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A Comprehensive Guide to Magnesium Glycinate

A Comprehensive Guide to Magnesium Glycinate

Welcome to our deep dive into the world of Magnesium Glycinate, a crucial mineral for the human body, involved in over 300 biochemical reactions that keep our systems running smoothly. Yet, despite its importance, many of us fall short of our daily magnesium needs, leading to a plethora of health issues. 

1 - What is Magnesium Glycinate?

Magnesium Glycinate is a form of magnesium that is bonded to glycine, an amino acid that itself is a building block for protein. This particular form of magnesium is praised for its high bioavailability[1], meaning it's more easily absorbed by your body compared to other forms of magnesium supplements. Magnesium is available in various forms, each with its own set of benefits and uses, but Magnesium Glycinate stands out for its gentle effect on the stomach and its ability to provide the body with the magnesium it needs without causing the laxative effect that other forms of magnesium supplements can cause.

Why choose Magnesium Glycinate over other forms of magnesium? The key lies in its absorption and gentle impact on the gastrointestinal tract[2]. When magnesium is bound to glycine, it's transported through the intestinal wall more efficiently, making it an ideal choice for those seeking to increase their magnesium levels without experiencing digestive discomfort. This form is particularly beneficial for individuals who have sensitive stomachs or who have experienced side effects from other magnesium supplements.

2 - The Importance of Magnesium in the Body

Magnesium plays a pivotal role in our health and well-being, being involved in processes that affect muscle and nerve function, blood sugar levels, blood pressure regulation, and the making of protein, bone, and DNA[3]. A deficiency in magnesium can lead to a range of health problems, including muscle cramps, mental disorders, osteoporosis, and chronic fatigue. Unfortunately, magnesium deficiency is increasingly common, attributed to factors such as soil depletion reducing the magnesium content in our foods, as well as lifestyle choices that can decrease magnesium levels, such as high consumption of processed foods and alcohol[4].

Symptoms of magnesium deficiency can be subtle at first — fatigue, weakness, loss of appetite — but can escalate to more serious issues like numbness, tingling, muscle contractions and cramps, seizures, personality changes, abnormal heart rhythms, and coronary spasms[5]. Given the broad role magnesium plays in the body, maintaining adequate levels is essential for overall health.

3 - Benefits of Magnesium Glycinate

Magnesium Glycinate has been associated with a wide range of health benefits, making it a popular choice for those looking to improve their well-being through supplementation. Here are some of the key benefits it offers:

  1. Improved Sleep Quality: Magnesium is known to play a role in regulating neurotransmitters, which directly impact the sleep cycle[6]. Magnesium Glycinate, in particular, has been shown to improve sleep quality by helping individuals fall asleep faster and enjoy deeper, more restful sleep. This effect is partly due to magnesium's ability to relax the muscles and calm the nervous system, preparing the body for sleep.

  2. Enhanced Bone Health: Magnesium is crucial for bone formation, as it helps with the assimilation of calcium into the bone and plays a role in activating vitamin D in the kidneys[7]. Adequate magnesium intake is associated with higher bone density, improved bone crystal formation, and a lower risk of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women.

  3. Stress Reduction and Mood Enhancement: By regulating neurotransmitters in the brain, magnesium can have a calming effect on the nervous system, which is beneficial in managing stress and anxiety[8]. Magnesium Glycinate, in particular, is often recommended for its calming effects and its ability to improve symptoms of depression and anxiety.

  4. Support for Muscle Health and Recovery: Magnesium is vital for muscle function, helping to relax muscles after contraction and thus reducing cramps and spasms[9]. Athletes and those with active lifestyles may find magnesium glycinate helpful in speeding up recovery times and improving performance.

  5. Cardiovascular Health Benefits: Magnesium helps to regulate blood pressure and is important for the health of the heart muscle. Studies suggest that magnesium supplementation can lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease[10].

  6. Blood Sugar Regulation: Magnesium plays a key role in carbohydrate metabolism and influences the release and activity of insulin, the hormone that controls blood glucose levels[11]. Magnesium Glycinate supplementation can help improve insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar levels, which is beneficial for preventing and managing diabetes.

  7. Migraine Relief: Research has shown that magnesium deficiency is common among people who suffer from migraines. Supplementing with magnesium can reduce the frequency and severity of migraines by affecting the neurotransmitters and blood vessels in the brain[12].

4 - Magnesium Glycinate for Mental Health

The impact of magnesium on mental health is profound, with Magnesium Glycinate offering specific benefits due to its high bioavailability and gentle effect on the gut. It plays a crucial role in brain function and mood regulation, and deficiencies have been linked to an increased risk of depression and anxiety. Magnesium Glycinate can help:

  • Reduce Symptoms of Anxiety and Depression: By regulating neurotransmitters involved in mood regulation, magnesium can have an antidepressant effect[13]. Magnesium Glycinate, in particular, is beneficial due to its calming properties.

