Magnesium Citrate vs. Magnesium Glycinate: A Comparative Analysis

Magnesium Glycinate


Magnesium is an essential mineral that plays a crucial role in various bodily functions, including energy production, muscle contraction, and nerve transmission. It is also involved in over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body. Two popular forms of magnesium supplements are magnesium citrate vs magnesium glycinate. In this article, we will explore the differences between these two forms and the potential benefits they offer.

  1. Magnesium Citrate:

Magnesium citrate is a combination of magnesium and citric acid. It is commonly used as a dietary supplement due to its excellent bioavailability and affordable price. Here are some key features and benefits of magnesium citrate:

a) High bioavailability: Magnesium citrate has good absorption in the body, making it readily available for use. This property makes it a popular choice for individuals with magnesium deficiency.

b) Laxative effect: One of the notable benefits of magnesium citrate is its ability to relieve constipation. It attracts water into the intestines, softening the stool and promoting bowel movements. However, this effect may not be desirable for everyone and should be used cautiously.

c) Kidney stone prevention: Some studies suggest that magnesium citrate may help prevent kidney stone formation by inhibiting the growth of crystals. It achieves this by binding to oxalate, a substance involved in stone formation, and reducing its absorption in the kidneys.

  1. Magnesium Glycinate:

Magnesium glycinate is a chelated form of magnesium, where magnesium is bound to the amino acid glycine. This form is known for its excellent absorption and gentle effects on the digestive system. Let’s take a look at its features and benefits:

a) Enhanced absorption: Magnesium glycinate is highly absorbable due to the presence of glycine. This amino acid enhances the transport of magnesium across the intestinal lining, ensuring its effective utilization by the body.

b) Gentle on the stomach: Unlike some other forms of magnesium, glycinate is less likely to cause digestive discomfort, such as diarrhea or stomach upset. This property makes it suitable for individuals with sensitive stomachs.

c) Relaxation and sleep support: Magnesium glycinate is often favored for its calming properties. It can promote relaxation, reduce anxiety, and support healthy sleep patterns. This makes it a popular choice for those seeking to improve their sleep quality.

  1. Choosing the Right Form:

The choice between magnesium citrate and magnesium glycinate depends on individual needs and preferences. Here are some factors to consider:

a) Bioavailability: If rapid absorption is desired, magnesium citrate may be the preferred choice due to its high bioavailability.

b) Digestive tolerance: If you have a sensitive stomach or are prone to digestive issues, magnesium glycinate might be a better option as it is generally better tolerated.

c) Specific benefits: Consider your primary reason for taking magnesium. If constipation relief is a priority, magnesium citrate may be beneficial. On the other hand, if you’re seeking relaxation and sleep support, magnesium glycinate could be more suitable.

  1. Dosage and Side Effects:

When considering magnesium supplements, it is important to follow the recommended dosage and be aware of potential side effects. Both magnesium citrate and magnesium glycinate are generally safe when taken as directed. However, excessive intake of magnesium can lead to diarrhea, nausea, and abdominal cramps.

The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for magnesium varies depending on age, sex, and specific health conditions. It is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the appropriate dosage for your individual needs.

  1. Other Considerations:

While magnesium citrate and magnesium glycinate are commonly used forms, there are other variations available, such as magnesium oxide, magnesium sulfate, and magnesium malate. Each form has its own absorption rate and potential benefits. Understanding the specific properties of these different forms can help you select the most suitable option for your health goals.

It’s worth noting that magnesium supplements should not be seen as a replacement for a balanced diet rich in magnesium-rich foods such as leafy green vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. A well-rounded diet should be the primary source of essential nutrients, including magnesium.


Magnesium citrate and magnesium glycinate are two popular forms of magnesium supplements that offer distinct advantages. Magnesium citrate provides high bioavailability and is beneficial for constipation relief and kidney stone prevention. On the other hand, magnesium glycinate offers superior absorption, is gentle on the stomach, and promotes relaxation and healthy sleep.

Understanding the differences between these two forms of magnesium can help you make an informed decision based on your specific needs and preferences. Remember to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement, especially if you have underlying health conditions or are taking other medications. By choosing the right form and maintaining a balanced diet, you can support optimal magnesium levels and contribute to your overall health and well-being.


Both magnesium citrate and magnesium glycinate are popular magnesium supplements, each offering unique benefits. Magnesium citrate is known for its high bioavailability and laxative effect, while magnesium glycinate excels in absorption and is gentle on the stomach. Understanding these differences can help you make an informed decision based on your specific needs and goals. Remember to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen.