Research shows that about 1 in 6 people in Western countries has a magnesium deficiency (Guo, 2016). Magnesium plays a key role in many body processes. It is important for good health.
Magnesium is found in various foods. Despite this, an additional supplement can sometimes be helpful. In this article we explain why, which magnesium supplement is best for you and what magnesium does exactly.
WHAT IS MAGNESIUM?
Magnesium is a mineral involved in more than 600 body processes. In addition, it can be found in almost all cells. The body cannot make minerals on its own. They occur in small amounts in our diet and are important for a healthy body.
Magnesium in food
Magnesium is found in nuts, cocoa, green leafy vegetables and dairy. However, supplementing with a magnesium supplement can sometimes be helpful. Research shows that our diet contains less and less magnesium.
Take spinach for example: In 17 years, magnesium levels have decreased by 76%. 100 grams of spinach contains on average only 15 milligrams of magnesium instead of 62 milligrams (Researchgate, 2021).
This is especially true for non-organic farming and is probably due to:
• The use of fertilizers, which exhausts the arable land.
• Long-term storage and transport as well as early harvesting of fruits and vegetables, which means that valuable nutrients are lost.
Summary: Magnesium is an important mineral, involved in as many as 600 body processes. The body cannot make minerals, so it is important to get them through food. Our diet contains less and less magnesium.
WHAT DOES MAGNESIUM DO?
Magnesium is involved in an incredible number of bodily processes. It is not called ‘the spark of life’ for nothing. Below is a small selection of the many functions.
Magnesium has a positive influence on the functioning of the nervous system. The human brain processes about 10 million stimuli per second. Magnesium plays a role in the stimulus transfer between (nerve) cells.
What many people do not know is that all our cells contain proteins, think of the cells in muscles, organs, the nervous system, bones and blood. Magnesium plays a role in building these proteins.
In addition, magnesium is good for:
• The ability to concentrate
• The learning achievements
• Your state of mind
• The cell metabolism
• The energy level in the body
• The functioning of the muscles
Other special functions of magnesium are that it:
• Can be used to reduce fatigue and lethargy.
• Has a favorable influence on a normal energy-yielding metabolism, also known as the metabolism.
• Helps maintain the normal balance in the body’s water and mineral balance, and the electrolyte balance.
The absorbability of the different forms of magnesium
Magnesium can therefore be widely used as a supplement to the diet. However, not all magnesium supplements are well absorbed. It depends on the shape and the substances it is combined with to aid the absorption.
Different forms of magnesium
There is organically bound magnesium (natural) and inorganically bound magnesium (not natural/synthetic). Supplements with the organically bound form often contain relatively less magnesium but are absorbed much better.
Organic magnesium (well absorbable)
• Magnesium bisglycinate
• Magnesium Citrate
• Magnesium Picolinate
• Magnesium Taurate
• Magnesium Chloride
Inorganic magnesium (less absorbable)
• Magnesium Oxide
• Magnesium Carbonate
• Magnesium sulfate
Note: We do not recommend the use of magnesium oxide, because it is poorly absorbed. Moreover, it can have a laxative effect and therefore have a negative influence on the mineral balance in the body (Bohn, 2003 & Kappeler, 2016).
In addition to the form of magnesium, co-factors (other substances) also support the absorption in the body. In the case of magnesium these are, for example: vitamin B6, glycine and taurine. It is therefore good to see whether a supplement also contains these.
Summary: The organically bound form of magnesium is absorbed better than the inorganically bound form. The addition of cofactors to a supplement also support the absorption. In the case of magnesium, these are vitamin B6, glycine and taurine.
WHICH MAGNESIUM PRODUCT SHOULD YOU CHOOSE?
As you are used to from us, we closely follow the latest scientific developments. Below we explain what we think are the two best forms of magnesium. We also explain when you choose which form. Both forms have different effects in the body.
Magnesium Citrate is often used by people with a sporty lifestyle. Citrate has been scientifically proven to increase magnesium levels in all tissues, including muscles (Ates, 2019).
Therefore, magnesium contributes to:
• The maintenance of strong and flexible muscles
• A normal energy-yielding metabolism (metabolism)
• The reduction of tiredness and fatigue
It also helps build (body) protein.
