Is Magnesium Glycinate the Best Form of Magnesium for You?

Chris D. Meletis, N.D.

Magnesium is an essential mineral that has many important roles in health. It can support healthy blood pressure, keep bones healthy, improve mood and feelings of well-being, and promotes a good night’s rest, to name a few of its health benefits. However, different forms of magnesium can have different effects on the body. Is Magnesium Glycinate the best form of Magnesium for you? This article will discuss the health benefits of magnesium glycinate, a special type of magnesium that’s especially useful because it doesn’t have a laxative effect like other forms of magnesium.

But first, let’s recap the benefits of magnesium in general.

Health Benefits of Magnesium

As a cofactor, magnesium plays a role in more than 300 enzyme systems in charge of important biochemical reactions in the body, such as protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, controlling blood glucose, and supporting healthy blood pressure. Your body needs magnesium for producing energy, and it’s involved in the structural development of bone.

Moreover, you need magnesium to make the master antioxidant, glutathione. Because magnesium is involved in escorting calcium and potassium ions across cell membranes, it plays a role in nerve function, muscle contraction, and supporting normal heart rhythm.

Optimal magnesium levels are linked to:

  • Age-related cognitive health  
  • Healthy insulin metabolism
  • Blood sugar regulation
  • Blood pressure support
  • Heart health
  • Mental focus and concentration
  • Reduced risk of migraine headaches
  • A happy mood

The research on magnesium’s ability to uplift mood and promote a sense of well-being is especially interesting. Research shows that when people are deficient in magnesium, their neurons may not receive enough magnesium, causing neuronal damage that could lead to a sad mood. Being under a lot of stress, receiving too much calcium, or not getting enough magnesium in the diet can trigger these neuronal deficiencies in magnesium. That’s why researchers believe magnesium may be useful in boosting happy thoughts and feelings.

As you can see, magnesium is really important to your health. Yet, many people have a magnesium deficiency, and their health pays the price.

Are You Getting Enough Magnesium?

You get some magnesium from the food you eat. In some cases, magnesium is present naturally, while in others it’s added. However, you may not get enough of this important mineral from the foods you eat. At least half of people in the United States are deficient in magnesium.

The problem starts with how and where food is grown. Sandy or acidic soil is low in magnesium, while heavy metals, soil pollution, and erosion can all cause a drop in the magnesium content of food. Application of potassium and ammonium fertilizers also can deplete magnesium levels in crops. Moreover, cooking and processing of foods lowers the magnesium content of what you’re eating. Boiling food can lead to a large loss of this important mineral.

Some medications lower magnesium levels, with proton pump inhibitors being one of the most notorious in this respect. Caffeine and drinking too much alcohol also can lower magnesium levels. If you have a gastrointestinal condition like celiac disease, Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, you’re also at risk of magnesium deficiency. Excessive urination from diabetes and frequent diarrhea are other reasons for magnesium deficiency.

What Makes Magnesium Glycinate the Best Form of Magnesium?

One of the best forms of magnesium to make up for magnesium deficiency is magnesium glycinate, a highly bioavailable form of this nutrient that’s absorbed well in the small intestine and thus has less of a laxative effect compared to other forms of magnesium.

Magnesium glycinate pairs elemental magnesium with the amino acid glycine, a building block of proteins in the body that also enhances sleep. Studies have shown that this type of magnesium is highly effective at raising magnesium levels.

A study of people who have had bariatric surgery found that six weeks of supplementation with 400 mg of magnesium glycinate raised plasma magnesium levels. Magnesium oxide was not as effective at raising magnesium levels in this group of subjects and it had to be taken at a lower dose to avoid loose stools.

In physically fit young adults, 400 mg of magnesium glycinate given for four weeks raised erythrocyte potassium content compared with placebo. Erythrocyte potassium content is an indicator of magnesium's involvement in body potassium retention and distribution. Taking magnesium glycinate supplements also improved two measures of exercise performance.

Health Benefits of Magnesium Glycinate

Magnesium glycinate is especially good at promoting healthy, natural sleep patterns due to the fact it contains glycine, an amino acid that supports quality sleep. One study found that taking glycine before bedtime significantly improved sleep quality in people who have a hard time sleeping. Magnesium also supports better sleep quality, so having at your disposal magnesium combined with glycine does double duty in helping you have a good night’s rest.

Moreover, magnesium glycinate is calming to the mind and body, and it uplifts your mood. In a series of case studies, researchers gave the subjects 125 – 300 mg of magnesium as magnesium glycinate and taurinate with each meal and at bedtime. They found that magnesium improved mood within a week. The authors concluded that magnesium plays an important role in mental health.

Gentle on the Stomach and GI Tract

Magnesium glycinate boasts the same benefits as other forms of magnesium, but it’s better absorbed and not as likely to cause an urgent need to have a bowel movement. Because you can take more of magnesium glycinate without it acting like a laxative, you can obtain a beneficial and effective dose. You also can take less of it compared with other forms of magnesium, because magnesium glycinate is better absorbed.


Magnesium is a critical nutrient that can support everything from healthy blood glucose metabolism to heart health, cognitive function, bone health, a calm, happy mood, and restful sleep. So, is Magnesium Glycinate the best form of Magnesium for you? One of the best forms of magnesium is magnesium glycinate, which doesn’t act like a laxative, is gentle on the stomach, and is absorbed well by the body. If you’ve had loose stools from magnesium supplements or if you’re concerned about magnesium deficiency, magnesium glycinate is an excellent choice.


  1. Magnesium. Fact Sheet for Consumers. National Institutes of Health. Updated June 2, 2022. Accessed September 11, 2023.
  2. Gröber U, Schmidt J, Kisters K. Magnesium in Prevention and Therapy. Nutrients. 2015;7(9):8199-8226.
  3. Eby GA, Eby KL. Rapid recovery from major depression using magnesium treatment. Med Hypotheses. 2006;67(2):362-370.
  4. Costello RB, Elin RJ, Rosanoff A, et al. Perspective: The Case for an Evidence-Based Reference Interval for Serum Magnesium: The Time Has Come. Adv Nutr. 2016;7

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