Magnesium Glycinate

Magnesium Glycinate

Magnesium Glycinate

Magnesium glycinate - also known as magnesium diglycinate or magnesium bisglycinate, or simply plain old magnesium, has become increasingly popular in recent years for its health benefits.

Magnesium, an essential mineral, plays a crucial role in various physiological functions within the human body, contributing to nerve function, muscle contraction, and bone health. The combination with glycine, an amino acid with calming properties, adds a unique dimension to the compound.

While magnesium is the fourth most common mineral in the human body (after calcium, sodium, and potassium), scientific literature points at extensive evidence of a widespread magnesium deficiency, spanning almost two thirds of the western world (1). 

That means a large portion of the world’s population are missing out on the various health benefits of magnesium, including improved sleep, stress reduction, enhanced cognitive function, and a general improvement on overall well-being (among other benefits mentioned below).

Even worse, those who aren’t achieving the recommended daily allowance for magnesium could be experiencing a deficiency that leads to a number of health conditions.

In this article, we’ll explore everything you need to know about magnesium. Scroll down to get started from the top, or click any of the headings in the table of contents right below to skip to a particular section.

What is magnesium glycinate?

Magnesium glycinate (Mg) is a compound that combines magnesium with the amino acid glycine.

It’s required as a cofactor for over 300 enzymatic reactions, meaning that it’s critical for the biochemical functioning of numerous metabolic pathways in our bodies each day.

It is the second most abundant intracellular cation (after potassium), so you can understand how critical it is in terms of the body’s primary functions.

In fact, research suggests that an individual weighing 70kg has an average of 25g of magnesium in reserve, with 53% in bone, 27% in muscle, 19% in soft tissues, and less than 1% in the serum.(2)

What is magnesium important for?

Magnesium is involved as a cofactor in more than 300 enzyme systems that are necessary for crucial functions in the body, including protein synthesis, muscle contraction, nerve function, blood glucose control, hormone and blood pressure regulation.

When it comes to energy production, magnesium is found in high concentration in mitochondria, where it plays a pivotal role in the synthesis of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) from ADP (adenosine diphosphate) and inorganic phosphate (3).

In clinical practice, optimising magnesium through diet and supplementation appears to be a safe, useful, and well-documented therapy for several medical conditions.

Generally speaking, benefits of optimal magnesium levels include:

Muscle Function:

Magnesium is necessary for proper muscle function, including contraction and relaxation. It can help reduce muscle cramps and spasms.

Bone Health:

Magnesium contributes to bone health by aiding in the absorption of calcium and working with vitamin D to support bone mineralisation.

Heart Health:

Magnesium is involved in maintaining a regular heartbeat and supporting blood vessel function. It may help lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Energy Production:

Magnesium is a cofactor in the body's energy production processes. It plays a role in converting food into energy and helps activate enzymes that are important for metabolism.

Nervous System Function:

Magnesium has a calming effect on the nervous system and may help with anxiety and stress management. It also supports neurotransmitter function.

Blood Sugar Regulation:

Magnesium plays a role in insulin sensitivity, and adequate levels may help regulate blood sugar levels, reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Migraine Prevention:

Some studies suggest that magnesium supplementation may help prevent or reduce the frequency of migraines.

Anti-inflammatory Effects:

Magnesium has been suggested to have anti-inflammatory properties, which may contribute to overall health and disease prevention.

Sleep Support:

Magnesium is often associated with improved sleep quality. It can help relax muscles and promote a sense of calm, contributing to better sleep.

When it comes to sleep support, magnesium glycinate is an active ingredient of Super Sleep. The evidenced-based, Australian-made, TGA-registered sleep supplement:

  • supports healthy sleeping patterns;
  • reduces disturbed/restless sleep;
  • assists mind relaxation; and
  • supports cognitive mental function.

Magnesium deficiency: What happens if I don’t have enough magnesium in my body?

It has been estimated that at least 42% of young adults have an ongoing primary magnesium deficiency in the modern era. (4)

Recent studies attribute the widespread magnesium deficiency to a range of factors, including, but not limited to:

  • Chronic low intake of magnesium;
  • Increased consumption of processed foods purchased from supermarkets, which contained diminished levels of magnesium (5);
  • The cooking and boiling processes of foods resulting in a significant decline of the food's magnesium content (6);
  • An increased intake of common staples such as meat, sugar and white flour, which contribute less than 20% of the body’s daily requirement of magnesium; and
  • Reduced gastrointestinal absorption of magnesium due to the increase in vitamin D deficit in western cultures (7).

Whatever the cause of the deficiency, the impact is significant.

