Magnesium: Most Overlooked Mineral for Improving Health – Part 2

Magnesium: Most Overlooked Mineral for Improving Health - Part 2

Magnesium and Your Digestive Health

Magnesium is used in the body to help active digestive enzyme reactions in your body as well as regulate the proper transit time of your bowels.1 2 The enzyme reactions in your body help further break down fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. Magnesium chloride can help increase stomach acid production to help assimilate food better if you have digestion problems it might be the type you want to use.3 Other forms of magnesium (unless chelated with an acid like citrate, orotate, or malate) increase stomach pH so they should be taken before bed, so problems with digestion do not occur.

Magnesium is used in your intestines as an osmotic laxative.4 This means that your large intestine uses it to bring in water into the bowl so that your stool becomes softer and easier to pass which is why supplementation is a great treatment for someone who has constipation issues.5 Magnesium is very important for optimal digestive and overall health.

Different Chelations of Magnesium

Recommended Chelations:

  • Magnesium glycinate – The most bio-available form of magnesium. The extra glycine as an amino acid can help with sleep and provide a calm feeling. Glycine also increases LES pressure, helping to prevent reflux. This form is the least likely to cause loose stools. Taken at bedtime.6
  • Magnesium malate – Magnesium malate is important for people who have a lot of fatigue or suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome. Magnesium supplementation increases ATP, which is a molecule that provides energy to our cells. Malic Acid has been shown to increase ATP levels. The chelation should be taken during the day with meals. The extra malic acid helps with bile production, may help people with gallbladder issues.7
  • Magnesium chloride – Magnesium chloride is one of the best forms of magnesium if you are suffering from digestive issues caused by low stomach acid. It must be taken with food because the extra chloride will help produce more HCL in the stomach. Can also be used topically as a spray for transdermal supplementation.8
  • Magnesium taurate – Magnesium taurate is a lifesaver for people with heart disease. Taurine is an amino acid that aids in proper heart function. Taken at bedtime.9
  • Magnesium sulfate – Honestly it is only used to stop pre-eclampsia and in bath salts such as Epsom salt. Has okay absorption through the skin and also contains sulfur. Sulfate can help heal muscle sprains better than most other forms of magnesium because of skin permeability. Taken either soaking in a bath or orally before bed.10
  • Magnesium arginate – Arginine is a vasodilator amino acid that is good for increasing blood flow.11 This form is very good for bodybuilders. Taken with meals throughout the day due to the possibility of increased energy.
  • Magnesium lysinate – A good source of magnesium and the amino acid lysine. Lysine is an excellent anti-viral against the Herpesviridae family. Taken before bed.12
  • Magnesium ascorbate – A good source of magnesium and vitamin C. Can cause some loose stools. Taken with meals.13
  • Magnesium ZMK– A great form of magnesium that is chelated from components of the Krebs cycle: citrate, fumarate, malate, succinate & alpha-keto-glutarate. The supplement form known as magnesium ZMK is great for athletes and is very good for workout recovery. A ZMK supplement should be taken before bed.
  • Magnesium fumarate, succinate, alpha-keto glutarate – See ZMK, all Krebs cycle forms.14
  • Magnesium gluconate – A form of magnesium that is chelated with gluconic acid, which occurs from the fermentation of glucose. It has above average absorption in the body (better than even magnesium citrate),15 rarely causes loose stools. Taken before bed.
  • Magnesium carbonate – This is probably the lowest form of magnesium I can recommend. Has one of the lowest levels of assimilation and is a good osmotic laxative. It can also lower stomach acid levels and is used in most antacids. Taken at bedtime.16

Special Use Chelations:

