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Magnesium’s Many Forms: Learn Which Is Best for You

Wondering whether to choose chelated magnesium, magnesium citrate, or magnesium oxide (FYI: most magnesium supplements are made with magnesium oxide salts)? Here are a few key things to keep in mind when you’re shopping.

  • In many products, “chelated” means magnesium has been bonded to other molecules—usually an amino acid—such as glycine. Some chelated magnesium products claim that chelating magnesium not only enhances magnesium’s absorption, but also makes it more bioavailable.
  • In one study of people who had had abdominal surgery, magnesium diglycinate (an amino acid-chelated form of magnesium) was absorbed better and was less likely to cause diarrhea than magnesium oxide. In another study, healthy adults were given magnesium supplements for 60 days. Both magnesium citrate and amino acid-chelated magnesium were more effective than magnesium oxide at raising blood magnesium levels. However, magnesium citrate was more effective than the amino acid-chelated magnesium at raising blood magnesium levels, suggesting that it is more absorbable and bioavailable.

More research is needed to say for sure which type is best, but based on the existing evidence, magnesium citrate might be a better choice. And of course, speak with your doctor before adding a magnesium supplement, or any new supplement, to your health regimen.

Source: Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition

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