Magnesium – Unleashing the Power of Ionic Bonds for Bioavailability

By Dr. Chris Meletis N. D. (

Magnesium is essential for life, cellular function, and must be available in an absorbable form to be assimilated into the 50 to 75 trillion cells that comprise the miracle we call the human body.  Magnesium occurs typically as the Mg2+ ion. It is an essential mineral nutrient for life and is present in every cell type in every organism on planet earth.  It is important to note that ATP (adenosine triphosphate)—the main source of energy in cells throughout the body—must be bound to a magnesium ion in order to be biologically active. In many instances, magnesium does not get the credit it deserves. In fact, what is often referred too simply as ATP is actually Mg-ATP.  
The bottom line is this: magnesium ions equal life. Magnesium ions are involved in at least 300 enzyme reactions in the body and their presence is required for these enzymes’ catalytic action. This includes all enzymes that are utilizing or synthesizing ATP. Magnesium is also required for the synthesis of DNA and RNA.


Not All Minerals are Created Equal!

In the body, ionic minerals are ultimately critical for electrical conductivity, cell membrane action potentials, and are quite literally “the spark of life” at the cellular level. One of the most widely known ionic minerals that many of us use every day is NaCl, otherwise known as simple table salt. Chemically speaking, salt is made up of sodium (Na) and Chloride (Cl). Na is a positive ion and Cl is a negative ion so they attract each other and bond together to make NaCl which is a stable, water-soluble salt. This bonding is similar to a magnet. Remember how it was to play with magnets as a child? One side of one of the magnets would attract one specific side of the other magnet, but NOT the other side. This demonstrated the classical saying of opposites attract. Negative charges attract positive charges and the existence of one without the other creates instability.  In the same way that Na+ is attracted to Cl-, magnesium (Mg++) seeks to become stable and needs chloride(Cl-)—Mg++ (Mg2+) seeks two Cl- (2Cl-), creating MgCl2.

Common table salt is sodium chloride. When sodium (Na) and chlorine (Cl) are combined, the sodium atoms each lose and electron, forming cations (Na+) and the chlorine atoms each gain an electron to form anions (Cl-). These ions are then attracted to each other in a 1:1 ratio to form sodium chloride (NaCl).

Na + Cl → Na+ + Cl- → NaCl

Magnesium chloride undergoes the same process:

Mg + Cl + Cl → Mg++ + Cl- + Cl- →MgCl2


Water Solubility is Key to Life

The force of attraction between H2O molecules and the ions of the solid determines the extent to which solution will occur. This force tends to bring ions into solution. If this is the predominant factor, then the compound may be highly soluble in water.

Cl-: All chlorides are soluble except silver chloride (AgCl), mercury chloride (Hg2Cl2), and lead chloride (PbCl2). This fact is essential to appreciating the powerful uniqueness of magnesium chloride. It’s soluble in water and the body is estimated to be 60-70 percent water. Thus, the ability to permeate, nourish, and support cellular function must not escape the health savvy consumer.

Magnesium Chloride Hexahydrate  

MgCl2 • 6H2O

Magnesium Chloride in Supplements

Magnesium chloride can be added to supplements as (magnesium chloride hexahydrate) and is packaged and stored under current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP). Yet, it also occurs as part of ionic minerals from sources such as the Great Salt Lake, in synergy with other ionic minerals.

Beyond the magnesium that possesses hundreds of beneficial properties, the chloride combines with hydrogen in the stomach to make hydrochloric acid (HCl), which is absolutely critical for proteins by protecting the body from microbes that enter through ingestion of food and swallowing. Without sufficient HCl, vitamins and minerals are not optimally absorbed.

Magnesium chloride possesses two Cl- molecules, supplying an abundant number of chloride molecules. Without chloride, cellular function would cease.

The main electrolytes found in body fluid.  

Chloride is essential for maintaining healthy blood concentration within blood vessels, efficient nerve function, muscle performance, pH balance, healthy brain function, and countless other physiological process in the body.


Magnesium Chloride and Leveling the Playing Field

One of the nation’s foremost experts on iodine explains that magnesium chloride as a supplement is “synergistic” with iodine. Chloride helps compete with bromide at the renal level and increases. Our world is polluted with fluoride, bromide, and perchlorate and chloride plays an important role in helping the body keep balance of this detrimental halogens.


Take Home

All chlorides are soluble except AgCl (silver), Hg2Cl2 (mercury) and PbCl2 (lead). This fact is essential to appreciating the powerful uniqueness of magnesium chloride, because of its solubility in water given that the body is estimated to be 60-70 percent water. The ability to permeate, nourish, and support cellular function must not escape the health savvy consumer. The clinical science on the benefits of magnesium alone is impressive. However, the form of magnesium and the bioavailability of magnesium chloride at the cellular level of the 75 trillion cells that comprise the human body, the 100 billion neurons that create the brain, and the 60,000 miles of blood vessels that seek to nourish the body are indeed welcoming of both magnesium and chloride that is delivered by nature’s very own naturally occurring magnesium chloride.


Research Review

Abstract: Magnesium deficiency is seen with some frequency in the outpatient setting and requires oral repletion or maintenance therapy. The purpose of this study was to measure the bioavailability of four commercially-available preparations of magnesium, and to test the claim that organic salts are more easily absorbed. Bioavailability was measured as the increment of urinary magnesium excretion in normal volunteers given approximately 21 mEq/day of the test preparations. Results indicated relatively poor bioavailability of magnesium oxide (fractional absorption 4 percent) but significantly higher and equivalent bioavailability of magnesium chloride, magnesium lactate and magnesium aspartate. We conclude that there is relatively poor bioavailability of magnesium oxide, but greater and equivalent bioavailability of magnesium chloride, lactate, and aspartate. Inorganic magnesium salts, depending on the preparation, may have bioavailability equivalent to organic magnesium salts.

Magnes Res. 2001 Dec;14(4):257-62.

Magnesium is absorbed orally at about 30% bioavailability from any water soluble salt, such as magnesium chloride or magnesium citrate. Magnesium aspartate, chloride, lactate, citrate and glycinate each have bioavailability 4 times greater than the oxide form and are equivalent to each other per amount of magnesium, though not in price.
Firoz M, Graber M: "Bioavailability of US commercial magnesium preparations.", Magnesium Research 2001 Dec;14(4):257-62.

Lindberg JS, Zobitz MM, Poindexter JR, Pak CY: "Magnesium bioavailability from magnesium citrate and magnesium oxide.",J Am Coll Nutr. 1990 Feb;9(1):48-55.