The Magnesium Supplement Issue…
We are constantly being told that magnesium is essential for our health and that we are chronically deficient in it. But what we are not told is what to look for in a magnesium supplement. The truth of the matter is that not all supplements are the same quality. Not only is this reflected in the retail price of the products, but also in the value to the body.
There are 2 basic types of supplements: salts and chelates. Salt forms typically have names like magnesium oxide (essentially magnesium rust) and are very cheap to make. On the other hand, chelates are elemental magnesium bonded to amino acids, these are more expensive.
Salt forms are hard for the body to actually digest, after all the body doesn’t want rust in it! The chelates are recognized by the gut to be the same as the amino acid they are bound to, as a result they are far easier to be readily absorbed.
For comparison I’ll compare these by using a wait to get into a club. Now it’s -25, rainy and windy out, just miserable weather. There is a lineup outside the club of 100 people wanting in but must wait in line. Now overtime the line thins out due to the weather and only 1-2 people have gotten in, the rest aren’t getting in so leave. Now a limo with shows up and the bouncer lets all 15 people in right away because they are VIP with entourage. This is how chelates are for being absorbed by the gut. In this scenario, all those people who left or got turned away are the magnesium salt that you will literally flush away and the weather was your digestive tract that thinned out the line.
Good Mag, Bad Mag
Now which one would you rather be, the turned away salt forms or the VIP chelate? One reason people give for taking magnesium oxide is that it’s cheap, but is it really? Remember that club lineup where only a few people got in despite 100 showing up while the entire limo got in. You need much higher doses of the salt forms to get the same amount of elemental magnesium into the body but this doesn’t work (more on this below). This actually makes it MORE, yes more much more expensive.
Little bonus fact, the salt forms of magnesium are used in powerful laxatives ahead of medical procedures. The most common are magnesium oxide and Stearate (a lubricant). The reason being that they are cheap, soften the stool and make your bowels evacuate in a hurry.
Don’t believe me? I challenge you to read the label of pharmaceutical laxatives or take a few grams of magnesium oxide supplements. Or take my word for it and take higher quality form like glycinate, malate, citrate, taurate and threonate.
The best brands of magnesium to take are:
As the Bulgarian say, you are not rich enough to buy cheap
[End of Note]
About the Author
Tony Risling is the owner of Risling Podium Performance (www.rislingperformance.com) in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada specializing in athletic development, body composition and holistic health. He has worked with the Canadian national track relay program including 2 World championship bronze medals and 2016 Olympic Bronze including personal athletes of his. His athletes have been on multiple national & international podiums at various levels and competitions including Les Jeux De La Francophonie & World Student Games (FISU).
He can be reached at [at]