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    What Is Magnesium Glycinate? Benefits, Dosage, and Risks

    What Is Magnesium Glycinate? Benefits, Dosage, and Risks
    October 25, 2023 Vitality Pro

    What Is Magnesium Glycinate? Benefits, Dosage, and Risks

    Magnesium is one of the most commonly deficient minerals in humans today. Many people consume less of this trace mineral than is recommended by experts. However, symptoms of magnesium deficiency and low dietary intake of magnesium are not always significant or noticeable, as the kidneys control the excretion of magnesium to ensure that there is an adequate supply.

    The current recommended dietary allowance for magnesium varies according to gender and age. But according to Healthline, the healthy range varies from 300-420mg of magnesium per adult per day. When taken in the form of dietary intake or magnesium supplements, the mineral may assist with regulating blood pressure, maintaining bone health, and reducing the risk of many age-related diseases, including cardiovascular disease, stroke, and type II diabetes.

    Magnesium glycinate is one of the most bioavailable and well-tolerated forms of supplemental magnesium available. It can be used to address deficiencies and to optimise your magnesium levels to support a range of processes throughout the body. 

    In this guide, we will explore the potential benefits and risks of magnesium glycinate, the research behind its use, and optimal dosages to support your health and wellness.

    What is Magnesium Glycinate?

    Magnesium glycinate is a specific form of supplemental magnesium. There are many different types of magnesium supplements available today, including more cost-effective options such as magnesium orotate and magnesium oxide. While they may be less expensive than forms like magnesium glycinate, they are not absorbed as effectively via the intestinal tract. Plus, they have limited bio-availability as a result. These forms are most often used to alleviate constipation and gastrointestinal reflux.

    Magnesium glycinate is produced by combining the amino acid glycine with elemental magnesium. This combination makes these supplements significantly more bioavailable than the forms mentioned above, allowing them to be effectively absorbed during digestion and utilised by the body. Research on the benefits of magnesium glycinate also indicates taking magnesium glycinate sleep supplements and magnesium glycinate for anxiety to improve both sleep quality and cognitive state.

    Potential Benefits and Risks

    Magnesium Glycinate Benefits

    • Serves as an electrolyte in the human body
    • Acts as an enzymatic cofactor in more than 600 different reactions in the body
    • Assists with ATP production
    • Improves cardiovascular and cognitive health
    • May alleviate migraine headaches
    • Supports healthy insulin function
    • Easily absorbed and well tolerated

    Magnesium Glycinate Risks

    • May produce side effects in high doses, including nausea, vomiting, and gastrointestinal distress
    • May interact with certain medications
    • May negatively affect people with existing heart or kidney conditions

    How Does It Work?

    Magnesium is an important macro mineral that is used by the human body to maintain heart function, brain function, blood glucose, and insulin regulation, and more than 600 separate cellular reactions. It is also used in the production of DNA, muscular contraction processes, and maintenance of cognitive function.

    In the brain, magnesium serves as a gatekeeper for N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors, receptors located on neurons that facilitate learning, memory, cognition, and brain development. When sufficient magnesium is present, the mineral binds to NMDA receptors, preventing them from becoming triggered by signals that may stimulate neurons unnecessarily. Overstimulation of neurons can cause neuronal death and brain damage. Optimising magnesium levels is the key to preventing this damage and protecting the NMDA receptors.

    Magnesium maintains healthy heart rhythms by competing with calcium. Research notes that when calcium is present in cardiac muscles, it simulates muscle fibre contractions. Magnesium hinders this effect, allowing cardiac cells to relax and maintain a normal heartbeat. In cases of magnesium deficiency, calcium may overstimulate the cardiac cells, leading to arrhythmia, a potentially life-threatening condition of irregular heartbeat. Moreover, the heart’s sodium-potassium pumps – enzymes that stimulate electrical impulses in cardiac tissue – require a constant source of magnesium to function.

    Magnesium may support blood glucose control in patients with type II diabetes, who often have low levels of magnesium, which exacerbates the condition. Magnesium assists with regulating insulin function and enabling glucose to be transported from blood and into cells for utilisation and storage. The insulin receptors on cells require the mineral to function. In cases of deficiency, cells cannot effectively utilise insulin, leading to elevated blood glucose levels associated with diabetes.

    One analysis of eight clinical trials found that diabetic patients who were administered magnesium supplements experienced significant reductions in their fasting blood sugar levels. While initial research is promising, more long-term studies are needed in order to fully assess the mechanisms by which magnesium assists with blood sugar regulation and insulin function.

