oxide which is poorly absorbed) will be helpful for both situations.

      I hope that helps
      Paul Hrkal ND

  • Andrea

    I have adrenal fatigue and the dreaded sleeplessness that comes along with it. Which form of magnesium would help? Thanks!

    • Hrkal

      Hi Andrea,

      In this case you want a well absorbed magnesium to replete levels that were lost during stressful periods. Any type other than magnesium oxide is well absorbed. I would also consider magnesium glycinate for its calming effects before bed for insomnia.

      Good luck
      Dr Paul Hrkal ND

  • Linda Powers

    I have heard that magnesium does not absorb well with fluoride taken either ingested, or transdermal as in soaking in it. Could you verify this information?

    • Hrkal

      Hi Linda,

      This is a very interesting question. There actually is fair amount of research showing that fluoride prevents the absorption magnesium in the intestines. The fluoride ion itself can inhibit the activity of magnesium in enzyme processes throughout the body. This reduces bone formation, vascular relaxation and energy production. It is safe to conclude that fluoride should be avoided and ingesting high levels may counteract the beneficial effects of magnesium. This doesn't mean you avoid magnesium supplementation. If fact, if you drink fluoridated water you should increase your magnesium levels to offset the negative effects. This webpage has a summary and list of reference that you will find helpful.

      http://www.mgwater.com/fl2.shtml

      Dr Paul Hrkal ND

  • Kathy Slick

    My product of magnesium citrate does not carry a recommended correct daily dosage. Natural Fractors. Canada is the name of this fine white powder. Please be specific as I find this subject very confusing. 78years old.

    • Hrkal

      Hi Kathy,

      I don't know the specific dosage of the magnesium you are referring to but it should say on the label. The goal is to get 100mg 2-3 times daily. Take as many caps as you need to achieve that dose. If you get loose stools then reduce the dose by half.

      I hope that helps
      Dr Paul Hrkal

  • Ooy

    I have numbness on the tip of my big toes. Have been taking Vitamin B12 for that and was diagnosed magnesium deficiency. Could you please recommend what type of magnesium i should take for the numbness. Thank you in advance.

    • Hrkal

      Ho Ooy,

      While there is no type of magnesium studied specifically for nerve pain magnesium glycinate or taurine are great options for nerve issues since they have good absorption and both glycine and taurine are calming neuro-signalling molecules. Also consider other reasons why you could be having numbness in your toes. Diabetes and nerve entrapment can cause numbness in your toes.

      Good luck

      Paul Hrkal ND

  • Michelle

    I have a 12-year-old son who has asthma, food allergies, and is also ADD. I have read that kids with these problems lack magnesium. I'm not sure which type of magnesium would be best and how much to give.

    • Hrkal

      Hi Michelle,

      Unfortunately we can't give recommendations for patients on dosage. I would follow the label on the bottle. I can say that there is clinical research showing magnesium is useful in ADD cases and they used a citrate form. Consider a well absorbed form of magnesium like mag glycinate that also has calming effects.

      I hope that helps

      Dr Paul Hrkal ND

  • Anna

    It looks like I could benefit from different forms of Mg . Would it be smart take different forms of it either daily at the same time or alternate different ones each day ? I have heard from others that diff Mag forms have different applications so you can't take them at once . Is it true ? If yes, so then what best time to take each of form during the day ? Thank you for taking time answering all our questions ! I found this site very informative ( I am a holistic health practitioner ) !

    • Hrkal

      Hi Anna, you are right that different forms have unique benefits but the focus should still be on an absorbable form of magnesium. I suggest taking 1 type for 1-2 months and then switching to another form. There is no benefit to switching forms daily.

      Thanks for you question

      Dr Paul Hrkal ND

  • Ooy

    Thank you very much for your prompt reply. I have diabetes checked and the result was ok, but have to keep close look on that. I had never heard about nerve entrapment. Will find out more about it and consult with my doctor. Thank you.

  • Toni

    Doctor Hrkal,
    December 8, 2014

    My husband has a lot of issues from RLS to calcification of the aorta. He was told by his doctor to take magnesium. At first he was on magnesium chloride but has since switched to magnesium glycinate. I was concerned until I read your article.One question, I would like to know if he should be taking calcium, D and K2 with the magnesium in order for it to absorb properly and be of value?
    Thank you,
    Toni

    • Hrkal

      Hi Toni,

      If any cases of calcification vitamin K should be used. Studies have shown it reduces and prevents calcification of soft tissue like blood vessels.
      However, to answer your question, Vitamin D, K, or calcium are not needed for the optimal absorption of magnesium. Mag is absorbed better when taken away from food and other minerals since they compete for absorption and require stomach acid to be broken down.

      I hope that helps

      Dr Paul Hrkal ND

  • Lisa

    Hello,

    I have a 3 y/o son who is autistic. He currently takes Mag Glycinate 100mg bid. He deals with constipation regularly. Would it be too much Mag to give occ Mag Citrate?

    Thank you,

    • Hrkal

      Hi Lisa,

      You don't need to switch magnesium but just very gradually increase the dose of mag glycinate until your son's stools become more loose. To directly answer your question, there is no harm occasionally adding mag citrate if you desire.

      Paul Hrkal ND

  • Fenty

    Hi Dr Hrkal,
    Can someone have sleep apnea (on CPAP machine for pretty long) consuming magnesium glycinate ? Since mg glycinate will help muscle to relax while sleep apnea person has too relax muscle around the throat that blocking the air, it seems making it worst? If it is okay which magnesium is the best? And what is the correct dose to start? Thanks so much.

    • Hrkal

      Hi Fenty,

      Magnesium's action is not that is will relax muscle so much that it affects breathing. Its more correct to picture when there is enough magnesium the muscle functions normally, which includes proper contraction and relaxation. Mag glycinate should not adversely affect breathing or sleeping. A well absorbed form of magnesium (like glycinate) is a good form to take to restore proper levels. There is no correct dose because it varies depending on the person and health concern. I typically tell people to follow the label dosage which usually ends up being 200-300mg daily.

      Dr Paul Hrkal

  • Fenty

    Thanks Dr Hrkal,
    Pls help me with my last question; for the best sleep aid should i go for mag glycinate or mag bisglycinate?

    • Hrkal

      Hi fenty,

      Either one is fine. The bisglycinate is just 2 glycine molecules. Both work well for sleep.

      Dr Hrkal

  • Heather

    You said Mag glycinate was calming, do you know why when I take it it makes me anxious? Also when I take Potassium it gives me chest tightness and pain? Thanks

    • Hrkal

      Hi Heather,

      Some people have this "opposite" effect to magnesium. We don't know exactly why it happens but my theory is that since magnesium increases energy production at the level of the mitochondria some people could be overstimulated by this. The same is true for its affect on the brain. Mag is needed in the formation of excitatory neurotrasmitters so you may be pushing these pathways with extra mag. I would suggest trying to support the brain pathways with a B-complex. Its might make the magnesium less excitatory if other co-factors are present.

      here is study that supports this theory
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2880351

      I hope that helps

      Dr Paul Hrkal

  • Dju

    Lots of good info here. So I have a vitamin D/magnesium question. Recently increased my vitamin D3 to 10,000 units/day after latest blood test came back still low after taking 6,000 units D3/day. At the same time I stwitched from magnesium citrate to magnetic glycinate due to intestinal issues. No intestinal issues, but getting that anxiety and jittery feeling again. Wondering if the high dose if D3 is draining my magnesium or if the switch to 800 mg magnesium glycinate/day isn't maintaining my magnesium level like magnesium citrate did. My intestinal problems seem better though.

    • Hrkal

      Hi Dju,

      Its tough to say exactly what is causing the jittery feeling again but it may be the glycinate component. Even though it is calming for most people it can have the opposite effect for a few. I would try switching to one of the other magnesiums (like malate) to see if you still feel that way. Malate is well absorbed as well. Another option is to reduce the dose of magnesium glycinate to 400mg daily. The vitamin D will not have an effect on the magnesium but it could increase your calcium levels.

