Magnesium is an essential mineral that plays a vital role in maintaining overall health and wellness. However, not all forms of magnesium are created equal.
The majority of cheaper magnesium supplements on the market only contain magnesium oxide, as a way to cut costs in production. Supplement companies use this form because magnesium oxide is a cheap and readily available. To us this is an unethical practice, because customers that are not properly informed may be tricked into buying a product that isn't effective in providing the desired health benefits and may lead to disappointment or mistrust.
So, why is magnesium oxide an inferior product compared to other forms of magnesium such as glycinate, taurate, and malate? Here are a few reasons:
Poor bioavailability: Magnesium oxide has low bioavailability, which means that the body has a hard time absorbing and utilizing it. When taken orally, only about 4% of magnesium oxide is absorbed into the bloodstream. This means that a high dose is required to achieve therapeutic levels of magnesium in the body. In contrast, other forms of magnesium such as glycinate, taurate, and malate have higher bioavailability and are better absorbed by the body.
Gastrointestinal side effects: Because magnesium oxide is poorly absorbed, it can cause gastrointestinal side effects such as diarrhea, bloating, and abdominal cramping. These side effects may be more pronounced in people who are sensitive to magnesium or have gastrointestinal issues. Other forms of magnesium, such as glycinate and taurate, may be better tolerated and cause fewer gastrointestinal side effects.
Poor absorption in the bones: Magnesium is important for bone health, and several studies have shown that magnesium supplementation can help improve bone density. However, magnesium oxide is not well absorbed in the bones, so it may not be as effective as other forms of magnesium for improving bone health. Magnesium malate, in particular, has been shown to have good absorption in the bones and may be more effective for improving bone density.
Poor solubility: Magnesium oxide is not very soluble in water, which can make it difficult to take as a supplement. It can also make it less effective as a laxative, as it may not dissolve properly in the gastrointestinal tract. Other forms of magnesium, such as magnesium citrate, magnesium chloride, and magnesium glycinate, are more soluble in water and may be easier to take as a supplement.
However, it’s not useless for all purposes, as it effectively helps with gastric acidity. It can also be used to treat constipation.
There are several other forms of magnesium that may be more effective and suitable for certain applications, including magnesium glycinate, magnesium taurate, and magnesium malate. These forms of magnesium have higher bioavailability and are better absorbed by the body, making them more effective for increasing magnesium levels in the body.
If you are taking a magnesium supplement, it is important to check the ingredient list to see which form of magnesium is used. If the supplement only contains magnesium oxide, you may want to consider investing in a higher quality magnesium supplement that contains a more bioavailable form of magnesium for optimal health benefits.
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Blancquaert L, Vervaet C, Derave W. Predicting and Testing Bioavailability of Magnesium Supplements. Nutrients. 2019 Jul 20;11(7):1663. doi: 10.3390/nu11071663. PMID: 31330811; PMCID: PMC6683096.
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