    Deficiencies of magnesium have been associated with an increased incidence of inflammation in clinical research. One paper from 2020 notes that magnesium deficiency has been found to prime phagocytes, stimulate granulocyte oxidative bursts, increase cytokine counts, and activate endothelial cells to promote chronic inflammation. The researchers state that low magnesium levels, which are often underdiagnosed, may be implicated in the pathophysiology of a wide range of chronic diseases and states of immune dysfunction.

    Potential Health Benefits

    What is magnesium glycinate good for? Scientific data suggests that magnesium supplements may provide a variety of potential benefits for human health and longevity. 

    Magnesium Glycinate for Sleep

    Magnesium supplementation may improve the quality and duration of sleep by aiding in physical and mental relaxation. The mineral has been found to bind to GABA (gamma-aminobutyric) receptors to soothe nerve activity and promote better, more restful sleep.

    A 2016 study administered 400mg of magnesium per day to 100 participants and noted increases in parasympathetic activity and reductions in stress index scores and LF-HF ratios. The results indicate that magnesium supplementation increases vagus activity and may reduce mental and physical stress to promote better sleep and regulate sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems to reduce restlessness, irritability, and other mood disorders as well.

    Another study of 46 senior adults found that those regularly taking magnesium supplements fell asleep quicker than the seniors in the control group and experienced decreased symptoms of insomnia and enhanced sleep quality. Animal research has found that magnesium can regulate the production of melatonin, a hormone that controls the body’s sleep-wake cycle, but further research is needed to gauge similar effects in human test models.

    Benefits for Depression and Anxiety

    Magnesium assists in regulating cognitive performance and mood stability. Magnesium deficiency and low levels of the mineral have been linked to many symptoms of depression and anxiety. A trial conducted on over 8,800 participants aged 65 or older found that the senior adults with the lowest magnesium intakes had a 22% higher risk of suffering from depression.

    Other studies have found that magnesium supplementation may reduce the symptoms of depression, with one paper noting that the mineral may be as effective as antidepressant medications. While initial studies report promising results, further research is needed to assess the full impact of magnesium’s benefits on mental health. 

    Lowering Blood Pressure

    There is research to suggest that magnesium supplements may effectively lower blood pressure. One study noted that patients taking 450mg of magnesium per day experienced decreases in both their systolic and diastolic blood pressure readings by an average of 20.4 and 8.7 points, respectively.

    Moreover, a meta-analysis of 34 studies identified that an average dose of 368mg of magnesium notably reduced both systolic and diastolic blood pressure readings, both in patients with hypertension and in healthy adult participants. Magnesium’s anti-hypertensive abilities seem to be more pronounced in people with active hypertension. 

    Reducing Cardiovascular Disease Risk

    There is a growing body of research linking low magnesium levels to an elevated risk of developing cardiovascular disease. One research paper notes that participants with the lowest magnesium levels have the highest risk of premature death, especially cardiovascular disease-related mortality.

    Research also highlights magnesium’s anti-inflammatory abilities as key heart health protectors. It states that the mineral may be able to promote normal blood clotting and assist blood vessels in dilating to keep blood pressure stable and prevent it from becoming elevated. A meta-analysis of 40 studies and more than a million patients notes that increasing your magnesium intake by just 100mg a day is associated with a 7% lower risk of stroke and a 22% lower risk of heart failure – two primary risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

    Improving Blood Glucose Control

    Many patients with type II diabetes display low levels of magnesium, which research indicates may worsen this common condition. Studies have found that insulin receptors on human cells require magnesium to function optimally. When magnesium levels are insufficient, the cells cannot effectively use insulin to maintain healthy blood glucose levels.

    Another analysis of eight studies found that magnesium supplementation lowered fasting blood glucose readings in patients with diabetes. While the data indicates that magnesium is important for blood sugar regulation and diabetes management, further research is needed to fully understand these effects.

    Reducing the Symptoms of Migraines

    Numerous studies have found a relationship between low magnesium levels and migraine headaches. One paper found that participants who experienced migraines had notably lower magnesium levels than healthy adults who did not experience them. The research indicates that increasing magnesium intake could be an effective way to reduce migraines.

    A 12-week study on the subject found that people with migraines who took 600mg of magnesium per day experienced a 42% reduction in their headaches compared to before they started supplementation. It’s important to note that most studies only highlight the short-term benefits of magnesium for migraines and that more long-term research is needed to properly assess the mechanisms behind the benefits noted.

    Potential Risks and Side Effects of Magnesium Glycinate 

    Excessively elevated magnesium levels are uncommon, as the kidneys of healthy adults typically eliminate excess magnesium to maintain optimal levels in the body. However, while side effects are rare, they can occur, especially for those who take high doses of magnesium in supplemental form.

