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Magnesium Glycinate vs. Citrate: Which Type is Better?

Magnesium is an essential mineral that plays a pivotal role in numerous biochemical processes within the human body. From supporting muscle function to promoting a healthy heart rhythm, the mineral is involved in an array of vital functions.

Due to its significance, many individuals turn to magnesium supplements to maintain optimal health. However, choosing the right type of supplement can be bewildering, as there are various formulations available.

Two popular options are Magnesium Glycinate and Magnesium Citrate, each with its own unique properties and benefits. In this comprehensive blog post, we will delve into the world of supplements, exploring the characteristics, pros, and cons of either of the two.

By the end, you will be equipped with the knowledge to make an informed decision best suited to your needs.

What is Magnesium?

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Before we dive into the comparison, let’s understand why magnesium is essential for our well-being. This mineral participates in over 300 enzymatic reactions within the body, contributing to energy production, protein synthesis, and DNA repair.

Magnesium often referred to as the “miracle mineral,” is especially crucial for maintaining normal nerve and muscle function, supporting bone health, and regulating blood pressure. It also aids in the synthesis of neurotransmitters that play a role in mood and cognitive function.

The Key to Enzymatic Reactions

Enzymes are biological catalysts that facilitate chemical reactions necessary for life. Magnesium acts as a cofactor for these enzymes, meaning it is a crucial component required for their proper function.

These enzymatic reactions are involved in various processes.

Energy Production

Magnesium plays a pivotal role in the production and storage of energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is often referred to as the “energy currency” of cells, as it provides the energy required for all cellular activities.

Protein Synthesis

Proteins are the building blocks of life and are essential for the growth, repair, and maintenance of tissues in the body. It is involved in the synthesis of proteins, ensuring that our bodies can repair and regenerate tissues as needed.

DNA Repair

DNA is our genetic blueprint, and it is constantly subjected to damage from various sources, such as radiation and oxidative stress. Magnesium aids in DNA repair, ensuring the integrity and stability of our genetic information.

Muscles and Nerves

Magnesium is particularly vital for the proper functioning of nerves and muscles. Within nerve cells, mineral acts as a modulator of ion channels, helping to regulate the flow of ions in and out of the cells.

This regulation is crucial for nerve impulses and signal transmission, allowing us to move, sense, and react to our surroundings. In muscles, magnesium is essential for the relaxation and contraction processes.

It helps muscles contract when needed and relax when the action is completed. This is particularly important for the heart, which is a muscle responsible for pumping blood throughout the body.

Bones, Blood Pressure, and Beyond

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Aside from its roles in enzymatic reactions, nerve function, and muscle health, magnesium plays several other critical roles in our bodies:

Bone Health

About 60% of the body’s magnesium is stored in bones, contributing to their structure and strength. Mineral works in synergy with calcium, vitamin D, and other minerals to maintain bone density and prevent conditions like osteoporosis.

Blood Pressure Regulation

Magnesium helps regulate blood pressure by influencing the relaxation and contraction of blood vessels. Adequate mineral intake has been associated with lower blood pressure levels, reducing the risk of hypertension.

Mood and Cognitive Function

Mineral is involved in the synthesis of neurotransmitters, which are chemicals that transmit signals between nerve cells. Serotonin, for example, is a neurotransmitter known for its role in mood regulation, and a mineral’s involvement in its synthesis highlights its potential impact on emotional well-being.

Heart Health

Magnesium is essential for maintaining a healthy heart rhythm. It helps prevent arrhythmias and supports cardiovascular function, reducing the risk of heart-related complications.

Glycinate vs. Citrate

Let’s explore the distinctive characteristics and benefits of two commonly consumed types of mineral: Magnesium Glycinate and Magnesium Citrate. By understanding the differences between these forms, we can gain insight into which one may be better suited to individual preferences and health needs.


Magnesium Glycinate is a unique form of mineral in which the mineral is chelated or bonded to the amino acid glycine. This chelation process enhances the bioavailability of the mineral, meaning that a higher percentage of the mineral ingested is absorbed and utilized by the body.

The bond with glycine also contributes to its gentle nature, making it well-tolerated by the digestive system.

Calming Effect for Improved Sleep

Magnesium Glycinate offers a standout benefit with its calming effect, attributed to the presence of glycine. This amino acid acts as an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain, fostering relaxation and diminishing stress and anxiety.

Due to this effect, Magnesium Glycinate has gained popularity among individuals seeking improved sleep quality and relief from insomnia or restless nights, as supported by a 2017 article.

Pros and Cons

Magnesium Glycinate offers enhanced absorption, ensuring a higher proportion of the mineral is effectively utilized by the body. It is gentle on the stomach, making it suitable for those with sensitive stomachs, and its calming effect due to glycine content makes it a favorable choice for promoting better sleep.

On the downside, Magnesium Glycinate supplements may be slightly more expensive due to the chelation process, and the presence of glycine means the actual mineral content by weight may be lower compared to other compounds, but this is compensated by its enhanced absorption.


Magnesium Citrate is created by combining magnesium with citric acid, resulting in a compound with potent laxative properties. It is widely available in various forms such as powders, capsules, and liquids. This form of the mineral is particularly useful for alleviating constipation and promoting regular bowel movements.