      Dr Hrkal

  • Zenie Ed

    I took mag glycinate for a few months at a low dose 3x a week. It was good but it aggravated my insomnia. What mag supplement do you recommend? I've got adrenal fatigue. Thanks

    • Hrkal

      Hi Zenie Ed,

      Some people have this “opposite” effect to magnesium. We don’t know exactly why it happens but one possible explanation is magnesium is needed in the formation of excitatory neurotrasmitters so you may be pushing these pathways with extra mag. I would suggest trying to support the brain pathways with a B-complex. Its might make the magnesium less excitatory if other co-factors are present. Also another type of magnesium, like mag malate or citrate could not have the same effect on the brain.

      here is study that supports this theory
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2880351

      I hope that helps,
      Dr Paul Hrkal

  • Erin

    Hi. I recently was diagnosed with hyperparathyroidism and underwent a parathyroidectomy and thyroid lobectomy (it was intrathyroidal) 6weeks ago. I am in the process of determining the damage with doctors but it appears I have had it for at least 10 years. I have suffered from back pain, kidney stones/infection, fatigue, apathy, heart palpitations, Lown Ganong Levine Syndrome, extra clotting (no DVT), and hand numbness. Since surgery, many things have improved but I am now getting muscle spasms often, palpitations have increased, and daily numbness in my arms, hands, legs and feet that lingers for up to an hour. My labs indicate low vitD and low-normal calcium, normal PTH. I am currently taking 100% RDA calcium, 4000 IU D3, 100% RDA K2. Should I request to be tested for Mg deficiency? Do my current symptoms sound like they could be improved with Mg? Is Mg deficiency associated with HPT pre or post-op? Thank you.

    • Hrkal

      Hi Erin,

      That sounds like a complex situation. Low or altered thyroid function could cause all those symptoms which I would suspect before I think of magnesium involvement. If you wanted to test for magnesium deficiency that I would request ionized magnesium but even this test is a poor marker of your true magnesium levels outside the blood stream. For this situation, I would suggest seeing a naturopathic doctor that will be able to answer of magnesium is a good idea for you to take. The good news is that magnesium is very well tolerated and has very little side effects.

      I hope that helps

      Dr Paul Hrkal

  • Lisa Lansford

    Hi, I've been taking 1,000 mg. of Magnesium Oxide per day (500 mg. in the morning and 500 mg. in the evening) for several months and am very happy with the laxative properties (no more constipation). After reading this very informative article, I am wanting to try Magnesium Taurate and Magnesium L-Threonate for their benefits. My question is, would these two forms of Magnesium have the same beneficial effects on my digestive system as the Magnesium Oxide? I don't want to go back to ineffective elimination.

    Thank you for your help. Lisa

    • Hrkal

      Hi Lisa,

      Thanks for you question. There is no doubt that magnesium oxide has the most potent laxative properties but citrate also has this effect at similar doses. Any type of magnesium will have a stool loosening effect but oxide and citrate just have their effect at lower doses. I think you can try another form like mag taurine but just adjust the dose to maintain your stool function. Also once you build up your mag levels your stools should need less of a dose to regulate bowel movements.

      I hope that helps

      Dr Paul Hrkal

  • Huni Hinrichsen

    Do any of the magnesium types counter each other? I have been taking Magnesium Citrate for a while to reduce risk of getting blocked bowel movement but a doctor is recommending me to take Magnesium Threonate for improved nerve and brain functions. I tried switching but noticed shortly that my bowel movement dropped.

    Can I take both of them right before bedtime or would you recommend sticking to either?

    Thanks Paul!

    • Hrkal

      Hi Huni,

      There is no known interaction between the forms of magnesium. Citrate does a better job at loosening the bowels. Threonate will also loosen stools but at a higher dose since the amino acid is absorbed more readily. In my opinion you could take both together if needed.

      Dr Paul Hrkal

      • Huni Hinrichsen

        Thank you very much!

  • Katerina

    Hello,

    Hi how are you? I have a question. A few weeks ago I purchased a product called Natural Vitality Nature Calm. It is magnesium citrate that is in a powdered form which I add to my water at night to drink. I am hypothyroid and even taking my desiccated NatureThroid I still was severely constipated. The magnesium citrate works tremendously for me. I take roughly around 325 mg to 400 mg every night. The problem is my insomnia is still there. I used to have to take prescription meds just to fall asleep. I stopped taking the prescription meds for sleeping because I don't want to live like that and rely on a pill just to fall asleep. I drink the magnesium citrate and then a few hours later I take melatonin, but it still takes me a few hours to fall asleep. I used to have migraines almost every day, muscle spasms, and muscle twitches. After taking the magnesium citrate that has gone away. My muscles do hurt a lot though and my doctor is still running some blood test to see if this is fibromyalgia or some other autoimmune disease. I wish they made an all in one magnesium pill. I did read that magnesium glycinate is good for insomnia. Why is glycinate better for insomnia versus the citrate form? Will the glycinate also produce a laxative effect? Also, taking the citrate I cannot say that I see a huge difference in my muscle pain. My main concern is I don't want to become constipated again changing the magnesium type. I really love the nature calm, I feel that it really works but I just can't easily fall asleep like normal people. Can you please recommend to me what I can do and which one I should take, and how many milligrams is the safest dose for the day in which ever you recommend? Thank you very much and I look forward in hearing from you.

    • Hrkal

      Hi Katerina,

      Thanks for your questions. Its sounds like you have a number of things you are still trying to figure out. Unfortunately, I can't make treatment or diagnosis recommendations in this post but I can answer some of your questions.
      1) Mag glycinate can be better for sleep since the amino acid glycine has an added calming effect in the brain that complements magnesium. Glycine is a calming neurotransmitter.
      2) Mag glycinate can also keep your stools regular but since its absorbed better than citrate you may need to take more to get the same effect.
      3) A common dosage for mag glycinate is 200-400mg daily in divided doses.

      Note: Mineral supplements can interact with your thyroid meds so be sure to take them at different times of the day.

      I would suggest you consult a Naturopathic doctor to help identify some root causes of the insomnia and muscle pain. There are number of effective things that can be done for fibro and lo.

      I hope that helps

      Dr Paul Hrkal

  • Joe

    Hello Dr Hrkal,

    My wife and I use mag daily and love it. We always opt for a chelate form. My wife is now 20 weeks pregnant. I have heard that Mag L-Theronate taken before bed can help with better sleep and cognition due to it's ability to pass the blood brain barrier so quickly. Pregnany has caused some sleepless/anxious nights for my wife. I know most chelates are safe and are often recommended to help with muscle health and calcium absorption in pregnancy. Would there be any reason why Mag L-Theronate would be ill advised in pregnancy?

    Blessings,
    Joe

    • Hrkal

      Hi Joe,

      Thanks for your question. You are correct that most chelates are safe however since Mag L-theronate is still a very new ingredient we don't have much human safe data on it however it has been granted GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status by the FDA so I am confident in its safety for all ages. As an FYI, L-theronine is a metabolite of vitamin C which is definitely safe in pregnancy in low doses.

      Here the link
      http://www.fda.gov/ucm/groups/fdagov-public/@fdagov-foods-gen/documents/document/ucm400322.pdf

      I hope that helps
      Dr Paul Hrkal

  • Xena

    Hi
    I have 3 questions

    1) I am in my mid twenties and a longterm insomniac who sleeps 3 hours a day, before going to bed I suffer from high anxiety and muscle spams and restless leg syndrome which keeps me wide awake, which one would be the best to calm me down and get to sleep and how much (how many grams) shall I use to the optimum effect.