    Some of the most common side effects of excess magnesium consumption include:

    • Low blood pressure
    • Facial flushing
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
    • Arrhythmia and irregular heartbeat
    • A sensation of weakness in the muscles

    In severe cases of excess magnesium, there’s an elevated risk of cardiac arrest.

    Magnesium supplements are generally considered to be safe for healthy adults to take and pose few risks to health. However, be sure to consult a medical professional before starting any new supplement regimens to determine the ideal daily dose to meet your needs. This is especially true for anyone taking medications, including antibiotics, and those with diagnosed heart or kidney dysfunction.

    Types of Forms of Supplements

    Magnesium glycinate is one of a number of different forms of magnesium supplements available for purchase. It is generally considered to be one of the best-absorbed forms of magnesium. Other forms of supplemental magnesium include:

    • Magnesium oxide. Magnesium oxide data shows that magnesium oxide is not typically used to treat deficiencies as it has a low absorption rate. Instead, it can be used to treat indigestion, constipation, and heartburn. It is also used to prevent migraine headaches in some cases, but further research is needed to confirm its efficacy for this purpose.
    • Magnesium citrate. When it comes to magnesium citrate, magnesium citrate is more widely available and often more cost-effective. Magnesium citrate vs glycinate is also highly bioavailable and can be used to treat low magnesium levels and conditions like muscle tension and constipation.
    • Magnesium orotate. This supplemental form combines magnesium with orotic acid, a natural substance involved in the production of DNA material. It is easily absorbed, and studies suggest that it may protect heart health by providing sufficient magnesium and orotic acid to support the cardiovascular system’s energy production pathways.
    • Magnesium L-threonate. When it comes to magnesium threonate vs glycinate, magnesium L-threonate is equally well absorbed, and may be the most effective form for increasing concentrations of magnesium in the brain. This offers potential benefits for mental health and cognitive function, including management of the symptoms associated with age-related cognitive decline, depression, and Alzheimer’s disease.
    • Magnesium chloride. This form is well absorbed during digestion and can be used to treat low levels of magnesium when taken both orally and topically. While it may also be recommended to soothe muscle aches, further research is needed to assess magnesium chloride’s impacts on muscle tension and pain.
    • Magnesium lactate. This salt is formed by binding magnesium with lactic acid. It is not often used as a supplement but rather as an acidity regulator and preservative in foods and drinks. However, this form is well absorbed and is gentle on the intestinal tract, which may make it a beneficial supplement for patients who need large magnesium doses or who experience side effects when taking other forms.
    • Magnesium malate. Magnesium Malate data shows that magnesium malate is well absorbed in the intestinal tract, making it a viable option for treating magnesium deficiencies. It is often considered to be a ‘gentle’ form of magnesium that is less likely to exert laxative effects than other forms. This form is typically recommended to treat conditions like chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia, although further research is needed.
    • Magnesium taurate. Magnesium taurate contains taurine and magnesium, both of which may assist in blood sugar regulation and reduce elevated blood pressure. Further human research is needed.

    Lifestyle

    Magnesium deficiency is a common and widespread nutrient deficiency which is present in developed and developing nations alike. Increased levels of physical and psychological stress can deplete the body’s magnesium reserves, and more magnesium may be required by those following a low-carbohydrate or ketogenic diet.

    Additionally, hypnagogic jerks and other sleep disruptions could be attributed to low magnesium levels. Although further research is needed, magnesium is often recommended as a potential treatment option for promoting better sleep and reducing the incidence of sleep disruptions.

    Dietary and Natural Sources

    Although few people meet their recommended daily intake of magnesium (400mg-420mg for adult men and 310mg-320mg for adult women, or an average of 400mg per day for an adult), these intakes can be reached naturally by choosing a balanced diet containing foods rich in magnesium.

    According to data from Healthline, some of the richest sources of magnesium include:

    • Pumpkin seeds (a quarter cup provides 46% of your RDI)
    • Spinach (one cup boiled provides 39% of your RDI)
    • Swiss chard (one cup boiled provides 38% of your RDI)
    • Flax seeds (one ounce provides 27% of your RDI)
    • Black beans (one cup cooked contains 30% of your RDI)
    • Almonds and cashews (one ounce of either nut type contains 20% of your RDI)

    Additional sources of magnesium in food include avocado pears, salmon, tofu, sesame seeds, and dark chocolate. If you are unable to meet your daily RDI of magnesium through food high in magnesium alone, magnesium glycinate supplements can be used to ensure that you meet your recommended intake. Avoid taking magnesium together with zinc as they can hinder absorption of each other, and always speak to a medical professional before starting any new supplements.