  • Improve Neurological Benefits and Cognitive Function: Magnesium is involved in nerve transmission and is essential for maintaining healthy brain function. It can improve aspects of learning and memory[14] and is being researched for its potential in preventing neurodegenerative diseases.

5 - Digestive Health and Magnesium Glycinate

While all forms of magnesium can affect the digestive tract, Magnesium Glycinate is often preferred for those with sensitive systems due to its gentle effect. It offers benefits for digestive health, including:

  • Effects on Gut Health: Magnesium helps to relax the muscles in the digestive tract, which can contribute to smoother digestion and alleviate issues such as bloating and discomfort[15].

  • Use in Treating Constipation: Magnesium draws water into the intestines, which can soften stool and promote bowel movements[16]. However, Magnesium Glycinate is less likely to cause diarrhea compared to other forms of magnesium, making it a good option for those seeking to improve bowel regularity without the laxative effect.

6 - Comparing Magnesium Glycinate to Other Magnesium Forms

When considering magnesium supplementation, it's important to understand how Magnesium Glycinate stacks up against other forms of magnesium. Here's a closer look at how it compares:

  • Absorption Rates and Bioavailability: Magnesium Glycinate boasts a high level of bioavailability, meaning the body can absorb and utilize it more efficiently than forms like magnesium oxide or magnesium sulfate. This is due to the presence of glycine, which facilitates its passage across the intestinal wall.

  • Side Effects and Tolerability: Many magnesium supplements can cause digestive issues, such as diarrhea, when taken in high doses. However, Magnesium Glycinate is less likely to cause these issues, making it a preferred option for those with sensitive digestive systems or those taking magnesium on a long-term basis.

  • Specific Uses: While Magnesium Glycinate is an excellent all-around choice for those looking to boost their magnesium levels while minimizing side effects, other forms of magnesium may be preferred for specific conditions. For example, magnesium citrate may be more effective for relieving constipation, and magnesium oxide is often used for its laxative properties.

7 - How to Incorporate Magnesium Glycinate into Your Diet

Ensuring you're getting enough magnesium in your diet is crucial for maintaining proper health, and Magnesium Glycinate supplementation can help bridge the gap between dietary intake and nutritional needs. Here's how to incorporate Magnesium Glycinate into your diet:

  • Recommended Daily Intake: The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for magnesium varies by age, sex, and life stage. Adults should aim for 400-420 mg per day for men and 310-320 mg per day for women, but requirements may be higher in certain conditions or for athletes.

  • Natural Sources of Magnesium: While supplementation is beneficial, obtaining nutrients from food sources is also important. Foods rich in magnesium include leafy greens, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and legumes. Incorporating a variety of these foods can help improve your overall magnesium intake.

  • Tips for Supplementation: When choosing a Magnesium Glycinate supplement, look for high-quality products from reputable manufacturers. Start with a lower dose to assess tolerance and gradually increase as needed, and make sure not to exceed the upper intake level of 350 mg per day from supplements to avoid adverse effects.

8 - Potential Side Effects and Considerations

While Magnesium Glycinate is generally well-tolerated and considered safe for most people, there are some considerations and potential side effects to be aware of:

  • Who Should Avoid Magnesium Glycinate: Individuals with kidney problems should exercise caution with magnesium supplements[17], as impaired kidney function can lead to difficulties in eliminating excess magnesium from the body.

  • Possible Drug Interactions: Magnesium can interact with certain medications, including diuretics, antibiotics, and medications for osteoporosis[18]. It's important to consult with a healthcare provider before starting magnesium supplementation, especially if you are taking other medications.

  • Guidelines for Safe Supplementation: To avoid adverse effects, stick to the recommended dosages and consider your total magnesium intake from all sources, including dietary and supplemental[19]. Monitoring your body's response to supplementation and adjusting as needed is key to safely incorporating Magnesium Glycinate into your health regimen

9 - Conclusion

Magnesium Glycinate is a versatile and beneficial supplement that can support various aspects of health, from improving sleep and reducing anxiety to enhancing bone health and muscle recovery. Its high bioavailability and gentle effect on the stomach make it a preferred choice for those looking to increase their magnesium intake without adverse side effects.

As with any supplement, it's important to consult with a healthcare provider to determine the right dosage and ensure it's appropriate for your health needs, especially if you have existing health conditions or are taking medications.