    2) is there any difference in using the magnesium oil vs the tablets and which one is better for my situation

    3) I have heard Magnesium works best when combined, there many on the market such as magnesium/calcium and Magnesium zinc again which one would be the best in my severe insomnia/ anxiety situation

    • Hrkal

      Hi Xena,

      Thanks for the question. I can't give you medical advise but I can answer some of your questions.
      1) Magnesium glycinate is a very relaxing form of mag that also has the benefit of glycine which is a calming amino acid. Follow the dose on the label but try taking a higher dose short term until you get loose stools and reduce from there.
      2) Oil is a topical application that can help sore muscles but its a not a good way to build up systemic levels if you deficient. Oral forms used for more than 4 months are needed.
      3) Cal/mag is a common supplement combo but we usually have enough calcium in our diets so I prefer magnesium by itself. I agree that restless legs, insomnia and muscle pain would benefit from all the minerals since they work synergistically together so I would also suggest a high potency multi (not a one a day - a good multi is at least 3 caps daily) along with your magnesium. Extra zinc could also be a good idea.

      I would suggest you see a Naturopathic doctor to help you address some roots causes of your insomnia. Somethings food sensitivities can cause inflammation, muscle spams and even insomnia.

      I hope that helps
      Paul Hrkal ND

      • Xena

        thank you

        1.can you clarify what you meant by taking high potency multi ? did you mean a multi vitamin, if so which brand do you recommend.

        2. my severe insomnia has made me looking gaunt and sickly looking and have a LOT OF ACNE, I have hollow cheeks now and 2 big lines around my mouth in addition my lips are cracked, very dry and bleeding constantly, is there any vitamin in my body that I am missing is my body being depleted of minerals hence I am looking so gaunt, again what vitamins do I need?

        3. Why Zince how does it benefit my situation and if I buy the multi vitamin do I have to take it with the ZINC

        THANK YOU

        • Hrkal

          Hi Xena,

          A high potency multi is one that in NOT a one per day supplement. I like AOR's ortho core since it has all the active forms of the minerals and vitamins PLUS antioxidants. This makes it much more than just a multi. Some people need extra zinc especially if you are deficient. A hair mineral analysis or blood test (available through a ND) can tell you if you have low levels and you need extra over and above a multi. A good way to think of a multi is that its the minimum of each nutrient to maintain your levels.
          To learn more about what signs and symptoms cause certain symptoms read my blog I posted earlier.
          https://drnibber.com/common-signs-of-nutrient-deficiency/

          Good luck

          Paul Hrkal ND

          • Xena

            hi sorrry to bother you once more

            due to my severe chronic insomnia which is caused by anxiety you recommended before to take magnesium but after doing some research i found out about DOLOMITE

            these are the active ingredients in it :Active ingredients per tablet:
            Magnesium (Carbonate)133mg
            Calcium (Carbonate)200mg
            Vitamin D (200iu) (Ergocalciferol Preparation)5µg

            http://www.healthplus.co.uk/Dolomite-and-D.html

            is it possible to take Dolomite at night instead, does it work against insomnia and how many should i be able to take

            i am mid twenties female and 5'3 tall

            thank you

            • Hrkal

              Hi Xena,

              I don't have any experience using dolomite. I would be very cautious about using this form of magnesium since its in the carbonate form which is not well absorbed.

              Paul Hrkal ND

  • Melissa

    Hi, I have a question I hope you can answer , I have read the article twice, lol , and due to my fibromyalgia and lack of concentration, Im having a hard time figuring out which magnesium to take ... I have severe VIT D defiency , osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, chronic back/ knee pain. also .. since I have started taking VIT D , I have 'read' I also need magnesium ... I do take pain medication , along with a host of other prescribed medications.. I dont know if magnesium can interact with other meds also? please help ? Im not sure which mag to take .. thank you very much ... Melissa

    • Hrkal

      Hi Melissa,

      Thanks for the question. It sounds like you have a number of factors that need to be addressed. The vitamin D would be my top priority. Magnesium can help with both chronic pain and fibro but I can't recommend anything since I am not your doctor and don't know your specific meds. A licensed naturopathic doctor can really help you sort this out. I can say look at the magnesium malate info again since this type of magnesium has been clinically studied for fibro. I also would consider assessing your thyroid status. Ask your doctor to run a full thyroid lab panel. Here is a link to a article that is a very comprehensive overview of how to address chronic pain. It can help give you more direction.
      http://www.townsendletter.com/Nov2014/painfibro1114.html

      Best of luck

      Paul Hrkal ND

  • Armando

    I am 54 male, low testosterone (@ 250) June 2014 injected in shoulder and wrist with Kenalog (corticosteroid) it sent me to ER 3 times in a month where after MRI, Xrays lab of all kind, they found nothing wrong, the Dr. gave me xanax and sent me home, with HBP (155/105), heat in chest and painfull arms and legs. To make it short the Dr. never acknowledge it was the injection (the one in the wrist also caused my left thumb ligament to rupture and had surgery 20 day later to rerun the 2nd in the pointing finger) in all I spend 6 months in disability and getting back little by little. Now I am taking Vit D (had @ 20 the last 3 times tested) and lately have a sense of fatigue and muscle wasted. A Endo gave me 5000 IU Vit D 3 months ago but every time I take it I felt numbness in head and anxiety. I just try again and the numbness is less. Not taking 100 mg mag glysinate 3X a day but it makes me feel weak!. Should I expect to overcome that or lower the dose?. Can I expect to improve testosterone with D, Mag and B12 (methylcobalamin 1 mg a day -I was in low side when Endo saw me, took 5 mg for a month now only 1 mg) At times I feel chest pinching and light headed (dizzy) but I blame the Kenalog resin (alcohol soluble it coagulates inside the body) in my organism still around. Am I in right path ? am I missing something?. Is it possible that taking Vit D, Mag Vit C liposome 1500 a day and risverastol and Astaxanthin could be detoxing me and causing die off simptoms?
    Sorry for the long letter but it really feel good to extern all this. Thanks for your help.

    • Hrkal

      Hi Armando,

      It sounds like a complex situation. Unfortunately I am unable to give you any medical advise on this blog since I am not your doctor. Due to your complex health history I would suggest you see a local naturopathic doctor that can help you answer your questions and get you on the road to healing. I can say that taking magnesium glycinate should not make you feel "numb." Some people can experience anxiety after taking mag glycinate since it activates some of the neuro-pathways for some people. I would assume that you may also be deficient in cofactors like b-vitamins which complement magnesium activity. Low levels of b-vitamins (more then just B12) can make the neurotransmitter production imbalanced. To answer your second question the vit D, Mag, Astaxanthin,resveratrol and vit C should not cause die off symptoms but that again should be discussed in person with a ND.

      Best of luck

      Paul Hrkal ND

  • Lane

    Hi: I am taking aor cardio-mag 20. Recommended for high blood pressure. I have taken it twice a day,for about two weeks. I have noticed dizziness. Is that a symptom of the product. Will it subside.
    Thankyou

    • Hrkal

      Hi Lane,

      Thanks for the question. There aren't any noted side effects for magnesium orotate however dizziness can be a due to a number of cardiovascular related issues. Typically dizziness is caused by too high or too low blood pressure. If you are on any cardiovascular/blood pressure meds there may be an additive effect with magnesium leading to lower blood pressure. I would track your blood pressure throughout the day and if the symptoms persist, discontinue the cardiomag and see a qualified health practitioner.

      Dr Paul Hrkal ND

  • Eileen

    I have Hashimoto's, take Armour and have been gluten free for 4 months. I've also added several vitamins due to absorption issues. Currently weaning off of Prevacid. My Dr recommended magnesium Glycinate which I take at night. I've had constipation issues since going gluten free. Could I add magnesium oxide on a daily basis, maybe taking in the morning, to help the constipation?

    • Hrkal

      Hi Eileen,

      Thanks for your question. In terms of magnesium you could either add extra mag glycinate or mag oxide. Both will do the trick for loosening stools. The mag glycinate dose might be a bit higher. I would also consider glutamine for gut healing, high dose probiotics for a few months and a fibre supplement. They all should help with constipation. Of course lots of water is must with any fibre supps.