  • Magnesium orotate – This is one least known forms of magnesium, but let me tell you if you just had a surgery or exercise constantly then it will be your godsend. The extra orotate will help muscle regeneration.17 It also has been shown to support heart health greater than even taurate. Taken at bedtime. 18
  • Magnesium L-threonate – Magnesium L-threonate may greatly increase magnesium in the brain and spinal column for increased cognitive function. 19 But there is not a lot of in vivo research to prove if this is true yet though. L-threonate is an isomer of ascorbic acid.20 New research has shown that it increases magnesium levels about the same as the sulfate chelated, granted sulfate is generally given by IV which makes it easier to cross the blood-brain barrier than oral supplementation).21 Taken at bedtime.
  • Magnesium 2-AEP – This is a form of magnesium that is chelated with phosphorylethanolamine that is a vital component of the structure and integrity of cell membranes. Magnesium 2-AEP has been theorized to help patients with MS because it can help with cellular function and integrity and can help protect myelin in the brain. Taken with meals during the day.22
  • Magnesium peroxide – ONLY AS COLON CLEANSER. Taken before bed.
  • Magnesium Phos 6X – Normally I do not recommend homeopathic supplements (if they work for some people I’m glad they do, I rather recommend nutraceuticals), but for homeopathic minerals I feel they still can be beneficial because some of the trace mineral should be left in the product. I would suggest using it in a person who is extremely sensitive to all forms of supplementation. If other forms of magnesium cause sensitivity reactions then this is the form for you to try.23 This magnesium contains some phosphorus so I would suggest if you have kidney problems to stay away from this form. Taken before bed.24

Chelations to Avoid:

Most of these forms I would avoid because they either do damage in the body or are very poorly absorbed.

  • Magnesium yeast chelate – A “natural” form that is very easily assimilated by the body, what could be wrong? This form is found in most of your “natural” vitamins like New Chapter, Garden of Life, and Megafood. The main problem I have with this form is that you have to ingest a lot of brewers yeast (which some people are sensitive to) in the whole supplement to get a tiny amount of magnesium.25 Most vitamins that use this form have very little magnesium in the multivitamin (less than 100 mg elemental). There are a lot better options available to improve your health. Taken with food.
  • Magnesium aspartate – Absorption is not worth the extra aspartic acid. Too much, aspartic acid can be neurotoxic. Can you say ASPARTAME? Taken at bedtime. This includes ZMA supplements.26
  • Magnesium pidolate – Absorption is DEFINITELY not worth the extra free glutamic acid. Too much, free glutamic acid can be excitotoxic and neurotoxic. Can you say MSG? Taken with meals.
  • Magnesium hydroxide – Not greatly absorbed and most of it is released into the bowels. Most commercial preparations have sodium hypochlorite added (bleach). Taken at Bedtime.27
  • Magnesium oxide – VERY POORLY ABSORBED – Out of 400 mg AT MOST 80 mg of elemental magnesium is absorbed by the body. Oxide is one of the worst absorbed forms of magnesium, and sadly the most common supplement form taken. Taken at Bedtime.28
  • Magnesium glycerophosphate – This form is chelated with phosphorus. The problem with this form is that most people get too much phosphate in their diet. People with kidney problems should also stay away from this supplement because it is harder for them to eliminate excess phosphates. Taken at bedtime.29
  • Magnesium citrate – Magnesium citrate should mostly only be used for bowel irrigation, it is also one of the most well-known forms of supplementation. It causes some loose stools and it has average absorption. I do not recommend magnesium citrate anymore because it may interfere with ceurloplasmin production.30
  • Magnesium lactate – Extra lactic acid is FUN! Should not be used in people who have kidney disease because the extra lactic acid can cause complications for the kidneys. I do not recommend this form at all. Taken during meals.

  7. Dean, Carolyn. The Magnesium Miracle, Ballantine Books, December 26, 2006.
  9. Dean, Carolyn. The Magnesium Miracle, Ballantine Books, December 26, 2006.
  11. Balch, Phyllis. Prescription for Nutritional Healing, Avery Publishing, 2010.
  12. Balch, Phyllis. Prescription for Nutritional Healing, Avery Publishing, 2010.
  13. Balch, Phyllis. Prescription for Nutritional Healing, Avery Publishing, 2010.
  14. Dean, Carolyn. The Magnesium Miracle, Ballantine Books, December 26, 2006.
  22. Nieper, Hans. The Curious Man: The Life and Works of Dr. Nieper, Avery, December 1, 1998
  23. Dean, Carolyn. The Magnesium Miracle, Ballantine Books, December 26, 2006.
  26. Dean, Carolyn. The Magnesium Miracle, Ballantine Books, December 26, 2006.
  27. Dean, Carolyn. The Magnesium Miracle, Ballantine Books, December 26, 2006.
  28. Dean, Carolyn. The Magnesium Miracle, Ballantine Books, December 26, 2006.
  30. Dean, Carolyn. The Magnesium Miracle, Ballantine Books, December 26, 2006.
  1. Hi John!