    Supplements and Dosage

    Recommended daily magnesium intake varies widely depending on stage of life, age, gender, health status, and other factors. According to data from the National Institutes of Health, infants aged 1-3 years only need 80mg per day, while children aged 4-8 years need 130mg per day. 

    Children between the ages of 9 and 13 need 240mg per day, and adolescents require different amounts according to gender. 

    • Boys between the ages of 14 and 18 need 410mg per day
    • Girls between the ages of 14 and 18 require 360mg per day 
    • Adult men should have an intake of 400-420mg per day
    • Adult women should take 310-320mg
    • Pregnant women need 350-360mg
    • Breastfeeding women need 310-320mg

    It’s important to bear in mind that people of all ages will obtain some of this RDI from food intake, but will not necessarily reach their full intake through diet alone. This is why it is crucial to speak to a medical professional to assess your current intake and magnesium levels and determine the right dosage of magnesium glycinate for your specific needs. Be sure to approach a doctor before administering magnesium supplements to children, adolescents, pregnant and breastfeeding women, and anyone with heart or kidney conditions or who is taking chronic medication.

    The best time to take magnesium glycinate will depend on your specific needs. For instance, if you wish to take magnesium glycinate for sleep, it is recommended that you take your supplements around one hour before bedtime for best results. If you are searching for when to take magnesium glycinate for heart health, muscle relaxation, or cognitive function, it may be ideal to take a divided dosage at regular intervals throughout the day, starting in the morning. 

    Generally speaking; however, you can benefit from magnesium taken at any time of the day, even for enhancing sleep quality, as long as it is taken regularly. Speak to your physician to find the best dosage and schedule for your requirements.

    Note: Although diet or lifestyle changes help to fortify the body with major vitamins and minerals, certain supplements are difficult to consume in therapeutic quantities.

    In short, a magnesium glycinate supplement is likely the best way to benefit from the flavonoid’s therapeutic effects. However, more research and long-term human trials are needed.

    Conclusion

    Magnesium glycinate is one of the most readily-absorbed supplemental forms of magnesium. It can potentially be used to improve cardiovascular health, blood glucose regulation, cognitive function, and sleep quality. And it can reduce the symptoms of migraines, depression, anxiety, and sleep disturbances.

    While the initial research supports a range of benefits associated with increased magnesium intake, more high-quality human research is needed to better understand the full benefits of magnesium supplementation in human subjects of all ages.

    If you are considering using a magnesium glycinate supplement such as the one offered by Vitality Pro, consult with your healthcare provider before making any significant changes to your diet or lifestyle.

    FAQs

    What are the benefits of magnesium glycinate?

    Magnesium glycinate supplements have been linked with improved cardiovascular health, blood sugar control, cognitive function, and sleep quality, as well as potential reductions in the symptoms of depression, anxiety, insomnia, and migraine headaches.

    Is it safe to take magnesium glycinate daily?

    Daily magnesium glycinate supplementation is generally considered safe for healthy adults, and may provide maximum benefit for many conditions. Still, always consult with a medical professional before starting magnesium supplements.

    When should I take magnesium glycinate?

    While many people take magnesium at different times of the day for different conditions (such as at night for improving sleep quality), research generally suggests that it offers benefits when taken at any time of the day, as long as it is taken regularly and in a consistent dosage.

    Which foods are highest in magnesium?

    Boost your magnesium levels by consuming a diet rich in leafy green vegetables, pumpkin and flax seeds, nuts such as almonds and cashews, avocados, salmon, and dark chocolate in moderation.

    Glossary of Technical Terms

    Arrhythmia: a condition characterised by irregular heart beat.

    Bio-availability: a term pertaining to how effectively a substance or compound can be processed and utilised in the human body.

    Cardiovascular disease: another term for heart disease, or disease and dysfunction of the heart and vascular systems.

    GABA: an amino acid that assists with mood regulation.

    Granulocyte oxidative bursts: also known as respiratory bursts. These reactions occur due the the rapid release of reactive oxygen species, hydrogen peroxide, and superoxide anion from cells and play a role in immune function and cell signalling.

    Hypnagogic jerks: involuntary muscle contractions that occur just as a person is falling asleep. 

    Melatonin: a hormone that plays an important role in regulating the sleep-wake cycle and promoting quality sleep.

    Migraine: a severe headache that can last for hours or even days and includes symptoms like light and sound sensitivity, nausea, and vomiting.

    Phagocytes: cells that protect the human body by ingesting pathogens, foreign matter, and dead cells.