Magnesium is essential for supporting nerve and muscle function, producing stomach acid, and strengthening energy production. Chronically low magnesium levels can put you at risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney disease, and even heart disease.
Ensuring you get enough magnesium each day can help prevent illness and physical weaknesses. Although you can get this essential electrolyte through food, it can be difficult to meet your daily recommended intake, which is where magnesium supplements come in.
However, these salts come in a variety of different forms, so how do you know which one is best for your needs? To help you choose, we take a close look at magnesium threonate and magnesium glycinate, comparing their uses, benefits, and side effects.
Magnesium Threonate vs. Magnesium Glycinate: Which Form of Magnesium Is Best?
|Improves cognitive abilities
Improves sleep quality
|Comes from a non-essential amino acid, meaning it’s easily absorbed by the body
Makes sleeping easier
Both magnesium threonate and magnesium glycinate are used in supplements to increase magnesium levels and alleviate other problems like sleeplessness and anxiety, which can lead to burnout.
The main difference between these types of magnesium is their parent compounds. Magnesium threonate comes from threonic acid, which is a sugar. Magnesium glycinate comes from glycine, which is a non-essential amino acid.
Magnesium glycinate is better in some ways because it’s easier for the body to absorb non-essential amino acids. While some types may help with severe constipation, people with inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s disease might prefer magnesium glycinate because it’s less likely to have a laxative effect than other types of magnesium.
What Is Magnesium Threonate?
Magnesium threonate, also known as magnesium L-threonate, is a magnesium salt metabolite of ascorbic acid (vitamin C). Vitamin C is a crucial aspect of iron absorption and is common in various fruits and vegetables.
L-threonate has 144mg of elemental magnesium per a 2,000mg dosage. Elemental magnesium refers to how much actual magnesium is within a magnesium salt.
Benefits of magnesium threonate
There are numerous benefits to taking magnesium threonate supplements, including:
- Improves cognitive abilities
- Fends off cognitive impairment
- Promotes relaxation
- Improves sleep quality
- Improves focus
Possible side effects
Using magnesium threonate supplements may also lead to certain potential side effects, such as:
- Stomach pain
- Abdominal cramps
When to take magnesium threonate
Users should take magnesium threonate with meals to get the most comfortable and effective experience. Taking magnesium supplements without food can lead to diarrhea, bloating, cramps, and nausea.
The recommended magnesium threonate dosage for adult men is 400–420mg daily. Adult women require 310–320mg of magnesium a day, while pregnant women need more at roughly 350–360mg per day.
What Is Magnesium Glycinate?
A 709mg dose of magnesium glycinate contains 100mg of elemental magnesium.
There is another type of magnesium glycinate called magnesium bisglycinate. Instead of having a single magnesium atom paired with a glycine molecule, magnesium bisglycinate sees magnesium bound with two glycine molecules.
Benefits of magnesium glycinate
These are some of the various benefits of taking magnesium glycinate supplements:
- Alleviates insomnia
- Reduces depression
- Lowers insulin resistance for people wanting to manage type 2 diabetes
- Improves sleep quality
- Relieves anxiety symptoms
- Might help with migraines
- Might reduce PMS symptoms
Possible side effects
Magnesium glycinate carries some possible side effects, including:
- Stomach cramps
- Kidney issues
When to Take Magnesium Glycinate
Whether you’re using them in a pill or powder form, it’s recommended to take magnesium glycinate supplements with food to stimulate digestion and improve absorption.
Consuming the supplements on an empty stomach can also cause digestive upset, which can lead to stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, excess gas, and bloating.
An appropriate magnesium glycinate dosage for adult men is 40–420mg per day. Women need less magnesium, 310–320mg daily. However, pregnant women need more magnesium, ideally 350–360mg each day.
Sleep and Magnesium Threonate vs. Magnesium Glycinate
Generally, magnesium is used to improve sleep because it stimulates gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which slows certain brain functions and makes it easier to fall asleep. It also lowers your internal body temperature, making it easier to stay asleep comfortably.