Incorporating Magnesium Glycinate into your health regimen can be a simple yet effective way to address magnesium deficiency and support your overall well-being. Whether you're looking to improve your mental health, enhance your physical performance, or just maintain optimal health, Magnesium Glycinate offers a range of benefits that can help you achieve your health goals.




1- Coudray, C., Rambeau, M., Feillet-Coudray, C., Gueux, E., Tressol, J. C., Mazur, A., & Rayssiguier, Y. "Study of magnesium bioavailability from ten organic and inorganic Mg salts in Mg-depleted rats using a stable isotope approach." Magnesium Research, 18(4), 215–223, 2005.

2- Schuette, S. A., Lashner, B. A., & Janghorbani, M. "Bioavailability of magnesium diglycinate vs magnesium oxide in patients with ileal resection." Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition, 19(5), 393–397, 1995

3-de Baaij, J. H. F., Hoenderop, J. G., & Bindels, R. J. M. "Magnesium in man: implications for health and disease." Physiological Reviews, 95(1), 1–46, 2015

4- Rosanoff, A., Weaver, C. M., & Rude, R. K. "Suboptimal magnesium status in the United States: are the health consequences underestimated?" Nutrition Reviews, 70(3), 153–164, 2012

5- Workinger, J. L., Doyle, R. P., & Bortz, J. "Challenges in the Diagnosis of Magnesium Status." Nutrients, 10(9), 1202, 2018

6- Nielsen, F. H., Johnson, L. K., & Zeng, H. "Magnesium supplementation improves indicators of low magnesium status and inflammatory stress in adults older than 51 years with poor quality sleep." Magnesium Research, 23(4), 158–168, 2010

7- Castiglioni, S., Cazzaniga, A., Albisetti, W., & Maier, J. A. "Magnesium and osteoporosis: current state of knowledge and future research directions." Nutrients, 5(8), 3022–3033, 2013

8- Boyle, N. B., Lawton, C., & Dye, L. "The Effects of Magnesium Supplementation on Subjective Anxiety and Stress—A Systematic Review." Nutrients, 9(5), 429, 2017

9- Brilla, L. R., & Haley, T. F. "Effect of magnesium supplementation on strength training in humans." Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 11(3), 326–329, 1992

10- Rosanoff, A., & Plesset, M. R. "Oral magnesium supplements decrease high blood pressure (SBP>155 mmHg) in hypertensive subjects on anti-hypertensive medications: a targeted meta-analysis." Magnesium Research, 26(3), 93–99, 2013

11- Barbagallo, M., & Dominguez, L. J. "Magnesium and type 2 diabetes." World Journal of Diabetes, 6(10), 1152–1157, 2015

12- Peikert, A., Wilimzig, C., & Köhne-Volland, R. "Prophylaxis of migraine with oral magnesium: results from a prospective, multi-center, placebo-controlled and double-blind randomized study." Cephalalgia, 16(4), 257–263, 1996

13- Tarleton, E. K., Littenberg, B., MacLean, C. D., Kennedy, A. G., & Daley, C. "Role of magnesium supplementation in the treatment of depression: A randomized clinical trial." PLOS ONE, 12(6), e0180067, 2017

14- Slutsky, I., Abumaria, N., Wu, L. J., Huang, C., Zhang, L., Li, B., Zhao, X., Govindarajan, A., Zhao, M. G., Zhuo, M., Tonegawa, S., & Liu, G. "Enhancement of learning and memory by elevating brain magnesium." Neuron, 65(2), 165–177, 2010

15- Müller-Lissner, S., Kaatz, V., Brandt, W., Keller, J., & Layer, P. "The impact of magnesium supplementation on intestinal motility in constipated patients and healthy controls." Neurogastroenterology & Motility, 23(5), 415-422, e170, 2011

16- Boyle, N. B., Lawton, C., & Dye, L. "The Effects of Magnesium Supplementation on Constipation and Microbiological Status in Older Adults: A Randomized Clinical Trial." Nutrients, 11(1), 208, 2019

17- Pham, P. C. T., Pham, P. A. T., Pham, S. V., Miller, J. M., Pham, P. T. T. "Hypomagnesemia in patients with type 2 diabetes." Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, 2(2), 366-373, 2007

18- Furlanut, M., Benetello, P., Bonetti, U., & Palmieri, R. "Pharmacokinetic interactions between magnesium hydroxide and two antiepileptic drugs." International Journal of Clinical Pharmacology Therapy and Toxicology, 28(11), 475-478, 1990

19- Saris, N. E., Mervaala, E., Karppanen, H., Khawaja, J. A., Lewenstam, A. "Magnesium: An update on physiological, clinical and analytical aspects." Clinica Chimica Acta, 294(1-2), 1-26, 2000