| October 1, 2021

4 Types of Magnesium (and What to Use Each For)

Magnesium is one of the most common deficiencies among North Americans, so starting a supplementation regime is likely a good idea.

By Michelle Moen

Read time: 3 min.

Magnesium is one of the most common deficiencies among North Americans, so starting a supplementation regime is likely a good idea. When you get to the supplement store, however, you’ve probably noticed that there are many different types of magnesium.

Are they all created equal? Absolutely not. Will it harm you to take the wrong kind for your needs? Also no, it’ll just be suboptimal. If you still have some magnesium left over from a previous purchase, use it up, then switch to the type that you need the most.

So why are they different? Different types of magnesium have different biological abilities. For example, some types of magnesium can pass the blood brain barrier, while others cannot. This is neither a good thing nor a bad thing, they just have different functions. We’ll cover the top reasons why someone might want to supplement with magnesium: sleep, muscle soreness, and digestion.

1. Magnesium Threonate:

Magnesium threonate is best taken as a sleep aid. This type of magnesium can pass through the blood brain barrier, and helps your mind relax before bed. Magnesium threonate helps you get to sleep and stay asleep, whereas something like melatonin only helps you fall asleep, but won’t help you stay asleep. In addition, magnesium threonate isn’t habit forming, whereas melatonin can be, making it the superior option.

2. Magnesium Malate:

If you like to take magnesium for muscle soreness, pick up magnesium malate. This will bias relaxing your muscles, helping with recovery from those tough workouts. Magnesium plays an important role in muscle relaxation, making it a good option even for those who don’t workout. Does your eye frequently twitch? Do you get muscle spasms? Are your muscles chronically tight? Start on magnesium malate to better support your muscles, whether you’re an athletic type or sedentary.

3. Magnesium Citrate:

If you struggle with slow bowel movements, I would take magnesium citrate. What counts as constipation? I would define constipation as anything less than 1 bowel movement per day, although there are plenty of folks who go 3-7 days without a single bowel movement. I would like to emphasize you will need lifestyle adjustments in addition to magnesium citrate supplementation, as supplementation alone will not address the root cause of your constipation. Magnesium citrate is also non habit forming, unlike other types of laxatives. Start with the smallest dosage recommended on the bottle, then work your dosage up until you experience regular bowel movements.

4. Magnesium biglycinate:

Magnesium biglycinate is another type of magnesium that can get transported past the blood brain barrier, and can also pass transdermally, which is why this type of magnesium is used in epsom salt baths. Epsom salt baths are great for relaxing muscles and has mental health benefits. We all need to spend time in our parasympathetic nervous system daily, which makes Epsom salt baths an excellent choice for those needing to unwind from their busy day.

Whether you’re looking to take magnesium for help with improving sleep quality, muscle soreness, constipation issues, or relaxation, there’s a specific type for your needs. Ultimately, most of the population would benefit from some type of magnesium supplementation. Experiment with the different types available and see how they personally affect you.

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