What is Chelated Magnesium?

Magnesium is an essential mineral that plays a crucial role in over 300 reactions in the body. It is indispensable for a multitude of health functions, including muscle and nerve function, cellular energy production, blood glucose control, and regulation of blood pressure, among others. Unfortunately, many individuals fail to acquire sufficient magnesium through their diets, resulting in magnesium deficiencies. Consequently, many turn to supplementation as a means to bridge the magnesium nutrient gap in their nutritional intake. 

The rising popularity of magnesium supplements highlights the growing interest in enhancing overall health. Notably, there is a specific consumer interest in magnesium formulations that are believed to promote better sleep. However, the plethora of available magnesium forms often leaves consumers uncertain about the most suitable choice for their needs. In this context, we delve into the significance of chelated magnesium supplements and their role in improving the absorption of this essential mineral in our bodies.

What does "chelate" mean?

Chelation, particularly for magnesium, involves the binding of magnesium ions with organic molecules, such as amino acids. This process enhances the stability and absorption of magnesium in the body. Chelated magnesium comes in various forms, all of which influence the bioavailability of magnesium in a supplement differently. 

Difference Between Chelated and Non-chelated

The main distinction between chelated and non-chelated types of magnesium lies in the stability and absorption of the nutrient. Chelated forms generally exhibit better stability, thanks to their attachment to stable organic molecules. In contrast, non-chelated forms, like magnesium oxide, may be comparatively less stable. Consequently, non-chelated forms, particularly magnesium oxide, are commonly included in laxative products due to their low absorption level, which draws fluid to the bowel.

Further research is required to definitively establish whether chelated magnesium in all its forms exhibits superior bioavailability compared to non-chelated forms. However, there is a general understanding that chelated magnesium may offer better bioavailability and enhanced intestinal absorption.

Benefits of Chelated Magnesium Supplements

In general, the consumption of magnesium can provide numerous health benefits, including enhanced bone and muscle function, heart health, and improved brain function, among others. Choosing a chelated magnesium is crucial for better absorption and utilization, allowing you to maximize the supplement's full potential. However, it's worth noting that each type of magnesium is bonded to another molecule and with each molecule comes its unique set of benefits. Understanding the various types of magnesium available on the shelves will help you make informed decisions about the additional health benefits you can expect to reap.

Different Forms of Magnesium

With an understanding of chelated vs. non-chelated supplements, let's explore the different types of magnesium generally available as supplements. 

Select forms of chelated magnesium include:

  • Magnesium glycinate (or magnesium bisglycinate)
  • Magnesium malate
  • Magnesium threonate
  • Magnesium taurate
  • Magnesium citrate
  • Magnesium orotate

Select forms of non-chelated magnesium include:

  • Magnesium oxide
  • Magnesium carbonate
  • Magnesium chloride
  • Magnesium hydroxide

Those looking to improve magnesium blood levels and overall well-being may consider a chelated option. It's still important to identify, which chelated form may be best for you. Consider magnesium malate, a chelated form, which includes malic acid—a component commonly found in many fruits and responsible for their tart taste. This particular form is believed to be effectively absorbed in the digestive tract, playing a role in preventing magnesium deficiency. The presence of malic acid is thought to enhance magnesium absorption by providing stability to the magnesium compound, and it, in turn, is well absorbed by the body. Alternatively, individuals may opt for a magnesium amino acid chelate, such as magnesium glycinate, to gain the additional benefits of amino acids. Amino acids serve as the building blocks for proteins in the body, providing an added advantage to magnesium supplementation.

Although chelated magnesium offers its own set of advantages, it's important to note that this doesn't negate the value of non-chelated forms. For example, individuals seeking relief from occasional constipation may receive guidance from their healthcare providers to opt for magnesium oxide. These forms are known for their lower bioavailability, resulting in a laxative effect.

When choosing a magnesium supplement, it's crucial to determine the benefits of each form and to align your decision with your specific health goals.

Potential Side Effects of Taking Chelated Magnesium

Chelated magnesium is generally considered safe, with limited side effects. While some individuals may experience reported side effects such as indigestion, stomach discomfort, and diarrhea, it's important to note that in its chelated form, these adverse effects are less likely.

If you have an existing medical concern or require general guidance on magnesium supplementation, it is advisable to consult your physician for personalized recommendations. 

Conclusion: What form of magnesium should I take?

For comprehensive health support, consider choosing a chelated magnesium, as it has the potential to enhance bioavailability and limit negative digestive effects. Low magnesium levels and deficiencies are common, so taking a magnesium supplement can be a prudent option for overall well-being. The type of chelated magnesium you should take will depend on your health goals.

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