Emerging evidence continues to make links between magnesium deficiency and a range of health conditions, including, but not limited to:

  • Asthma
  • Osteoporosis
  • Muscle cramps
  • Pregnancy implications
  • Migraine headaches
  • Metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and diabetic complications
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Sleep, and Restless Leg Syndrome
  • Cardiovascular health, hypertension, and Sudden Cardiac Death

Signs & symptoms that you don’t have enough magnesium

Magnesium deficiency, which is also known as hypomagnesemia, can manifest with various signs and symptoms, including:

  • Muscle cramps and spasms;
  • Fatigue and weakness;
  • Nausea and vomiting;
  • Loss of appetite;
  • Abnormal heart rhythms (including palpitations, arrhythmias, or other cardiovascular issues);
  • Tingling or numbness;
  • Personality changes (including changes in mood, such as increased irritability or anxiety);
  • Seizures;
  • Muscle tremors or shaking
  • Abnormal eye movements:
  • Poor coordination
  • Insomnia or sleep disturbances


How to increase your magnesium intake

Evidence supports the use of magnesium to prevent and treat many common health conditions including migraine headache, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, asthma, premenstrual syndrome, preeclampsia, and various cardiac arrhythmias (8).

Increasing your magnesium intake can be achieved through dietary sources, supplements, or a combination of both.

Here are some ways to boost your magnesium levels:

Sources of Magnesium

Magnesium can come from a range of sources, with varying levels of bioavailability and is encouraged in different therapeutic uses.

Magnesium oxide

Bioavailability is poor; effervescent magnesium oxide is better absorbed (8%) than tablets (4%).

Magnesium citrate

significantly better absorbed than oxide since it is more soluble

Magnesium chloride, lactate, and aspartate

Have higher and similar bioavailability.

Magnesium hydroxide

Poorly absorbed; used as an antacid and a cathartic.

Magnesium orotate

May be useful in heart failure.

Magnesium as a salicylate

Is used in rheumatoid arthritis.

Magnesium mandelate

Is used as urinary antiseptic.

Magnesium glycinate or taurinate:

Has been used in depression.

Magnesium from magnesium-rich mineral water

59% absorption.

Which foods are highest in magnesium?

Common food sources of magnesium (in mg per serving or 100 gm).



(i) Hemp seeds (100 gm)


(ii) Pumpkin seeds (100 gm)


(iii) Flax seeds (100 gm)


(iv) Brazil nuts (100 gm)






(i) Whole wheat bread (2 slices)


(ii) Baked potato (3.5 ounces)


(iii) Rice, brown rice (1/2 cup)


(iv) Kidney beans (1/2 cup)


(v) White rice (1/2 cup)






(i) Boiled spinach (1/2 cup)


(ii) Avocado (cubed 1 cup)


(iii) Broccoli (chopped, cooked 1/2 cup)






(i) Yogurt (low-fat 8 ounces)


(ii) Milk (8 ounces)


(iii) Farmed Atlantic Salmon (3 ounces)


(iv) Cooked halibut (3 ounces)


(v) Roasted chicken breast (3 ounces)


(vi) Chopped and cooked beef (3 ounces)


(vii) Apple


(viii) Raw carrots (one medium)


(ix) Raisins (1/2 cup)


Source: the US Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Nutrient Database website.

Instructions on how to take magnesium effectively

Taking magnesium effectively involves considering factors such as the form of magnesium, dosage, timing, and potential interactions with other substances.

Here are some general instructions on how to take magnesium effectively.

Recommended dosage

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) has set an upper tolerable limit for magnesium supplementation to occur safely and without side effects at 350mg per day.

This allows for a substantial margin of safety.

See below for the recommended dietary allowances (RDA) for magnesium in mg (9).






Birth: 6 months





7–12 months





1–3 years





4–8 years





9–13 years





14–18 years





19–30 years
















Magnesium toxicity: What happens if you take too much?

Magnesium toxicity rarely happens.

Typically, the first signs of excessive magnesium intake is a bowel intolerance, such as diarrhoea.

Other signs and symptoms of magnesium toxicity include:

  • diarrhoea and other similar laxative effects;
  • a fall in blood pressure, with dizziness to severe hypotension;
  • muscle weakness and lethargy;
  • severe back and pelvic pain;
  • confusion and loss of consciousness;
  • difficulty breathing (potentially escalating to respiratory arrest);
  • cardiac arrhythmias (potentially escalating to cardiac arrest); and
  • deterioration of kidney function.

 At the first signs of magnesium toxicity, stop taking magnesium supplements and consult a medical professional.


It’s been quite a read, so if you’ve got this far, well done.

By now you would have learned both the complexity and significance of magnesium glycinate, including its composition, uses, benefits, and potential drawbacks.

If you want to incorporate optimal levels of magnesium into your lifestyle and reap the benefits, including better sleep, ensure that you follow the guide above.

As always, make sure you understand and adhere to the dosage guidelines, and consult with a healthcare professional if you have an underlying medical condition or need personalised advice.


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