    My friend and I love your blog (we both have SIBO) – so first off, thank you.

    Second, I am not great with science but have done my best to try to understand all these concepts I find RE sibo and gut health. That being said, recently I’ve been learning about biofilm (and started taking EDTA) and understand that taking magnesium and other certain supplements help biofilm to reform. However here Magnesium L-threonate (which I’d like to start eventually taking) is written as a recommended chelator… I’m wondering if you’d be able to help clarify this?/if Magnesium L-threonate is different than “plain old” magnesium from the way it’s formed? I want to take it, I just don’t want to interrupt this breaking of the biofilm I’m trying to accomplish.

    You are amazing amazing!! Thank you so much!!

  2. Hi again, I just tested the ph of magnesium malate solution, expecting it to be acidic, and found it was a strong alkanine of ph14, whereas magnesium sulphate appears to be ph 5/6. I’m still not sure whether being a strong alkaline means it is safe to use as an enema!

  3. Hello John, I have ME/CFS and have read on Dr Myhill’s site that magnesium sulphate can be administered as an enema. I am therefore thinking that magnesium malate could also be used this way, for improved absorption. Is there any reason not to use it this way? Thanks.

    • I do have an issue with magnesium being used as an enema. I wonder if it is too alkaline for the colon, even malate, which could cause dysbiosis.

  4. Hi John, I know this is a very old threat but Im hoping to get some clarification on something. My ND told me to take Magnesium (from magnesium 5-oxo-proline) 300 mg / day – this is Mg Pidolate. Can you elaborate on why you say to avoid this form of magnesium, and where your sources are for your reasoning? Im worried now.

  5. I am so overwhelmed at this moment. 30 something years of throwing up every bite that went into my mouth. food rotting in my stomach and coming out my nose every time I fell asleep. Sitting on the back door step at 3 in the morning in the snow because I smelled so horrible from sour stomachs. Finally a doctor gave me Nexium and I was able to control some of it. Still throw up once a day but I can sleep now most of the time. I read your article and am so confused where to go and where to start. None of my doctors know what supplements I should take including my heart Doctor (quadruple bypass). Where do I start. I just figured I would just not wake up some day. All these years and I could have helped myself? I have pernicious anemia and get b12 shots. Is there hope for me? What can I read to start that is simple to understand as a beginner? I feel my life is not over. I have so much more to do and to give. I have 6 children that have had to deal with our whole lives revolving around my stomach. I don’t know how to save this site. Don’t know if I will ever find it again. Thanks for letting me vent.

  6. I have both chronic fatigue syndrome and constipation, so I was considering Mg Malate, but I also have an incredibly sensitive gut. For example, if I take even the tiniest amount of Mg Citrate (I know, not recommended) I get terrible bloating.I will be getting your book to deal with my gut, but for now I just need to get my energy levels up and constipation under control. I drink 2-3 liters of water a day and eat a ton of vegetables with moderate nuts/seeds and no meat. Thank for your recommendation.

  7. I have Fibromyalgia and Stage 3 kidney disease. Is it ok for me to take Magnesium to help with poor sleep and chronic fatigue? What would you recommend?

  8. What form is best to avoid creation bone spurs. Seems when I take regular magnesium supplements they develop more quickly.
    Thank you

  9. Hi,
    This was the info I was looking for. So I can take magnesium chloride orally and it will actually help raise my stomach acid? I can awesome the dosage would be important. Could it raise levels too much? Thank you for the wonderful article.

    • There is a rate limit in how much stomach acid that would be produced from the extra chloride. It would help better if you were deficient in sodium.

  10. I’ve been trying to take Chelated Magnesium and I find that it relaxes my muscles but causes me to have worse insomnia, which I already have but my meds stop working, and depresses my mood. Vitamin D, which the doc’s office told me to take, made me extremely tired and depressed.

  11. I need the loose bowel supplement and have taken it for years, but is it possible to take the taurate with heart meds as cardizem and toprol?? Can I take both types of magnesium?

