What types of magnesium are there and what do they do? Magnesium supplementation.

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The wonderful magnesium.

There are many different types of magnesium supplements.  Here is a list of nine them plus a brief summary of what they can do for us.  Overall, magnesium is a calming mineral that helps us relax, sleep, lose weight, improve heart health,  energy production and reduce cramps and night sweats.  Because of its nature, magnesium is best taken with the evening meal and at bedtime – although there are exceptions to this.  Everybody benefits from magnesium supplementation because it in short supply in plants due to the use of chemical fertilizers, which emphasise only the 3 minerals, nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.  As the plants grow, they take up what magnesium they can from the soil, but if we don’t put rotted organic matter back into the soil, the magnesium levels slowly drop lower and lower.    Since we cannot absorb magnesium in its pure form, we have to take it when it is mixed with something else, as gone into in greater detail in the linked blog.

Magnesium Oxide

The commonest form of magnesium is magnesium oxide.  It is very cheap and used in the production of Portland Cement. Which alone suggests it is not a good source of magnesium for us.  Uptake is poor, as gone into in the above blog, and taking too much results in a case of the trots.  It is used as an anti-acid, but in fact to cure stomach ‘acidity’ we really need to heal the lining of the stomach, not just suppress rather useful symptoms of a stomach wall in crisis.  We have 2 good uses for magnesium oxide; the first to spot a cheap and possibly harmful multi-vitamin, and the second in our armpits as a deodorant.

Magnesium Citrate.

This is a readily available form of magnesium that does have some level of uptake.  It has been used in studies in how magnesium helps successful weight loss.  However, for uptake there are better forms, and the best use for magnesium citrate is to help things move along through the guts and out the other end.

Magnesium Glycinate.

This is the first decent magnesium in this list.  It is an effective form of magnesium with good uptake, so will help weight loss and heart health.  Since it improves insulin sensitivity, it will help pre-diabetics, women with PCOS and reduce the size of the muffin tops. It also helps re-alkalise the body. If a multi-vitamin contains this form of magnesium, it is a sign excellent quality.

Magnesium Malate.

Another useful form of magnesium that can be found in the shops.  Its best use is to relieve muscle cramps and spasms. Since it is magnesium with malic acid,  if taken in large quantities, as with magnesium citrate, we may find ourselves zooming, cheeks clamped desperately, to the toilet in the middle of the night.  And so a very effective way to take magnesium malate is in a mixed magnesium blend, where it is blended with other magnesiums that are bound to amino acids, such as magnesium glycinate.   An example is Poly Mag by Poliquin.  Poly mag would be an excellent choice for someone looking to reduce muscle spasm, and gain the heart, energy and weight loss benefits of magnesium.


This product is a superb magnesium.  It helps us sleep, and so is vital for all insomniacs. For hyperactive children, it improves the attention span, and helps them sleep.  Bargain.  It helps menopause symptoms of hot flushes and sleeplessness.  Ubermag has all the other benefits of a quality magnesium and none of the downsides.  It is a unique mixture of  magnesium glycinate, orotate, fumerate and taurate.

Ubermag plus.

This is ubermag with added tryptophan.  Trytophan is found in food and is the natural precursor to our manufacture of serotonin, the neurotransmitter most associated with relieving depression.  For maximum effectiveness, this product has a huge amount of tryptophan, so if taking ubermag plus with the evening meal, there is enough tryptophan to compete with the other proteins and still get into the system.  Click on the linked blog for more explanation.

Zen Mag.

A new product from Poliquin, again helping regain deep sleep.  But this time this blend helps the brain with such drains as memory loss, anxiety and depression.  It consists of magnesium and L Threonin which apparently crosses the blood brain barrier extremely well.

Magnesium in skin cream form

Magnesium can be bought as a skin cream to be rubbed in.  For young children who find it difficult to fall asleep at night, it can work like a miracle.  Just rub it into the soles of their feet and, hallelujah. Snooze time.  Magnesium cream also works on cramping muscles, for example a cramp in the calf.  Here is the end to the agonizing midnight leg waggle as a calf goes into a cramp, jerking us – and anybody else nearby – from our slumber.  Just rub the stuff in, and cramp-be-gone.

Epsom salts.

Everything that we rub into our skin, we absorb into us.  So if feeling tired and stressed, an Epsom salt bath at bedtime can help us sink gratefully into staring at our eyelids for the next few hours.  This also helps children to wind down. Lovely.

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