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Citrate? Citramate? Bisglycinate? Which Magnesium Should I Take?

Magnesium Products by Thorne

Update: Thorne has discontinued the Magnesium Citrate. I currently have the Citrate version from Pure Encapsulations.

One common question that I get is which magnesium supplement to take. Thorne currently has 3 different magnesium supplements: Magnesium Citrate, Magnesium Citramate, and Magnesium Bisglycinate. For the longest time, I would recommend Magnesium Citramate if the patient didn't need a slight laxative effect otherwise, I recommend Citrate. For those needing large doses of magnesium (without the laxative effect) I recommend the Magnesium Bisglycinate. 

Magnesium is a common nutritional deficiency. It is needed for muscle relaxation, restful sleep, lung and bronchiole relaxation, energy production, healthy blood glucose levels, healthy heart rhythm, reducing inflammation, reducing calcium oxalate and calcium phosphate in urine (found in kidney stones), and proper nerve conduction. 

Honestly, when patients come into my practice, I would test them individually to see what works best for them. 95% of the time, if they need magnesium, any one of them would work. Without testing, the question is which one would work best. 

In Thorne's description, the newly released Magnesium Bisglycinate seems to be the premier magnesium product for absorbability. It has the least laxative effect and is great for muscle tension. Because it is NSF certified for sport, it would be best for competing athletes. 

Magnesium Citrate seems to be best for those with high calcium oxalate and calcium phosphate in their urine.  It is theorized that 7-13 percent of the U.S. adult population has these buildups. These precipitates are commonly found in kidney stones. The citrate (along with the magnesium) helps to dissolve these particles. I find this form to also be a little better for those with a tendency towards constipation. 

Magnesium Citramate is magnesium combined with both citrate and malate. Both of these chelates get processed in the Kreb's cycle boosting energy production. In practice, I've found the Magnesium Citramate to have less of a laxative effect than Magnesium Citrate. The malic acid also seems to help with muscle tenderness. 

Again, if you need magnesium, any of these products are high quality and would help. If you are an athlete, need a larger dose, or are extremely deficient, consider Magnesium Bisglycinate. If you are fatigued, have lots of muscle contraction, and need a pill form, consider Magnesium Citramate. If you have a propensity to have calcium oxalate and calcium phosphate in your urine or have a tendency to be constipated, consider the Magnesium Citrate. 


~Dr. Michael