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Choosing the Right Magnesium Supplement

May 22, 2017

As you might have heard, magnesium supplementation is excellent choice for reducing stress, relieving constipation, reducing muscle pain and tightness, promoting energy production, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. There are a lot of magnesium supplements out there and while they all might seem the same there is a real difference in the way your body is able to absorb and utilize the various types of magnesium.

If you are taking magnesium to improve your health or relieve any of the symptoms that you are experiencing. The quality of the magnesium you consume will directly affect the benefits you feel from the magnesium. If you have ever tried magnesium and the past and it didn’t work for you. It wasn’t the magnesium that wasn’t working. It was most likely not being well absorbed into your body so that it could work.  

Here at OmniBlue, we know that our magnesium is the best available in the world. We don’t say this because we simply believe it is but because it is a scientific fact. OmniBlue ocean minerals contain 100% pure magnesium and supporting trace minerals in their natural form. Because of this, our magnesium is the most bioavailable, ionic, and absorbable possible. 100% of the magnesium that you take with OmniBlue is absorbed into your body. It is simply not possible to get a higher quality magnesium supplement than pure ocean minerals. Don’t just take our word for it. Learn more below about bioavailability and how other supplements stack up.

Bioavailability of Different Magnesium Supplements

All magnesium supplements are a combination of magnesium with another substance such as a salt. Every salt provides different amounts of elemental magnesium. The amount of magnesium and its bioavailability alter the effectiveness of the supplement. Other factors affecting absorption of magnesium are the existing magnesium levels of the individual, as magnesium will be less rapidly absorbed if body levels are already adequate and excreted through the urine or stools if given in excess. Also, all the points mentioned above will have an influence on magnesium absorption.

“Bioavailability” refers to the amount of elemental magnesium actually absorbed by the body. In short, the amount of magnesium that your tissues can use readily is based on how soluble the product is and the amount of elemental or ionic magnesium that is released.

A value called the “stability constant” is based on the metal-ligand complex. Stability constants are a measure of the strength of the bonds of the compound molecule and vary from 0 upwards. The lower the stability constant, the more easily it dissolves or dissociates into its metal ions due to weak ionic bonds). This means the body can easily absorb the metal in ionic form in a pH from 2 (stomach acid) to 7.4 (serum and lymph)

Metal ions easily pass between the cells. They are under the control of gravity, moving body fluids and the electric charge of the cell membrane. Metal ions may react with the cell membranes or be taken into the cell. Magnesium ions are present in much greater concentration inside cells than in the serum, being actively brought into the cell, as the cell needs them.

Magnesium Oxide Supplements

Although magnesium oxide has the highest elemental magnesium (60%), it also has a high stability constant, meaning that it does not dissociate, or ionize, and is therefore poorly bioavailable. Gut absorption is believed to be as low as 4% (leaving 288mg of a 500mg capsule unabsorbed in the intestines).

You will find that magnesium oxide is very common in poor quality supplements simply because it is cheap, however only about 4% of its elemental magnesium is absorbed, equivalent to about 12 mg out of a 500 mg tablet.

Magnesium Chloride Supplements

Magnesium chloride (12% elemental magnesium) has a stability constant of 0 and is completely ionized across a large pH range, 2 (found in stomach acid) to 7.4 found in extracellular tissues such as blood and lymph. Magnesium chloride has the chloride part of its compound to produce hydrochloric acid in the stomach and enhance its absorption. This is particularly suitable for anybody with low stomach acid.

Magnesium Malate Supplements

Magnesium malate (6.5% elemental magnesium) has a stability constant of 1.55 and is nearly completely ionisable. Again, the weak ionic bonds of magnesium and malic acid are easily broken making it readily soluble in the body.

Magnesium Citrate Supplements

Magnesium citrate (16% bioavailability) and stability constant of 2.8. Weak bonds provide a high bioavailability. Magnesium citrate works by attracting water through the tissues by osmosis. When the Magnesium citrate reaches the small intestine it attracts enough water to induce defecation. The extra water helps create more faeces, stimulating bowel motility and may have a mild laxative effect. This form of magnesium functions best on an empty stomach followed by a full glass of water or juice to aid absorption.

Researchers have demonstrated that magnesium bioavailability is greater in citrate than oxide taking the pH of stomach acid and alkalinity of pancreas into consideration. (Lindberg, Zobitz et al. 1990)

Magnesium Sulphate Supplements

Magnesium sulphate (10% elemental magnesium) is also known as Epsom salts. It contains magnesium, sulphur, and oxygen. It is the main preparation of intravenous magnesium. Bioavailability is limited and variable with degrees of mild diarrhoea. (Morris, LeRoy et al. 1987).

Magnesium Ascorbate Supplements

Magnesium ascorbate (6.4% elemental magnesium) is a source of both vitamin C and magnesium. It is a neutral salt having a significantly higher gastrointestinal tolerance than some of the other forms.

Magnesium Phosphate Supplements

Magnesium (19% elemental magnesium) but practically insoluble in water. Magnesium is bound to phosphate in teeth and bone.

Magnesium Carbonate Supplements

Magnesium carbonate (42% elemental magnesium). Research sources suggests different bioavailability rates between 5% and 30%. In large doses this form may have a mild laxative effect. Magnesium carbonate reacts with hydrochloric stomach acid to form magnesium chloride. This conversion is dependent on adequate stomach acid levels.

Magnesium Hydroxide Supplements

At 41.67%, magnesium hydroxide has a relatively high percentage of elemental magnesium but has a low solubility in water, suggesting poor absorption. When in a suspension in water it is often called milk of magnesia, used as an antacid or laxative.

Despite the high percentage of elemental magnesium, the magnesium ion is very poorly absorbed from the intestinal tract, drawing water from the surrounding tissues by osmosis.