We think magnesium bisglycinate is the best form of magnesium as a dietary supplement.
Research indicates that magnesium bisglycinate reaches the brain and not the muscles, as magnesium citrate does (Ates, 2019). Therefore they have a different function. This form of magnesium is good, among other things:
• For the mood
• For the memory
• In case of fatigue and fatigue
• For the ability to concentrate
Advantages of magnesium bisglycinate over other magnesium
The body does not see magnesium bisglycinate as a mineral, but as an amino acid. This is handy, because this way this shape bypasses the mineral competition (Ates, 2019).
Mineral competition takes place because multiple minerals use the same transporters, thus hindering each other’s absorption.
An extra plus is that the absorption of amino acids by the body is higher than that of minerals.
Furthermore, this form of magnesium does not bond with phosphates and phytates. These are nutrients that ensure that the magnesium is absorbed less well. For example, phosphates are found in protein-rich foods and phytates in grain products and coffee.
If we look at the benefits, it is likely that this is the best absorbable form of magnesium. This also applies when we take the supplement with a meal (Siebrecht, 2013).
• About 1 in 6 people has a magnesium deficiency.
• Our diet contains less and less magnesium.
• If you opt for a supplement, choose the organically bound form of magnesium, such as magnesium bisglycinate and magnesium citrate.
• Also check whether the supplement contains co-factors for better absorption, such as vitamin B6, glycine and/or taurine.
• Magnesium bisglycinate is the best absorbed of all forms of magnesium.
• Bisglycinate can be used for normal nervous system function, memory, concentration and learning performance.
• People with a sporty lifestyle can choose to take extra magnesium citrate. This contributes to the maintenance of strong and flexible muscles and promotes energy metabolism.
Guo, W., et al. (2016). Magnesium deficiency in plants: An urgent problem. The Crop Journal, 4(2), 83-91. Geraadpleegd van: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S221451411500121X
Nature-based agriculture for an adequate human microbiome. Geraadpleegd van www.researchgate.net/publication/341410233_Nature-based_agriculture_for_an_adequate_human_microbiome
Ates et al. (2019). Dose-Dependent Absorption Profile of Different Magnesium Compounds. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2019 Feb 13. doi: 10.1007/s12011-019-01663-0. Geraadpleegd van: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30761462
Baaij et al. (2015). Magnesium in man: implications for health and disease. Physiol Rev. 2015 Jan;95(1):1–46. Geraadpleegd van: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25540137
Bohn et al. (2003). Magnesium absorption in humans. Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich; 2003. pp. 1–242. http://doi.org/10.3929/ethz-a-004523459 – Proefschrift
Kappeler et al. (2017). Higher bioavailability of magnesium citrate as compared to magnesium oxide. BMC Nutrition. BMC Nutrition; 2017 Jan 5;:1–12. http://doi.org/10.1186/s40795-016-0121-3
EFSA (2016). EU Register on nutrition and health claims [website]. Geraadpleegd van: http://ec.europa.eu/food/safety/labelling_nutrition/claims/register/public/?event=search
Hartle (2016). Development of a Model for In-Vitro Comparative Absorption of Magnesium from Five Magnesium Sources Commonly Used as Dietary Supplements. The FASEB Journal. The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology; 2016 Apr;30(1_supplement). https://www.fasebj.org/doi/abs/10.1096/fasebj.30.1_supplement.128.6
Powers et al. (2019). How does magnesium citrate compare to other forms of magnesium – Magnesium absorption (White Paper) [Internet]. Natural Calm Canada. Geraadpleegd van: https://naturalcalm.ca/magnesium-absorption-white-paper/
Siebrecht et al. (2013). Magnesium Bisglycinate as safe form for mineral supplementation in human nutrition. OM & Ernährung. 2013;(144):1–16. Geraadpleegd van: https://www.omundernaehrung.com/media/documents/en/Siebrecht_Dr_Stefan_Magnesium_bisglycinate.pdf
Schuette et al. (1994). Bioavailability of magnesium diglycinate vs magnesium oxide in patients with ileal resection. Parenter Enteral Nutr. 1994 Sep-Oct;18(5):430-