Here are the main pros of magnesium glycinate for sleep:
- The glycine in magnesium glycinate helps the body produce melatonin, so you can fall asleep faster.
- Magnesium glycinate increases serotonin levels, promoting relaxation and making it easier to drift off peacefully.
By contrast, these are the primary benefits of using magnesium threonate for sleep:
- Calms the nervous system by regulating the production of the GABA neurotransmitter
- Reduces anxiety, a condition that can cause insomnia
- Improves sleep latency, the time it takes to fall asleep
Although both types of magnesium provide benefits for a good night’s sleep, we recommend magnesium glycinate. This is best for promoting restful sleep because it is an amino acid that is easier for the body to absorb.
Anxiety and Magnesium Threonate vs. Magnesium Glycinate
In general, magnesium is an effective anxiety treatment as it affects the hypothalamus, a part of the brain that regulates glands that control the body’s stress response. However, although magnesium threonate and magnesium glycinate are both effective anxiety treatments, they do have some differences.
Here are some strengths for magnesium glycinate when it comes to relieving anxiety:
- Coming from an amino acid makes magnesium glycinate easier for the GI tract to process, preventing pain and discomfort that exacerbates anxiety.
- The glycine present in magnesium glycinate sends a slowing signal to the brain and makes it easier to relax, relieving anxiety.
However, these are reasons for using magnesium threonate for anxiety:
- Magnesium threonate has been clinically proven to have a beneficial effect on low mood and anxiety caused by mental stress.
- Magnesium threonate permeates the blood-brain barrier effectively, allowing it to directly target the brain and have a strong effect on cognitive issues like anxiety.
Overall, magnesium threonate is more effective in relieving anxiety because, as previously mentioned, it has a higher bioavailability. This makes it easier for the body to absorb this type of magnesium.
Is magnesium glycinate the same as magnesium L-threonate?
Magnesium glycinate and magnesium L-threonate are different types of magnesium. They have different properties and effects on magnesium deficiencies. For example, magnesium glycinate has more elemental magnesium and smoother magnesium absorption. L-threonate, however, crosses the blood-brain barrier and has a more significant impact on memory and cognitive processes.
Can you take magnesium glycinate and magnesium L-threonate together?
You can take magnesium glycinate and magnesium L-threonate together if you do so in the right dosages. For instance, adults between the ages of 19 and 51 need 310–420mg per day, depending on their specific age and gender.
Does magnesium threonate help with sleep?
Magnesium threonate helps with sleep by permeating the blood-brain barrier and getting magnesium to the brain cells effectively. It stimulates gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and lowers internal body temperature. These changes make it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep, considerably improving sleep quality.
A Word From Our MD
Although a large portion of people from countries with high quantities of processed foods are at risk of having magnesium deficiencies, there are several ways to address the issue.
Adult men require 400–420mg of magnesium daily, while women only require 310–320mg. Too much of this mineral can lead to abdominal pain, nausea, and diarrhea. Striking the balance is essential to avoid painful discomfort and disrupted bowel movements.
Magnesium supplements can be useful in lowering stress levels and improving your sleep, but there are other things that you can include in your daily routine to avoid burnout. For example, running each day has several benefits for both your mental and physical health.
Anyone interested in taking supplements to increase their magnesium levels should consult with a medical professional. Most of these supplements contain magnesium oxide, which is frequently used to relieve constipation.
Both magnesium glycinate and magnesium threonate are effective treatments that can lower blood pressure, improve vitamin D absorption, relieve stress, and increase sleep quality.
However, while magnesium glycinate is better for improving sleep quality and cognitive function, threonate is a more effective anxiety buster. Therefore, the type of magnesium supplement we’d recommend depends on your individual needs.
If you’re still unsure about whether you should supplement magnesium, you should speak to your doctor, who can advise you on the best course of action.
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