Magnesium is an essential mineral that plays a crucial role in various bodily functions. It is involved in over 300 enzymatic reactions and is necessary for maintaining normal muscle and nerve function, regulating blood sugar levels, and supporting a healthy immune system. However, many people do not consume enough magnesium through their diet alone, leading to a deficiency. To address this, magnesium supplements have become increasingly popular. Two common forms of magnesium supplements are Magnesium Glycinate and Magnesium Citrate. In this article, we will explore the differences between these two forms and help you determine which one may be more suitable for your needs.

The Basics of Magnesium Glycinate

Magnesium Glycinate is a form of magnesium that is bound to the amino acid glycine. This chelated form of magnesium is highly absorbable and bioavailable, meaning it is easily absorbed by the body and readily utilized. Glycine, the amino acid to which magnesium is bound, also has its own health benefits. It is known for its calming effects on the brain and can help promote relaxation and improve sleep quality.

One of the key advantages of Magnesium Glycinate is its gentle and non-laxative effect on the digestive system. Unlike some other forms of magnesium, such as Magnesium Citrate, glycinate does not have a laxative effect and is well-tolerated by individuals with sensitive stomachs. This makes it an excellent choice for those who want to supplement with magnesium but are concerned about potential digestive side effects.

The Basics of Magnesium Citrate

Magnesium Citrate is another commonly used form of magnesium supplement. It is made by combining magnesium with citric acid, resulting in a salt-like compound. Magnesium Citrate is known for its laxative effect and is often used to relieve constipation or promote bowel movements. This form of magnesium is rapidly absorbed by the body and can have a quick and noticeable impact on digestive regularity.

Due to its laxative effect, Magnesium Citrate may not be suitable for everyone. Some individuals may experience loose stools or diarrhea when taking Magnesium Citrate, especially at higher doses. However, for those who struggle with constipation or irregular bowel movements, Magnesium Citrate can be an effective solution.

Absorption and Bioavailability

When comparing Magnesium Glycinate and Magnesium Citrate, one important factor to consider is their absorption and bioavailability. Bioavailability refers to the amount of a substance that is absorbed and available for use by the body. In general, Magnesium Glycinate is considered to have higher bioavailability compared to Magnesium Citrate.

Studies have shown that Magnesium Glycinate is well-absorbed by the body and has a higher absorption rate compared to other forms of magnesium, including Magnesium Citrate. This means that a larger percentage of the Magnesium Glycinate you consume is actually utilized by your body, making it a more efficient choice for supplementation.

On the other hand, while Magnesium Citrate is also absorbed relatively well, its bioavailability may be slightly lower compared to Magnesium Glycinate. This is partly due to the laxative effect of Magnesium Citrate, which can result in a portion of the magnesium being excreted before it is fully absorbed.

Benefits and Uses

Both Magnesium Glycinate and Magnesium Citrate offer a range of health benefits and can be used to address different concerns. Here are some of the key benefits and uses of each form:

Magnesium Glycinate:

  • Promotes relaxation and improves sleep quality
  • Supports healthy muscle function and reduces muscle cramps
  • Helps maintain normal blood sugar levels
  • Supports a healthy immune system
  • May help reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression

Magnesium Citrate:

  • Relieves constipation and promotes bowel movements
  • Can be used as a laxative for colon cleansing before medical procedures
  • May help alleviate symptoms of acid reflux and heartburn
  • Supports overall digestive health
  • Can help prevent kidney stones

It is important to note that these benefits are not exclusive to each form of magnesium. Both Magnesium Glycinate and Magnesium Citrate can provide general magnesium supplementation and support overall health. However, the specific benefits listed above are often associated with the respective forms due to their unique properties and effects on the body.

Choosing the Right Form for You

When deciding between Magnesium Glycinate and Magnesium Citrate, it is essential to consider your individual needs and preferences. Here are some factors to consider:

Digestive Sensitivity:

If you have a sensitive stomach or are prone to digestive issues, Magnesium Glycinate may be a better choice for you. It is gentle on the digestive system and less likely to cause stomach upset or diarrhea compared to Magnesium Citrate.

Sleep and Relaxation:

If you struggle with sleep quality or are looking for a magnesium supplement to promote relaxation, Magnesium Glycinate may be more suitable. The glycine component of Magnesium Glycinate has calming effects on the brain and can help improve sleep quality.

Constipation or Bowel Regularity:

If you experience constipation or irregular bowel movements, Magnesium Citrate may be a more appropriate choice. Its laxative effect can help relieve constipation and promote regular bowel movements.

Specific Health Concerns:

If you have specific health concerns, such as muscle cramps or blood sugar regulation, it may be beneficial to choose the form of magnesium that is more closely associated with addressing those concerns. For example, Magnesium Glycinate is often recommended for muscle cramps, while Magnesium Citrate may be more suitable for constipation.


Both Magnesium Glycinate and Magnesium Citrate are effective forms of magnesium supplementation, each with its own unique properties and benefits. Magnesium Glycinate is highly absorbable, gentle on the digestive system, and can promote relaxation and sleep quality. On the other hand, Magnesium Citrate is known for its laxative effect and can help relieve constipation. When choosing between the two, it is important to consider your individual needs, digestive sensitivity, and specific health concerns. Consulting with a healthcare professional can also provide personalized guidance and recommendations. Ultimately, both forms can be valuable additions to your supplement routine, supporting overall health and well-being.

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