      I hope that helps

      Paul Hrkal ND

  • Eileen

    Thank you, Dr Hrkal! You're doing an awesome service for the public. I will pass your link along to friends.

  • Eileen

    i have another question. What type of mag supplement would you recommend for a child who is an extremely picky eater. Constipation and irritability are issues.
    Thanks again.

    • Hrkal

      Hi Eileen,

      Mag glycinate has the best calming activity. The dose is individual and has to be slowly increased until you get loose stools. A liquid formula is also nice for children as well from a taste perspective. In all cases of children irritability/constipation I suggest you see a licensed ND to assess food allergies; its a huge connection. Also consider probiotics but would be a question for the ND.

      Hope that helps

      Paul Hrkal ND

  • Sasha

    Hello

    From 2 weeks I have been having severe pain down my right leg which seems to be triggered by a pinched nerve in my buttocks area. Which mag is the best for muscle and nerve issues? Also I have severe constipation issues, which would be the best for it and what dose ? Thank you so much !!!

    • Hrkal

      Hi Sasha,

      For nerve pain magnesium glycinate would make the more physiological sense even though there has been no studies on it and sciatia. I increase the dose gradually until you get loose stools to find your bowel tolerance point then decrease your dose from there. Hydration, fibre and good fats are also key for constipation. Also consider getting good chiropractic care to see if one of your gluteal muscles in not pinching your sciatic nerve and to assess you low back as a potential cause.

      Good luck

      Paul Hrkal ND

  • Victoria

    Hello Sir. I have read ur article about magnesium. I like it. I have ortharthitis in my right knee from the last 15years.one of my friends talk about Jamieson calcium magnesium+vitamin D3. I try it .its benefit me. Please suggest me which kind of magnesium I have to take how much in a day and when. Before or after food.It will be appreciated if u reply me. Thanks.

    • Hrkal

      Hi Victoria,

      There is no specific type of magnesium for joint pain but muscles support joints so I prefer magnesium malate and glycinate for tight muscles. A good dose to build up your levels is 200mg twice a day and its usually best taken away from food.

      Good luck

      Dr Paul Hrkal

  • Victoria

    Hello sir I received ur mail. Thank you so much. Sir as I mention I have osteoarthritis from last 15 years . So you recommend me magnesium malmate and glycinate. sir I live in Canada I try all the shops but do not find any where. They have citrate. And calcium magnesium. So please help me what to do

    • Hrkal

      Hi Victoria,

      Mag Glycinate and malate should be available in healthfood stores. Pharmacies may not carry them. If those are not available then use mag citrate. I would avoid calcium by itself. Also consider vitamin D supplementation.

      Dr Hrkal

  • Caroline Guedes

    Hi ,
    I have headache/migraine for 6 years and usually have TOPAMAX and Botox ( each 3 months) but I heard MAGNESIUM can help , with type should I try ?
    Ty

    • Hrkal

      Hi Caroline,

      The specific type of magnesium that has been studied for headaches and migraines varies. I prefer a well absorbed form like magnesium glycinate for longer term supplementation but mag citrate can also work.

      Dr Paul Hrkal

  • Jim

    Dr. Hrkal, I have leg cramps regularly at night, often 3 or 4 times per night. They are generally worse after exercising hard during the day and/or having a couple of beers in the evening due to dehydration I expect. I also have tension headaches fairly regularly and have noticed that my spacial memory is not what it used to be, I am 72 years oid. Can you recommend what typ;e of magnesium supplement would be best for me? Thanks.

    Jim

    • Hrkal

      Hi Jim,

      Thanks for your question. I would suggest magnesium glycinate as a very well absorbed form of magnesium. Its added relaxing properties can address leg cramps and headaches. There is no evidence that magensium helps memory specifically but it will help with general cognitive function and most elderly people are deficient. For memory I would suggest you look into curcumin (an extract from the spice tumeric). Here is some more info.

      http://www.aor.ca/products-page/products-list/curcumind/

      Regards,

      Dr Paul Hrkal

      • Amber

        Hi Jim. Apple cider vinegar works wonderful for cramps. My husband works out regularly and he used to get terrible cramps when he rode his bike hard. He tried mustard (which has the 1st ingredient as vinegar) but it didn't work. One of his cycling buddies told him to do apple cider vinegar...as much as he could stand. It works! He has not had a cramp in a few years now. He drinks about 1 cup before and after his hard rides. Also, my grandmother gets cramps very bad when she is dehydrated. During one of her terrible cramps, I mixed 1 cup of pepsi and about 1 1/2 cups of apple cider vinegar. Her cramp went away in less than 10 minutes.
        I too have migraines. Two days ago, I started a magnesium citrate regimen. Hope this helps.

  • Amina

    Hi,

    Thanks for the article on different types of magnesium, it is very helpful.

    I suffer from extreme anxiety, symptoms include tense muscles, tight jaw, stiff shoulders and racing heart rate. I took a magnesium biglycinate powder combined with B-complex which seemed to increase anxiety and cause stomach upset and loose bowels. Which other magnesium form would you recommend?

    Thanks
    Amina

    • Hrkal

      Hi Amina,

      Thanks for your question. Its sounds like you have a number of symptoms going on that are pretty serious. I would suggest you see an ND to help guide you with your supplementation. There are be other nutrients that could be very helpful. Check out the research and info about GABA. http://www.aor.ca/products-page/products-list/gaba-4/

      In regards to the 2nd part of of your comment, a b-complex could cause nausea and too much magnesium could be responsible for the loose stools. Magnesium glycinate is a good form but you may not be able to handle the glycine component. I would suggest taking this up with your ND since there are many issue that can come into play here. You could switch to a loser dose of magnesium malate to see if you get the same effects and take it by itself. In some cases magnesium and b-vitamins can be too stimulating.

      good luck

      Paul Hrkal ND

  • Karen Watkins

    Per my reading, I believe I made to add a magnesium supplement. I have afternoon fatigue, restless legs sometimes at night, leg cramps sometimes at night, and trouble staying asleep. Reading your above explanation of the various magnesium forms, would I be correct in adding magnesium glycinate? Thank you for your information. Is there any benefit to the topical magnesium chloride sprays?

    • Hrkal

      Hi Karen,

      Magnesium Glycinate would probably be your best option due to its relaxing effects. If it doesn't help with the cramps completely then consider adding multi-mineral complex as well along with it.
      There is not much research on topical sprays so we really don't know much about if it works. Some people have positive experiences with it so there very well may be on benefit but I have not used it myself with patients

      Dr Paul Hrkal ND

    • Karen

      Hi Hrkal,

      Would low mag levels cause high RA numbers 119
      Or would taking mag cause high R A levels.
      When i was tested for RA I had just stopped taking mag supplements 3 weeks prior.
      Thank you

      • Hrkal

        Hi Karen,

        I don't see any way that Magnesium would have any impact on Rheumatoid factor numbers.

        Dr Paul Hrkal

  • Dennis Sklar

    Am also an ND in the states. Good luck spreading the word.
    Dennis

  • Mark

    Very helpful article!

    I want to try magnesium supplements mainly for better sleep (especialy falling asleep).

    In reply to a previous post you mention that magnesium glycinate might be the best option for sleep due to the calming effect of glycerinate. I can only find supplements with magnesium bis-glycinate. Is bis-glycinate the same as glycinate? Do they both offer calming effects?

    In another reply you say that the goal should be to get 100mg magnesium 2-3 times daily. Does this apply to all the different forms of magnesium? I ordered a magnesium taurate supplement which has a dose of only 50mg per pill. Would it be safe to take 4-6 of these pills a day, to get to that daily dosage of 200-300mg?

    Thank you.

    Mark

    • Hrkal

      Hi Mark,

      Thanks for the questions. Bisglycinate is the same as glycinate (bis means 2 glycines amino acids stuck together).
      The dosage for magnesium is roughly around 300mg/day so if you need to take 6 caps of 50mg mag taurate to get there that works just fine! The extra taurine is an added bonus!

