Why not all Magnesium is created equal

Magnesium is one of the most abundant minerals and essential for over three hundred biochemical processes within the body. These processes range from assisting in getting a good night’s sleep, to processes involved in the synthesis of DNA.

For athletes particularly, magnesium is vital due to its involvement in glycolysis and creatine phosphate production. In simple terms, this translates to the creation of energy for your muscles upon exertion, as well as supporting available energy in the body to sustain endurance. Diets rich in seeds, nuts, dark leafy greens, legumes, and some carbohydrates (specifically oats and wheat) are great sources of dietary magnesium, however, magnesium deficiency is quite common with conservative estimates suggesting a third of us are affected. Several factors may lead to deficiency, including poor diet quality, diets high in fat (which in excess, can reduce magnesium absorption), digestive ailments (such as Crohn’s disease) and exercise.

Exercise? You read that right. Exercise itself can cause magnesium levels to be depleted through losses in sweat, urine and alterations in blood levels through intense physical activity, meaning athletes will have higher daily magnesium requirements than sedentary individuals. Additionally, athletes on restricted diets may also be at an increased risk of deficiency. 

Why is that important?

A crucial element of athletic performance surrounds an athlete’s ability to train at optimal performance states for, often, extended periods of time. While the majority of supplementation may be centred around performance enhancement, post-performance care is equally critical in ensuring that individuals are enhancing recovery protocols and not pulling resources from a depleted well. Considering magnesium plays a key role in neuromuscular transmission and muscle contraction, magnesium deficiency may predispose individuals to muscle cramps and night spasms, which interfere with sleep quality and overall recovery. In a study by Roffe et al. (2002), it was concluded that magnesium supplementation may be effective in treatment of ‘cramps’, with individuals reporting reduction in incidence of leg cramps, in comparison to the placebo group. Magnesium has also been established as essential for bone growth and bone density support, with magnesium deficiency being linked to increased risk of osteoporosis. This comes as no surprise considering around 57% of bodily magnesium is found in our bones. The mitigation of discomfort, cramps, and pain ensures athletes are supported mentally and physically. This leads to improved outcomes in the short and long term, with improved recovery supporting athletes’ ability to show up consistently, at peak performance.

So you’ve decided to supplement magnesium

With so many magnesium supplements available on the market, it can be difficult to know which one is the ‘best’ and that will ultimately serve your needs most appropriately without breaking the bank. While price often holds a lot of sway, the most important aspect to consider when supplementing with magnesium is not cost, nor the amount of magnesium, but rather, the form. This is because not all magnesium is created equal. This is due to the fact that different preparations of magnesium have unique properties and chemical structures that affect solubility, and thus, bioavailability.  The following are some of the common forms available:

Magnesium Citrate

Magnesium citrate, as the name suggests, is magnesium bound to citrate. Citrate is a large molecule that is easily transported into the GI tract, where it dissociates (breaks apart), allowing for the most effective and efficient absorption of magnesium into the bloodstream. Its great bioavailability and solubility make’s it a wonderful and preferred base for any supplementation protocol.

Magnesium Amino Acid Chelate

Chelated Magnesium has an excellent bioavailability status where the magnesium is bound to various amino acids. Chelated magnesium is expensive to make but is favoured because it can be delivered to parts of the body that other forms are unable to penetrate due to the absence of an amino acid binding complex. Magnesium acid chelates have a range of reported benefits, including increased energy levels, improved mood, cognition and cardiovascular health.

Magnesium Glycinate

Similar to chelated magnesium, however in this case, the magnesium is bound to an amino acid called glycine. Considered one of the more tolerated and gentle formulations, magnesium glycinate is another highly bioavailable option. It is typically well absorbed in the GI tract, and is often associated with the ‘calming effects’ seen with magnesium supplementation. It works synergistically alongside many neurotransmitters, like GABA, to promote calm and help relieve sleeplessness.

Magnesium Oxide

Magnesium oxide is an inorganic magnesium salt, and is thus, one of the most poorly absorbed forms available. The molecule is small, allowing for greater amounts of magnesium per dose, but is absorbed slowly within the GI tract and has a hydrophilic affect in the colon (meaning it attracts water), producing a strong, and often undesirable, laxative effect.

Supplementing with multiple forms of magnesium individually to reap a wide spectrum of benefits can prove to be costly and uncomfortable due to the general low palatability of tablets and capsules. Therefore, supplementing with a single formulation that combines multiple highly bioavailable forms of magnesium is ideal. Remember, more is not always merrier. Read ingredients carefully to ensure quality forms of magnesium are being used, which most commonly include magnesium citrate, magnesium glycinate, magnesium chelate, to protect yourself from unnecessary expenditure, poor results and gastrointestinal discomfort. 

Our TRIPLE MAGNESIUM formulation combines these three scientifically demonstrated forms of magnesium to optimise results. These forms of magnesium have been specifically selected for their superior bioavailability profile, demonstrated tolerance, and capacity to work synergistically to provide a wide scope of benefits, ranging from mood to muscle recovery. In  addition to its star ingredient (magnesium), TRIPLE MAGNESIUM also features the key minerals potassium and calcium to provide multi-action, high-strength support for neuromuscular and cardiovascular function, as well as energy production. From dosage to formulation, all components of our TRIPLE MAGNESIUM are clinically justified to provide multi-faceted support for neuromuscular function and recovery in the convenience of a single film coated tablet or powder.

References:

  • Abbasi, B., Kimiagar, M., Sadeghniiat, K., Shirazi, M. M., Hedayati, M., & Rashidkhani, B. (2012). The effect of magnesium supplementation on primary insomnia in elderly: A double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Journal of research in medical sciences : the official journal of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, 17(12), 1161–1169. 
  • Musso C, G. (2009) Magnesium metabolism in health and disease. International Journal of Urology and Nephrology. 41(2), 357-362 
  • Rayssiguier Y., Guezennec C.Y., Durlach J. (1990). New experimental and clinical data on the relationship between magnesium and sport. Magnesium Research 3, 93-102
  • Kass, L. S., Skinner, P., & Poeira, F. (2013). A pilot study on the effects of magnesium supplementation with high and low habitual dietary magnesium intake on resting and recovery from aerobic and resistance exercise and systolic blood pressure. Journal of sports science & medicine, 12(1), 144–150.
  • ‘Magnesium Comes In Many Different Forms – Which Types Do You Need?’ (2020) About Health New Zealand. Available at: https://www.abouthealth.co.nz/
  • Lindberg, J. S., Zobitz, M. M., Poindexter, J. R., & Pak, C. Y. (1990). Magnesium bioavailability from magnesium citrate and magnesium oxide. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 9(1), 48–55. https://doi.org/10.1080/07315724.1990.10720349
  • Ates, M., Kizildag, S., Yuksel, O., Hosgorler, F., Yuce, Z., Guvendi, G., Kandis, S., Karakilic, A., Koc, B., & Uysal, N. (2019). Dose-Dependent Absorption Profile of Different Magnesium Compounds. Biological trace element research, 192(2), 244–251. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12011-019-01663-0
  • Nielsen FH, Lukaski HC. Update on the relationship between magnesium and exercise. Magnes Res. 2006 Sep;19(3):180-9. PMID: 17172008.
  • Roffe, C., Sills, S., Crome, P., & Jones, P. (2002). Randomised, cross-over, placebo controlled trial of magnesium citrate in the treatment of chronic persistent leg cramps. Medical science monitor : international medical journal of experimental and clinical research, 8(5), CR326–CR330.

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