Know Your Magnesium: What’s the difference between Magnesium Glycinate and Magnesium Citrate?

Know Your Magnesium: What’s the difference between Magnesium Glycinate and Magnesium Citrate?
Magnesium is one of the five essential minerals needed by the human body to function effectively. It is found naturally in the body, along with minerals like calcium, phosphorus, sodium and potassium and 72 trace minerals.

When your body is not absorbing sufficient magnesium from the food you eat, or releasing too much of it through the kidneys and intestines, a deficiency is created. Since the body does not manufacture magnesium, your diet forms the main source of this mineral along with supplements.  
Why do you need magnesium? This mineral plays a crucial role in both your physical and mental health. Besides helping to regulate your blood sugar levels and blood pressure, it helps in nerve, muscle, kidney and heart functions.

It also aids in the formation of bones, energy production, DNA formation and protein synthesis. The levels of magnesium in the body can also impact your moods. It is necessary for the optimum working of your brain.

Low levels of this mineral could lead to brain fog, agitation, irritability and mental confusion. Increasing the consumption of magnesium-rich food can also help combat memory loss due to old age and reduce anxiety.

In fact, magnesium is vital for the function of all the cells in our body and any shortfall can lead to major health issues.

The amount of magnesium that you need will differ according to your age and sex.  On an average, an adult male needs 400-420 milligrams of magnesium daily, while women need 310-320 milligrams.

There are many causes of magnesium deficiency. Let’s have a look at some common ones.

Causes of Magnesium Deficiency

•   A high-protein diet
•   Digestive issues like Crohn’s disease
•   Malnutrition
•   Type 2 diabetes
•   Old age
•   Use of certain medicines
•   Alcoholism
•   Kidney problems
•   Overuse of diuretics
•   Chronic diarrhoea  

A deficiency of the mineral is generally hard to pin down and it generally shows up in the long run. Some of the signs and symptoms to look out for include:

•   Loss of appetite
•   Nausea
•   Fatigue
•   Vomiting
•   Tingling/muscle cramps
•   Irregular heartbeat
•   Frequent migraines
•   Mood changes
•   Insulin resistance
•   Low energy
•   Premenstrual Syndrome

Magnesium deficiency is also linked to anxiety, depression and sleep disorders like insomnia. In extreme cases, it can lead to osteoporosis, seizures and Type 2 diabetes.

Since magnesium plays a role in brain health, it is found to be effective in kids with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). It is known to help reduce some symptoms of ADHD and promote sleep.

Generally, your diet can take care of any deficiency in magnesium. The other option to boost the levels of the mineral in your body is through various supplements. One of the most common forms of magnesium available is in its glycinate form. The other most popular form is Magnesium Citrate.

Magnesium Glycinate is easily absorbed by your body and is found to be most effective for conditions like anxiety, stress and sleep disorders like insomnia as it promotes feelings of calm. In fact, it has been suggested in some studies that there is a correlation between magnesium deficiency and sleep disorders.

This is good news for the sleep deprived populace. Magnesium Glycinate is currently the latest supplement doing the rounds for sleep disorders and anxiety, taking precedence over previously popular aids like melatonin.


•   Helps in bone health
•   Lowers risk of getting type 2 diabetes
•   Maintains normal heart beat
•   Reduces anxiety
•   Reduces insomnia and promotes sleep
•   Reduces PMS symptoms
•   Reduces overall inflammation
•   Improves memory

On the other hand, Magnesium Citrate is mostly used as a laxative in constipation and bowel irregularity. It is an osmotic laxative as it works by pulling water into the intestines, thus softening the hard stools and making it easier to pass. It is more effective than Milk of Magnesia or magnesium hydroxide.

Since Magnesium Citrate dissolves easily in water, it is often taken in the form of a powder or a liquid. It is also used to prevent migraines.
The fact of the matter is that while both are magnesium supplements, they are each better suited to treat different symptoms.

But before you reach out to buy a magnesium supplement, it would be best to check with your doctor if you need one or not. Dosage is also important. Overdosing could cause breathing problems, nausea, stomach cramps, vomiting low blood pressure and even cardiac arrest.

Magnesium and Calcium connection

The ideal ratio of calcium to magnesium in one’s diet should be one-to-one, and some assert magnesium should be taken as much as calcium in a diet. This ratio corresponds to the natural ratio of a grain-and vegetable-based-diet. It is common knowledge that vitamin D is essential for efficient calcium utilization.

Calcitonin is a hormone which increases calcium in the bones and keeps it from being absorbed into the soft tissues. Magnesium stimulates calcitonin production and therefore increases calcium in the bones, drawing it out from soft tissue. A magnesium-rich diet of whole foods is generally a cure for all types of arthritis as well as most forms of calcium deficiency.


1. Leafy greens like cooked spinach and Swiss chard
2. Vegetables like peas, sweets corn and potatoes
3. Whole grains, like brown rice, buckwheat, millet corn, barley and brown rice
4. Nuts like peanuts, cashews and almonds
5. Flax, pumpkin, sesame and chia seeds; Nuts: almonds and cashews
6. Avocado, banana, papaya and blackberries
7. Beans and lentils
8. Low fat milk and yogurt
9. Tofu
10. Fatty fish like salmon
11. Fortified breakfast cereals
12. Soy products
13. Dried seaweeds and spirulina

Note: All chlorophyll-rich foods are high in magnesium
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