      Dr Paul Hrkal ND

  • Billie Bullard

    My dr advised me to start taking vitamin D as my blood work shows I am deficient so I started taking D3 1000 iu..but a friend said if I don't take magnesium that the D will not work. So I have bought magnesium citrate...should I take the D3 & magnesium at same time of day?

    • Hrkal

      Hi Billie,

      There is absolutely no problem taking magnesium the same day. In fact, I recommend that you do take magnesium (and also vitamin K) along with vitamin D.

      In health,
      Dr Paul Hrkal ND

  • Maggie

    I have been taking Magnesium Malate for a few months (the highest dosage I've taken is 3 capsules a day = 540mg) for eyelid muscle spasms, but I read that Glycinate may be a better choice. What do you recommend and at what dosage to be effective? Thank you.

    • Hrkal

      Hi Maggie,

      Mag glycinate may have a more relaxing effect so it could improve muscle spasms and eye twitches. You can try the same dose as the mag glycinate for another few weeks to see it makes a difference. I would also consider taking a multi mineral formula as well to see if that helps. Sometimes extra calcium and potassium along with the mag is helpful for muscle twitches.

      In health,
      Dr Paul Hrkal ND

  • Mark

    I have Fibromyalgia combined with osteoporosis, IBS, CHRONIC PAIN in my lower back and both my shoulders are now causing me issues ( pain in joints , weakness) !
    Muscle pain and inability to remain asleep are chronic issues. What is best dosage to supplement? I have read that 400 mg is the daily recommend allowance?

    • Hrkal

      Hi Mark,

      Its difficult to answer your question with all your conditions since I am not your doctor. I think you are on the right track with 400mg in divided doses through out the day. Use a well absorbed form like mag glycinate or malate which will also help your pain.

      Dr Paul Hrkal

  • Danny

    I am interested in knowing more about magnesium cloride. Is it a good form of magnesium and what is it used for?

    • Hrkal

      Hi Danny,

      Magnesium chloride is commonly used in topical oils and in IV solutions. There isn't much research on this form as a "therapeutic" form of magnesium but it is used in hospitals and clinics to replace magnesium quickly via IV. Some experts feel its a superior form of magnesium since its totally ionized (meaning totally dissolved into magnesium and chloride) so its easy to absorb. The trouble is that you can't find any solid research to show that mag chloride is a superior oral supplement so right now we are relying on clinical expertise and theoretical actions.
      I personally like to use forms of magnesium such as mag malate or mag glycinate that will also give you the beneficial effects of the amino group (i.e. malate for cellular energy).

      Hope that helps

      Dr Paul Hrkal

  • Vince

    Hi Doc, which would you recommend for the heart, orate or taurate? Thanks

    • Hrkal

      Hi Vince,

      Good question. I like both. I always ask are you looking for heart function or conduction. See the my breakdown below and what magnesium form I think is best suited (FYI this is my opinion based on my clinical experience and understanding of the current research).
      Heart failure - orotate
      Exercise performance (heart function) - orotate
      Hypertension - either orotate or taurine
      Arrhythmia - taurine
      post heart attack/angina - either orotate or taurine

      I hope that helps

      Dr Paul Hrkal ND

  • Caroline Cioppa

    I have a-fib,and am currently taking magnesium glycinate 200mg daily(first thing in the morning along with norvasc & lescal)
    at noon I take cartia and at bedtime i take coumadin. should I be taking a different magnesium in the morning and the gycinate in the evening or would i be better off just taking one type. if so which magnesium which would benefit me more.

    • Hrkal

      Hi Caroline,

      Unfortunately I can't really make any recommendations for your situation since you are taking multiple meds. Thats something for your MD or ND to help you with. That being said, I don't think you need to change the types of magnesium to get the benefits. If you want a form more specifically for heart health I would consider mag taurate or mag orotate. They have better evidence supporting their use in heart conditions then mag glycinate.

      Regards

      Dr Paul Hrkal ND

  • Bipin

    i have heart palpitation and exteme anxiety too.i have been taking beta bokers for fast heart beat but its not going easy.please kindly help me which magnesium is better for me.

    • Hrkal

      Hi Bipin,

      Unfortunately I can’t really make any recommendations for your situation since you are taking multiple meds for a serious condition. Thats something for your MD or ND to help you with. That being said, according to the evidnce we do have, if you want a form more specifically for heart health I would consider mag taurate or mag orotate. Please be careful with supplementing with magnesium and potassium since some heart medications can alter these levels.

      Dr Paul Hrkal ND

  • Donna

    I am trying to learn about the differences between a prescription magnesium and products like Natural Calm. I am under the impression that magnesium is best when consumed as a powder or spray. Is this accurate? Thank you for any education you may be able to provide.

    • Hrkal

      Hi Donna,

      There is some information on the internet that suggests powders or sprays are better forms of magnesium but there simply isn't any peer reviewed evidence to support these claims. Unfortunately these claims are usually associated with selling a product. It is true the tablets can be hard to dissolve in your digestive tract but capsules dissolve in your stomach and intestinal juices to release the powdered contents. Magnesium is not absorbed sublingually (under the tongue) so a spray isn't that helpful unless you are put it on your skin. Mag calm is a nice formula with a "feel-good" bubble when mixed with water. People like it for its taste and ease of use but the magnesium is no better absorbed then a capsule.

      So overall capsules, powder or a liquid are good options but it really depends of the persons preference. I see patients everyday that like the various forms for many reasons. I will say that if you hate swallowing capsules then a powder or liquid is better. You can also get a higher dose of magnesium since you are not restricted to a capsule. Liquids and powders are also easily mixed into water, beverages and smoothies which hides the taste and is great for kids or for people that already takes lots of capsules. But keep in mind that 99% of liquids also have preservatives (i.e. polysorbate 80) with questionable health effects. Some people are very taste sensitive so they want capsules. If you want an accurate dose then capsules are also better in this case.

      I hope that helps

      Dr Paul Hrkal ND

  • Lianda

    I "discovered" magnesium citrate year ago to help with constipation and muscle cramps. I have Hashimoto's thyroiditis and have been taking Armour thyroid. But years before discovering Hashi's, I was diagnosed with IST (ianppropriate sinus tachycardia) which makes my resting heart rate 105. I take atenolol to maintain a rate in the 70-80s.

    I have to take almost 900-1,000 mg of Mag Cit to deal with both constipation and intense leg cramps. (I divide it up by morning and evening doses). And recently the muscle cramps have gotten a lot worse. I have even occasionally had constipation with a dose of 800 mg!

    According to what you have said in the many wonderful and generous answers you have given, this seems like a HUGE dose!
    I'm planning on trying Mag Glycinate and Taurate - to replace some of the citrate. Should I try one at a time to see what helps? Also, does it sound like there's another issue going on if I have to take 900 mg of magnesium?

    Thanks so much for your time and expertise!

    • Hrkal

      Hi Lianda,

      Thanks for question. I would try one at a time to see how you tolerate them and what dose works best. Increase by 1 cap daily until you get loose stools. You may need less of either mag glycinate or taurate. I would try the taurate first since its more indicated for heart function. Magnesium orotate also is good option. http://www.aor.ca/products-page/products-list/cardio-mag-2-0/.
      Some people need higher doses of magnesium so don't be concerned about that as long as there are no contra-indication with you medications (which beta blockers are fine). Magnesium is a very safe mineral but some meds can alter levels so talk to your doctor about that. Your electrolyte levels can also be checked to be safe.
      If the muscle cramps are still a problem try adding a multi mineral complex or a small amount of calcium. Its makes nerves function along with magnesium. Lastly get your doctor to check your iron levels because low levels can cause restless legs and muscle cramps as well.

      Good luck

      Dr Paul Hrkal ND

  • Lisa

    Please help, I was wondering if I can take mag taurate and Natural Calm Raspberry Lemon in the same day?

    • Hrkal

      Hi Lisa,

      In my opinion you can combine different types of magnesiums as long as your bowels can handle the amount of mag. Otherwise there are no safety issues.

