Pure Encapsulations Magnesium Glycinate vs. Other Forms
In our era of fast and processed food, many people are missing out on essential nutrients in their daily diet. When it comes to nutrient deficiencies, magnesium is at the top of the list as some experts estimate that most Americans are magnesium deficient.
Many symptoms have been linked to magnesium deficiency, including muscle cramps and twitches, muscle weakness, tiredness, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and others.
Ideally, the best way to address magnesium and other nutrient deficiencies is by having a well-balanced diet packed with a variety of healthy vegetables and fruits. But if you are looking for a quick fix, then taking a natural dietary supplement is your second-best option.
You won’t have a problem finding a magnesium supplement at almost any health or drug store. In fact, there are so many different brands and types of magnesium supplements that your main problem will be deciding on which exact product to choose.
If you have settled on Pure Encapsulations for a brand choice, then you’ve chosen well! This is a well-established company known for their high quality products. But you still have to make a choice between the several different forms of magnesium that Pure Encapsulations offers.
Why So Many Mg Forms?
Magnesium does not exist in nature in its free elemental form, but rather it is found as an ionic or molecular compound where the magnesium ion is bound to one or more other ions or molecules. These compounds are referred to as magnesium salts — examples: magnesium oxide, sulfate, glycinate, etc.
All salts of magnesium break down in the body into magnesium and whatever other ion or molecule it is attached to. However, these different salts have different bioavailability, efficacy and side effects. Each compound may also have secondary benefits associated with the attached moiety.
Some magnesium forms are more commercially used and relatively cheap to produce, while other more complex forms cost more to produce and come at a higher retail price.
The following is a basic review of the different magnesium supplements offered by Pure Encapsulations with some details on how each one is different and what it may be most useful for.
This is Pure Encapsulations’ most popular and user-preferred magnesium supplement. It is a chelate that consists of elemental magnesium bound to the amino acid glycine (glycinate).
Magnesium glycinate is better absorbed and has a higher bioavailability than most other types of magnesium. It also does not have a laxative effect like other forms, so if you are looking to consume a high dosage of magnesium without having to suffer from loose stool, this is the one for you.
Besides the benefits of magnesium, glycine also has some health benefits of its own as the body uses it to make several essential compounds, including the antioxidant glutathione, creatine, collagen, and others.
Glycine has the potential to improve sleep quality, and it is commonly used in sleep-promoting dietary formulations. Both magnesium and glycine have been shown to be helpful for people struggling with insomnia, which makes magnesium glycinate the perfect form to supplement at nighttime. It doesn’t make you sleepy though, so you can take it in the morning or at any other time during the day.
Magnesium Threonate (CogniMag)
Magnesium (L-)threonate is another chelated compound where magnesium is bound to L-threonic acid (L-threonate). This is a patented, lab-made magnesium chelate that is sold under the brand name Magtein.
There is some evidence that magnesium L-threonate can cross the blood-brain barrier and raise the brain levels of this mineral more efficiently than any other Mg form.
Some preliminary studies have shown that magnesium L-threonate (Magtein) may improve cognitive function, in particular for older people who suffer from magnesium depletion-associated cognitive decline. It is also being studied as a potential treatment for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, but there is no conclusive evidence to support its efficacy for these mental disorders as yet.
In addition to Magtein, the formula also includes a proprietary blend of herbal extracts called PhytoMemory (blueberry, strawberry and spinach extracts). PhytoMemory may help enhance cognitive functions, although the claim lacks clinical proof.
Magnesium threonate is an expensive compound and there is no solid evidence that it is more beneficial than other Mg forms for healthy people. For general use, I’d stick with magnesium glycinate.
This compound is made up of magnesium bound to citrate (citric acid). Magnesium citrate is a very popular choice due to its high bioavailability and relatively low price.
Citrate plays a key role in the citric acid cycle (Krebs cycle), which is how the cells in the body produce energy through a series of chemical reactions that take place in the mitochondria. Supplementing with citrate may increase energy production.
One major drawback of magnesium citrate, however, is its laxative effect. It is often taken to ease constipation or clean stool from the intestines. It is not recommended to use this form for long-term supplementation because it may cause laxative dependency, i.e. you may not be able to have normal bowel movement without taking it.
The most common side effects of magnesium citrate include diarrhea, stomach upset and abdominal pain.
Note: Citrate is produced by corn dextrose fermentation. While the company claims that no corn proteins or sugar remain in the final product, they also state that they do not routinely test for corn allergens. If you have a corn allergy, it’s better to avoid supplements with citrate (citric acid).
In this molecule, magnesium is bound to both citrate (citric acid) and malate (malic acid). It is thought that magnesium citrate/malate is better absorbed than the citrate form and may cause less stomach upset.
Both the citrate and citrate/malate forms can be particularly beneficial for people who suffer from kidney stones, since magnesium, citrate and malic acid have been shown to help reduce the formation of some types of kidney stones.
This is the magnesium salt of the amino acid aspartic acid. It has higher bioavailability than some other Mg salts, but it also offers a low amount of elemental magnesium by weight.
Magnesium aspartate is less popular than other forms, nevertheless it seems to be well tolerated by the body and many consumers report a positive experience with it.
Conclusion: Which Form to Buy?
All in all, magnesium glycinate by Pure Encapsulations is arguably the best choice for everyday supplementation. It is better absorbed than other forms, gentle on the stomach, and does not cause diarrhea. You can buy this product, and others, from PureFormulas.