  12. I have chronic intractable failed neck pain syndrome (failed cervical fusion) with daily chronic headaches with a migraine disorder (3-5x wk). In addition I have hypothyroidism, ehlers danlos syndrome, non-alcoholic failed liver syndrome with a dilated common bile duct w/no stones and no tumor, osteoposoris, reflux, overactive bladder, exercise and cold-induced asthma at 58, 5’5″, 150 lbs. I am on about a dozen prescription medications and many supplements from feverfew to NAC to milk thistle to black cohosh to Omega 3,6,9, Vitamin C, E, Tumeric, Ginger and much more. I am needing to add Magnesium but do not know where to go. I have a lot of chronic fatigue due to the ongoing chronic pain starting mildly at age 12, weigh gain through teens to 175 going as high as 300 at age 22 (lots of yo-yoing up and down 20-60 lbs) til I addressed it mentally, emotionally and physically. Never eat out, don’t eat processed food and very little canned or frozen food and almost no meat. Eat non and low fat dairy, high fiber, fruits, vegies, grains from oats to buckwheat to spelt to barley & much more. High liquid content. Even with opioid pain management do not have constipation due to high fiber, high liquid, lots of aerobics and weights. Often the only thing I do in a day is work out. What magnesium type should I take, when and with or without food? I have to take the majority of my meds and supps by taking a bite of food like Greek yogurt or two and take a couple of pills and then liquid (lots of green tea)so I may have to take a bite of nut and seed bread or Tums to avoid nausea. Great trouble keeping blood work good…has taken 3 mos to almost 2 yrs to get Vit D, iron, sodium, calcium from low to normal with high adding foods and supplements and with thyroid fluctuating up/down for 10 years and still isn’t stable. Dr is solely a numbers man/not a symptom dr…would love to find a different doc in the DC/Baltimore area. Thanks!

    • I would check with your doctor, but I would take magnesium glycinate at night before bed. You could also try magnesium malate in the morning with breakfast to help with energy. Try to get vitamin D from the sun.

  13. In Part 2 of Magnesium: The Most Overlooked Mineral, in the opening paragraph, it states “Most all other forms (unless chelated with an acid like citrate or malate) lower stomach acid so they should be taken before bed, so problems with digestion do not occur.” But later in the same article, it states Calcium Malate should be taken during the day with meals. This confused me. I just bought a big bottle of Calcium Malate and started taking it in the morning with breakfast in order to give my body more energy during the day. However, I am experiencing nausea soon after taking it. Can you please clarify for me. Should I be taking it at night without food instead? I want the maximum benefit from the magnesium.

  14. One tablet of homeopathic Magnesium Phos 6X will contain how much of elemental Magnesium? Please reply.

  15. You link to Cardiovascular Research Magnesium Taurate as a good source for that form. I recently ordered it and the capsules are pretty small and only weigh out to about 850 mg. Do you know how that would be possible since based on information provided online, 125 mg of elemental magnesium should have approximately 1.4 grams of taurine (magnesium taurate being approximately 9% elemental magnesium)? I can’t seem to find the company contact information to ask them this question.

  16. Reference #19 is a bad link.

  17. I have low stomach acid causing indigestion (I take betaine HCL after food to increase acid). I noticed that when I take mag citrate with food, the indigestion gets worse. I assume it works an antacid. However, you state that it increases stomach acid and thus helping with food digestion (which would be great in my case). So what is true? Should I take mag citrate with food or does it make the digestion harder?

  18. Seriously i think the world needs to embrace the Chinese herbs. Most of nutrients are found in roots and herbs

  19. A group that I have joined says do not take vitamin D, C, or calcium unless it is from whole foods. Do you agree?
    Thank you,

    • You cannot get a lot of Vitamin D from whole foods, in fact you have to either take it in supplemental form or get it from proper sunlight exposure. Vitamin C levels in most fruits and vegetables are very low, and there is not difference between l ascorbic acid in supplements and ascorbate from foods. Calcium is best when taken from foods like sardines.

  20. And will taking it at night cover my bodily needs for the following day?

  21. I’m 225lbs on keto. Male. How much mag glycinate should I take daily?

    • 600 – 800 mg at night as long as your kidneys are good and it would cover your needs for the next day.

  22. Could you explain why Mg glycerophsphate is widely used in France (Boiron etc). You consider this form as a garbage Mg. It is difficut for the users to know what to decide .
    Thank you

    • Its the same by saying that magnesium oxide is the most widely used form in America yet it is very poorly absorbed. Just because a form is in every pharmacy and store does not mean it is the best.

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