      Good luck,

      Dr Paul Hrkal ND

  • TErry

    Hi Dr. Hrkal,

    I am appreciative of the plethora of information provided by you, it is apparent to me you are helping many people.

    My question is twofold. I am currently taking 240 mg Diltiazem for an A-fb condition, with my current cardiologist giving me the okay to add magnesium. First, from the information provided and as I understand it, it appears magnesium taurine would be the choice for A-fib? Second, I am at a magic age that would benefit from magnesium L-Threonate, so can it be taken on a bimonthly intermittent basis substituting the taurine with L Threonate or would that ultimately reduce the benefit of the taurine?

    With sincere appreciation,

    • Hrkal

      Hi Terry,

      If your cardiologist approved the addition of mag then in my opinion mag taurate would be the most indicated. The benefit of most the mag and taurine out weight the L-threonate benefits for arrhythmia. Taurine itself has cognitive benefits so if you follow the label for dosing you will have your brain covered as well.

      Good luck

      Dr Paul Hrkal ND

    • Angela

      Hi Dr. Hrkal
      I have diabetes type 2, sciatica and fibromyalgia which magnesium and other supplements should I take to help me with muscle cramping and pain? Thank you very much in advance.

      • Hrkal

        Hi Angela,

        Magenesium glycinate is a very good calming effect for both muscles and nerves. Hi Sharie,
        Consult a Naturopathic doctor to find out if any other supplements are right for you but magnesium is a good start.

        Dr Paul Hrkal

        Dr Paul Hrkal ND

  • Brook

    Hello,

    I have a wonderful, sweet, inquisitive 7 year old boy who has been having a tough time at school. He's incredibly smart, but a bit rigid, unorganized, forgetful, very talkative and fidgety. He also has a tendency to get frustrated, overly emotional at times, and has a difficult time following through with instructions. He also has a hard time going to sleep. While many of these traits are common for seven, together they are affecting his overall behavior in school negatively and I'm afraid he will soon hate school. It's been suggested that he use an ADHD medication. I just cant see that given the biggest behavior issues at school are his talking and fidgeting and need for redirection and yet, his diagnostic assessments still place him at the top of the entire second grade class. However, I think it does bother him that he feels constant anxiousness. He's very tall for his age, 76 pounds, and healthy. I started him on a supplement with 120mg of magnesium aspartate and after increasing to 180mg per day, began to see positive notes home daily and have heard him say HE LIKES SCHOOL. Is there a better form of magnesium you'd recommend for a child or is this a good one? His pediatrician is supportive of us trying magnesium but doesn't make suggestions for homeopathics.

    • Hrkal

      Hi Brook,

      Thanks for the question. Magnesium glycinate is the best form for its calming effects but if you are using mag aspartate and its working then thats fine as well. My one thought is that the aspartate form may be to stimulating while the glycinate is more calming.
      Maybe try a liquid version of magnesium if taste and compliance is an issue.
      Another helpful tip is remove all sugar, artificial sweeteners and colourants from his diet. They are HUGE triggers. Gluten is also a big problem.

      Good luck

      Dr Paul Hrkal ND

      • Brook

        I am not able to find magnesium citrate in anything other than a pill or capsule form- which he cannot take. I found it in a soft gel but with 200mg per pill. Would it be advisable to squeeze the contents out into yogurt or something similar? Is 200mg or 400mg per day okay for a child? I also found a powder (brand name Natural Calm); however, it just says magnesium. I looked closer and the ingredients list ionic magnesium citrate (created from a highly absorbable propriety of citric acid and magnesium carbonate). I bought it as a substitute for the magnesium glycinate but just read your notes about not using magnesium carbonate as it's not as absorbable.

        Which of those two are the best option for a child with the characteristics I described previously? While I want to calm his anxiety and restlessness, I do not want a sedative effect or to limit his ability to pay attention.

        Thank you,
        Brook

        • Hrkal

          Hi Brooke,

          Some of your questions should be answered by a licensed ND that understands the case better. Here are few points that are appropriate to respond to:
          1) Magnesium does not have a "sedating" effect. If just allows the body's own relaxation system to function better and it opposes the activation of calcium.
          2) Dosage is based on weight. An adult dose is 400mg then a child can take 200mg safety long term.
          Mag is non-toxic so the only thing that can happen is loose stools.
          3) Mag calm is a good option so don't have to waste it. The citrate form is still fairly well absorbed.
          4) You can open the capsule of mag glycinate. The taste should be pretty benign.

          Hope that helps

          Dr Paul Hrkal ND

        • Hrkal

          Brooke,

          Every nerve/muscle cell uses minerals to fire and send messages. Magnesium counteracts the effects of calcium allowing nerves cells to be more relaxed. It also partially blocks the excitatory receptor (NMDA) in the brain so the nervous system can't get as excited about every little stimulus. Glycine is an amino acid that has many functions in the body but one of its fastest actions is it helps nerve cells relax by calming receptors that normally stimulate action. Both mag and glycine are not habit forming (since the body normally uses them daily) and can be safely taken long term. Most people are deficient in magnesium and for some it can contribute to anxiety, pain, ADHD etc. so we need to add more to restore function.

          Dr Paul Hrkal ND

  • Deb

    Hi Dr Hrkel

    I am after the best bio available Elemental Magnesium.

    It is for very low bone density. Already have a serious ?autoimmune condition stomach requiring PPI daily.

    What would be best form of Magnesium that would be absorbed and most gentle on stomach and gut?

    Taking Calcium Citrate
    Vitamin K2
    D3
    PPI

    Thank you

    • Hrkal

      Hi Deb,

      PPIs are tough since they block the absorption of all magnesium since stomach acid is needed to break apart the magnesium in supplement form. The best way to bypass the entire GI system would be intravenous magnesium once a month however from an oral perspective I would still stick with an amino acid based magnesium like Magnesium glycinate. A combo of all well absorbed magnesiums might be the best option so you get the broadest spectrum forms. This is my favourite http://www.aor.ca/products-page/products-list/advanced-magnesium-complex/

      Good luck

      Dr Paul Hrkal ND

  • Amy

    Hi Dr Hrkel,

    I appreciate how much time you've taken to write replies to so many people! I read through your post and most of the comments and I cant seem to find an answer to my specific question:
    I have taken magnesium glycinate 400mg daily and I definitely notice a difference with my muscle and nerve pain (I have cfids & fibromyalgia). My problem is that my stomach is already sensitive due to being ill for quite some time that even magnesium glycenate (which you said in your post caused the least gastrointestinal effects) gives me very loose, tarry stools. I need at least 400mg a day for any benefit, and magnesium glycenate has so far been the only kind that has worked (though I haven't tried ALL forms). I'm already slightly underweight and its hard for me to eat with an upset stomach. Do you have any recommendations? Is a topical oil/spray even going to do anything?

    • Hrkal

      Hi Amy,

      Thanks for your question. Have you had your tarry stools assessed for bleeding? Your stool should not be tarry unless there is bleeding or you are taking some medications that might cause it. My suggestion to you would be to break up the dose as much as possible. For example, 100mg 4 times per day (instead of taking it all at once or in 2 doses). Mg oil could be helpful but you will have to trial it to see if you notice a benefit (which might not happen until a few weeks of regular application). Maybe a combo of oral mag glycinate and topical is good option.

      I also like IV magnesium if you have access to an ND licensed to do IV therapy. Epsom salt (mag sulfate) baths also are a nice option since it does get absorbed through the skin. I hope that helps!

      Dr Paul Hrkal ND

  • Christina Raby

    I recently started taking 2 magnesium bisglycinate tablets an hour before bed for help sleeping and with muscle pain due to fibromyalgia and Hashimoto's. At this point it doesn't seem to be helping too well, I am still waking up with very sore muscles all over. I also take vitamin D3 and just was checked and levels were good. Is there another form of magnesium that would work best and when is the best time to take it? Also do I need to take K1 or K2 with the magnesium? Thank you.