Rapid Absorption for Quick Impact

One of the notable advantages of Magnesium Citrate is its rapid absorption by the body. When taken as a supplement, it is readily absorbed, allowing it to have a relatively quick impact, especially when used for constipation relief. This attribute makes it a popular choice for individuals seeking fast-acting relief from digestive discomfort.

Pros and Cons

Magnesium Citrate is renowned for its strong laxative properties, offering effective relief from constipation and promoting regular bowel movements. According to a 2021 article, it is even considered for bowel preparation before constipation.

Its quick absorption by the body makes it advantageous for those seeking rapid relief. Moreover, Citrate supplements are typically more affordable, making them a cost-effective choice.

However, some individuals may experience digestive discomfort or upset when taking Citrate, particularly in high doses or on an empty stomach, which is more pronounced compared to Glycinate. Furthermore, Citrate may have lower bioavailability compared to Glycinate since it lacks a chelating agent, meaning that a smaller percentage of mineral may be available for the body to utilize.

When using Magnesium Citrate as a laxative, it’s essential to maintain proper hydration as it can lead to increased water loss and potential dehydration if not taken with sufficient fluids.

Difference Between Them

Both Glycinate and Citrate are valuable forms of magnesium supplements, and each comes with its own set of advantages and specific uses. Now, let’s compare these two options to determine which one might be the better choice for you.

If enhanced absorption, gentle digestion, and potential relaxation effects are what you seek, Magnesium Glycinate is an excellent choice. It proves ideal for individuals with sensitive stomachs, those aiming for better sleep quality and seeking relief from stress.

On the other hand, if you require a potent laxative with fast-acting relief from constipation, Magnesium Citrate excels in that regard. It is a more budget-friendly option and can be beneficial for those experiencing digestive discomfort, despite the possibility of causing some upset in certain cases.

When selecting a mineral supplement, it is essential to consider your individual health conditions, lifestyle, and goals. Consulting a healthcare professional is highly advisable, particularly if you have underlying health issues or are taking medications.

How do I know if I need the supplement?


Determining whether you need the mineral supplement depends on various factors. Consider the following signs and symptoms:

  • Dietary Intake: Evaluate your daily diet. If it lacks magnesium-rich foods like leafy greens, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and legumes, you may not be getting enough minerals.
  • Muscle Cramps and Spasms: Frequent muscle cramps or spasms, particularly in the legs, could indicate a deficiency.
  • Fatigue and Weakness: Low levels may lead to feelings of fatigue and weakness as it is essential for energy production.
  • Insomnia and Sleep Disturbances: Mineral’s calming effects are vital for sleep, so difficulty falling asleep or disrupted sleep patterns may be related to the deficiency.
  • Stress and Anxiety: Magnesium is associated with stress reduction and anxiety management. If you experience heightened stress levels or frequent feelings of anxiety, consider supplementation.
  • High Blood Pressure: It helps regulate blood pressure, and low levels could contribute to hypertension.
  • Irregular Heartbeat: Magnesium is essential for maintaining a healthy heart rhythm. Irregular heartbeats or palpitations may be related to mineral levels.
  • Osteoporosis or Bone Health Concerns: It works with calcium and vitamin D to support bone health, so concerns about osteoporosis or weak bones may warrant mineral supplementation.
  • Digestive Issues: Gastrointestinal conditions or chronic diarrhea can deplete the mineral, necessitating supplementation.
  • Preexisting Medical Conditions: Certain health conditions, like diabetes, gastrointestinal disorders, and kidney disease, can interfere with magnesium absorption, increasing the risk of deficiency.


Which type of magnesium is better for absorption?

Glycinate is generally considered to have better absorption compared to Citrate. The presence of the amino acid glycine helps enhance the uptake of the mineral into the cells, allowing for better utilization by the body.

Are there any side effects to consider?

Generally, both forms of the mineral are safe and well-tolerated when taken at recommended doses. However, some individuals may experience mild side effects such as stomach upset or diarrhea with Magnesium Citrate. If you experience any adverse reactions, it’s advisable to consult a healthcare professional.

Can I take both Glycinate and Citrate together?

Combining different forms of magnesium is generally safe, but it’s essential to be mindful of the total dosage to avoid exceeding the recommended daily intake of the mineral. It’s always best to consult with a healthcare provider before adding new supplements to your regimen.

Which form of the mineral is more expensive?

The cost of Magnesium Glycinate and Citrate can vary depending on brands and sources. However, Glycinate may be slightly more expensive than Citrate due to its higher bioavailability and additional processing.

Last Words

Magnesium is a vital mineral with multifaceted roles in maintaining overall health. The choice between Mg Glycinate and Mg Citrate depends on individual needs and preferences.

Ultimately, it is crucial to consider your specific health conditions and consult with a healthcare professional before deciding on a magnesium supplement. They can provide personalized guidance and ensure that you choose the most suitable form of the mineral to support your well-being effectively.

Remember, maintaining an adequate intake of magnesium, regardless of the form, is key to reaping its numerous health benefits and maintaining optimal bodily functions.

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