    • Hrkal

      Hi Christina,

      I would suggest magnesium malate instead of mag glycinate. Its been studied for fibro specifically. I would also increase the dose to 2caps twice a day and maybe you will have to go even higher to get relief.
      Vit K is a good idea not because it should be taken with mag but it prevents calcification of vessels and muscles so a good K2 supplement is a good idea.

      Dr Paul Hrkal ND

  • Dawn

    My husband grinds his teeth at night to the point that it is causing tooth and jaw pain. I have heard that magnesium would help. He also suffers from IBS with constipation. Which type of magnesium would be best for him?

    • Hrkal

      Hi Dawn,

      I would suggest magnesium glycinate for its effect on relaxing nerves and muscles. Just watch the dose and increase 1 cap at a time so diarrhea (IBS) is not triggered.

      Hope that helps

      Dr Paul Hrkal ND

  • Andrew

    Any benefit to taking both Magnesium Orotate and Magnesium Taurate? I have heart issues and high blood pressure and I was wondering if there would be any benefit of taking both instead of one or the other. Would there be synergism taking both of them? Thanks for your help.

    • Hrkal

      Hi Andrew,

      Great question! I think the combo is a great idea if you are really serious about heart protection. It gives you the best of both worlds. The orotate shuttles the magnesium into the heart cell and repairs RNA and the taurate regulates contraction and delivers more magnesium than the orotate (since its a smaller molecule and more magensium can fit into the capsule.

      I don't see any negative interactions with the combo

      Hope that helps

      Dr Paul Hrkal ND

  • Susan Menard

    Dr. Hrkal

    Thank-you for the helpful information!

    I seem to need about 1200 mg magnesium to deal with constipation-I use combination of citrate and oxide. Should it be taken with or without food? I gather from one of your blogs that capsules are more easily absorbed than tablets. One reason I use the oxide is the expense--can Mg Oxide cause problems?

    Also, should Mg glycine be taken on an empty stomach at night to facilitate absorption of the glycine. Thank you!!!!

    • Hrkal

      Hi Susan,

      Magnesium ideally should be taken without food for maximal absorption. This keeps the stomach acid low so the maximal amount of magnesium is dissociated from the citrate/oxide. You are also right in suggesting that amino acids (like glycine) are best absorbed on a empty stomach so I think taking it before bed and between meals is a good idea. Definitely look for a capsule over a tablet since the breakdown is much easier and I would avoid oxide totally and just increase the dose of the mag citrate to get the desired effect on the stools. You should be able to find a inexpensive citrate product.

      Good luck

      Dr Paul Hrkal

  • Linda

    Hi Dr. Hrkal,

    I've been told that magnesium deficiency could be one of the causes of cataracts. I have recently had an eye exam and found that I am still 20/20 in my left eye, but my right eye is blurry due to the beginnings of a cataract. I read some studies at the National Institute of Health which mentioned magnesium taurate. However, several friends have recommended magnesium glycinate. Which type of magnesium would be best for me? Taurate or Glycinate? Thanks!

    • Hrkal

      Hi Linda,

      Thanks for the question. You are correct that magnesium deficiency has been connected with eye disorders including cataracts.
      Here is a reference:
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24233809
      I would consider magnesium and great prevention strategy. I would use the taurate form since it has an affinity for the eye, heart and brain.
      Also consider this formula called ortho eyes. Its has excellent research for cataract treatment.
      http://www.aor.ca/products-page/acetyl-l-carnosine/ortho-eyes/

      Good luck

      Dr Paul Hrkal ND

  • Ashley

    I struggle with constipation and I am wondering if the Magnesium Citrate is the best option for me to take on a regular basis? Also, how many MG should I be taking on a daily basis? thank you!

    • Hrkal

      Hi Ashley,

      Mag citrate is a good option. Start with 200mg and increase by 1 cap daily until you get relief. Then reduce by 2 caps and stay at that point. Also try to divide the doses throughout the day (i.e. 2 in the morning and 3 at night)

      Dr Paul Hrkal

  • Tamara Smith

    I've been reading that magnesium can help with tics. I was a stay at home mom for 6 years and went back to work. About a month later my son was doing a lot of blinking and grunting. We practice TCM and the chinese herbs helped the symptoms go away. I had the summer off, went back to work and his tic came back in a different form, a series of head nods. My son doesn't know he has a tic, he's been on chinese herbs for a month and while there's been a slight improvement they told me it could take months. I was wondering if a magnesium supplement would be beneficial and if so, which one. He'll be seven soon. Thanks so much!

    • Hrkal

      Hi Tamara,

      Thanks for your question. Magnesium is a calming mineral so it could very well aid the nervous system in a tic disorder. In this case it would best if you saw a Naturopathic doctor to get additional guidance and dosing recommendations for your son. I will suggest that magnesium is very safe in 6-7 year olds and finding a mag glycinate would be optimal form. Cutting the adult dose (on the container) is a good dose to start with. There are powdered versions to helps with compliance.

      Good luck,

      Dr Paul Hrkal ND

  • Cynthia Moneypenny

    Hello Dr. Hrkal,
    I would like to know the best form or forms of magnesium to take and how to take them; one for SVT and PVCs and the other for brain health. I have a very strong family history of Alzheimer's Disease and I am doing all I can on many fronts to hopefully avoid that terrible disease.
    Currently I take approximately 800-1000grams divided of powdered magnesium citrate product (citric and mag carbonate blend). At a recent consultation with an electrophysiologist, he suggested that I switch to magnesium oxide. From your articles and others it seems that this is not the best choice.
    I welcome your input.
    Thank you for your time.
    Cynthia

    • Hrkal

      Hi Cynthia,

      For any heart conduction issues I would suggest magnesium taurate. See this link for more info. http://www.aor.ca/products-page/products-list/mag-k-taurine/
      The good news is that magnesium and taurine are very good for brain function as well. I would work with a ND on this situation due to complexity of heart function. They will help you with dosing since thats beyond the scope of this post.

      Good luck,

      Dr Hrkal

  • Bharadwaj

    Sir ,Greetings.
    Based on my research in web I found most of my symptoms such as depression, anxiety ,irritability ,restless ness ,IBS ,Confusion are caused byagnesium deficiency .
    So I started taking magnesium tich foods such as spinach ,dates,almonds ,,sesame seeds daily.
    Im feeling better now. But not totally satisfied .
    So I consulted homeopathy doctor on this case and he prescribed me magnesium phos 6x ..is it enough to treat mag deficie cy or do I need to take magnesium suppple.ents such as glycinate. .pls help ..
    Thanks

    • Hrkal

      Hello,

      Mag deficiency could be a factor in your symptoms and those foods are rich in mag but I don't think it will be enough to get you all the way better. A mag phos 6X is a homeopathic (tissue salt) form of magnesium. That means that its been prepared in special way with a LOW dose of magnesium. It can be helpful for absorbing magnesium and has some beneficial effects (but nothing thats been researched, just based on clinical experience). I still think you will benefit from optimal doses of magnesium from a supplement. The glycinate form would work well.

      Good luck

      Dr Hrkal

  • Alan

    Does magnesium help with OCD and excitotoxicity? If it does, which form is best? Thanks!

    • Hrkal

      Hi Alan,

      Mag can help with excitoxicity and excessive nervous function but its effects vary with each person. I would use the magnesium glycinate form for its nerve relaxing effects. The magnesium itself can reduce excitoxicity. Also consider L-theanine as a very safe, calming amino acid. http://www.aor.ca/products-page/products-list/zen-theanine/

      Dr Hrkal

  • Stormee Fischer

    I recently purchased a magnesium malate supplement to help with my anxiety, before I realized that magnesium glycinate would be a better choice. Will the magnesium malate still help ease my anxiety? (I haven't opened the bottle yet so I could still return it, however I do like the added benefits of the malic acid it.)

    • Hrkal

      Hi Stormee,

      The mag glycinate would be better so if you can exchange it that would be optimal.

      Dr Hrkal

  • Zandra

    Dr Hrkal,

    I took A jamison brand 250mg Magnesium supplement last night for the first time along with Tylonol for headache, I slept great but got very cold for the first hour the magnesium in that supplement is oxide, malate and glycerophosphate. I had chronic insomnia and migraines that last for months so I would like to keep taking magnesium, should I switch to a magnesium Bisglycinate powder? Would that be better? Thanks! -Zandra

    • Hrkal

      Hi Zandra,

      The mag glycinate would be better but if the one you are using is working for you use it up before switching. No point in wasting money and the absorption is only marginally worse. The oxide is not great but the rest of the forms are okay.

      Dr Hrkal

  • Imajenn

    Thank you for The Best article on magnesium I have come across!
    I have a complex medical situation and have multiple genetic defects resulting in an inability to convert / utilize multiple amino acids, vitimins, etc. My doctor is looking into Mitochondial & Inborn metabolism disorders.

    I have been taking Magnesium bi-glycnate for about 6 weeks, and it is helping with pain a bit, but I can't seem to take more than 300 mg. I am still getting charlie horses on it.

    I have/had low magnesium levels & testing showed I should try and get 800 mg.

    Question:

    1)If taking a highly absorbable form of magnesium,
    -do you need Less than the RDA?
    - if so, how much less?
    eg (4 magnesium l-threonate has 133 mg magnesium per 4 caps, bi-glycnate has 400)

    2) I just looked at my urine Organic Acid test (from a year PRIOR to taking Magnesium) and my glycine levels were through the roof (something like 7000 mmol/ul).
    -There may be a problem with my ability to utilize glycine
    -Would trading the bi-glycnate form Increase my glycine levels or effect my ability to absorb this form of glycine?

    3)I have GI isdues, nerve problems, Dysautonomia, insomnia & anxiety (among many other things). I also have ATP dysfunction and memory problems
    -Would the taurinate or threonate be better forms for me to try?
    - Which would you recommend?

    Thank You
    Imajenn

    • Hrkal

      Hi Imajenn,

      I sounds like a complex situation. I can only comment on a couple things. Based on your tolerance and OATs test I would suggest a different kind of magnesium. I would suggest mag malate for mito function and ATP production. Taurate or threonate could also work but they are not not specific for mitochondria. Don't worry about the RDA as a dosing guide. These are very conservative (and frankly outdated) so just use bowel tolerance as a guide. For charlie horses I would suggest a mineral complex and CoQ10 to see if that works. Also check your iron (ferritin) levels.

      Good luck,

      Dr Paul Hrkal

  • Soph

    Hi!

    Have been looking for magnesium bisglycinate in the EU for a long time and the closest I could find was magnesium oxide chelated bisglycinate which was not magnesium bisglycinate. Likely companies persuaded the EU to ban sales of Magnesium bisglycinate in the EU so they could sell magnesium oxide far cheaper. I think this because I've not found a company outside the EU who would post this into the EU!

    If you know somebody selling this please let me know.

    • Hrkal

      Hi Sophie,

      Check out this site. http://www.supplete.com/
      They have a number of magnesium types.

      Good luck

      Dr Paul Hrkal ND

  • Nancy

    Hello Dr. I have high blood pressure and my doctor suggested three different kind of magnesium to choose from, magnesium citrate, glycinate or succinate. Which do you think is best

    • Hrkal

      Hi Nancy,

      Glycinate is the best absorbed on that list. Also consider mag orotate or taurate which are specific for blood vessels and the heart.

      Good luck,

      Dr Paul Hrkal ND

  • Susan

    I have been searching and searching for information for a friend that has CCavernous Malformations in the brain. He has had two surgeries already to take care of the bleeds. The first one was successful, the most recent one was not and left him unable to speak, somewhat ( and hopefuly only temporarily) paralyzed and with a head shake. This is SO sad! He still has young children at home to raise. I had recently read about Magnesium and how it can help TBI's and stroke victims. However I didn't realize there were so many different types! From what I read above, it would seem that there could be one or more of these that may help. The nuerosurgen said that there are many more spots and that no more surgery can be done. What hope does he have? Can magnesium help restore him somewhat?

  • Susan

    PS. To the above statement, Regarding my friend, he's not actually paralyzed, just doesn't have full function including poor balance.

    • Hrkal

      Hi Susan,

      Sorry to hear about your friend. Sounds very complex and this question is well beyond something that can be answered online. Based on what you said magnesium probably won't do much so I would seek the opinion of other integrative and complementary healthcare practitioners.

      Best of luck

      Dr Paul Hrkal ND

  • Sheila

    I have been taking 400mg. Magnesium Glycinate twice daily for about a month and it has has helpled my sleep immensely, but has done nothing to help the constipation. Could I add magnesium citrate along with the glycinate and if so how much? Thank you
    Sheila

    • Hrkal

      Hi Sheila,

      The issue might be you have to increase the dose of the glycinate. Its not harmful and you will know you have hit the right dose when your stool become softer. You can also add citrate without any issues 1 cap each night until loose stools.

      In health,

      Dr Paul Hrkal ND

  • Jcb

    Hello, what form of magnesium it's best to take to stop chocolate and all sugar cravings. Thank you

    • Hrkal

      Hi Jill,

      There really isn't a specific form that does that specifically. I would look for mag glycinate as a well absorbed form for general health.

      Dr Hrkal

  • George Kelly

    I am taking ionic magnesium and am still constipated but if I take other forms I have diarrhea what is the best to take and get my bowels moving without a real laxative effect? Oh, also, a lot of other types upset my stomach the iconic does not. Thanks, George

    • Hrkal

      Hi George,

      Ionic forms are well absorbed so you may not be getting the desired effect on your bowels. If other forms are upsetting your stomach then you may have low stomach acid which isn't breaking down the magnesium complex well. You can trying increasing the ionic mag dose but a serving each day to see if it has an effect. Also consider that another issue may be the cause of your constipation (food sensitivities, low fibre, low hydration etc.)

      Good luck

      Dr Paul Hrkal ND

  • Julie

    Hi. I suffer from daily migraine headaches, anxiety, insomnia, sugar cravings, chronic muscle pain, fatigue and poor memory/concentration. Is there one form of magnesium that will address all of these? What might be an appropriate dosage? I've tried magnesium chloride lotion, with success in reducing migraines only, and magnesium l-threonate 150 mg daily, with no noticeable benefit. Thank you.

    • Hrkal

      Hi Julie,

      This sounds a case where you will need more than magnesium to get relief. See a licensed naturopathic doctor to address the root issues. I would consider magnesium glycinate since it is well absorbed and has a calming effect. Studies have used doses of 200-400mg.

      good luck

      Dr Paul Hrkal ND

  • San

    QUESTION: WHICH MAGNESIUM IS BEST FOR LEG CRAMPS DR. HRKAL?

    • Hrkal

      Hi San,

      I would consider magnesium glycinate first for any sort of cramps.

      Dr Paul Hrkal ND

  • Camille

    I have been taking Magnisium Oxide for several years as a stool loosener and it works perfectly.

    Could you please tell me about Marine Magnesium?

    • Hrkal

      Hi Camille,

      I don't know much about marine magnesium. This is not an evidence based form of magnesium but some proponents claim since it contains the forms that are found in sea water which are better which are assimilated into the body better then other forms. It can include magnesium including oxide, hydroxide, sulfate, carbonate and chloride. There is no evidence to suggest these form are better and in fact if you consider these forms they actually can have a strong laxative effect with LOW intestinal absorption. For example, mag hydroxide is just the oxide form with an added water molecule. I would stick to more absorbable forms such as glycinate or malate. Even though you have been using mag oxide as a stool softener you are probably not getting the benefits of the magnesium molecule being absorbed into you body. Only 5% of mag from mag oxide is absorbed.

      Warm regards,

      Dr Paul Hrkal ND