Magnesium Glycinate: Uses, Side Effects & More
May 07, 2023
Magnesium glycinate is a magnesium supplement, especially for magnesium deficiency (low magnesium). In general, magnesium plays many essential parts in the body.
For example, magnesium activates (wakes up) numerous proteins in the body. It's also critical for synthesizing (making) both DNA and RNA genetic material.
Additionally, magnesium is responsible for repairing damaged cells and ensuring enough antioxidants are in your body.
In general, antioxidants attack unstable atoms known as free radicals. Free radicals can damage components and systems within the body, including DNA.
Magnesium also plays a role in how your bones and muscles work. It helps activate vitamin D, and this helps with the balance between calcium and phosphate for bone growth and maintenance.
This article will discuss what you should know about magnesium—including its potential uses, side effects, interactions, and more.
Dietary supplements are not regulated the way drugs are in the United States, meaning the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not approve them for safety and effectiveness before products are marketed. When possible, choose a supplement tested by a trusted third party, such as U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP), ConsumerLab.com, or NSF International.
However, even if supplements are third-party tested, they are not necessarily safe for all or effective in general. Therefore, talking to your healthcare provider about any supplements you plan to take and asking about potential interactions with other supplements or medications is important.
Supplement use should be individualized and vetted by a healthcare professional, such as a registered dietitian, pharmacist, or healthcare provider. No supplement is intended to treat, cure, or prevent disease.
While more extensive research is necessary regarding the effectiveness of magnesium glycinate, people generally use magnesium supplements to treat various health conditions.
Research is most robust for magnesium's effects concerning the following:
A systematic review (a methodical review of a collection of studies) showed that magnesium supplementation decreased diastolic (bottom number) blood pressure (DBP) by 2.2 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) in adults.
These adults had a high systolic (top number) blood pressure (SBP) of at least 140 mm Hg or a DBP of at least 85 mm Hg.
A lower DBP by at least 2 mm Hg is linked with a lower risk of coronary heart disease. This decrease in DBP in the population may also make high blood pressure less prevalent. However, because of the potentially biased and low-quality research, the relationship between magnesium and lower DBP is not strongly correlated.
Therefore, additional research with larger-scale, higher-quality, and longer-term studies is needed to accurately affirm the effects of magnesium supplementation on blood pressure.
A 2016 meta-analysis (an analysis of a collection of studies) also supported that magnesium supplementation also decreased blood pressure—with a relationship between higher magnesium levels in the blood and lower DBP.
In a combined systematic review and meta-analysis, magnesium supplementation reduced SBP by 3–4 mm Hg and DBP by 2–3 mm Hg.
While this reduction in blood pressure is more pronounced with higher daily magnesium doses, additional clinical trials are still needed.
A clinical trial followed up with a large group of study participants for an average of 12 years. Participants with magnesium levels in the upper range of normal had a lower risk of sudden cardiac death (SCD). This was compared to participants with lower magnesium levels.
But interestingly, the amount of magnesium in the diet didn't affect the risk of SCD. In SCD, an abrupt loss of heart function or activity results in death.
Another clinical trial also had a large group of study participants, but all participants were assigned female at birth. The clinical trial followed up with participants for 26 years. The study results showed that participants had a lower risk of SCD with higher dietary magnesium and magnesium blood levels.
In a 2013 systematic review and meta-analysis, higher magnesium levels decreased the risk of heart disease, and the amount of dietary magnesium reduced the likelihood of ischemic heart disease (IHD).
In IHD, narrowed heart blood vessels result in less blood flow to the heart muscle.
In a 2016 study, results suggested that low magnesium levels raise the risk of SCD. Low magnesium levels also increase the likelihood of coronary heart disease death. In CHD, your blood vessels have trouble getting oxygen-rich blood to your heart muscle.
Based on these articles, results are mixed on dietary magnesium or magnesium supplementation for heart disease. Therefore, additional high-quality clinical trials are still necessary.
A 2012 meta-analysis concluded that increasing dietary magnesium to 100 milligrams (mg) daily lowered stroke risk by 8%—particularly ischemic stroke. In ischemic stroke, a clot is in the brain's blood vessels.
While the results are promising, it's difficult to rule out factors—other than increased magnesium in the diet—that may also affect stroke risk.
For this reason, higher-quality clinical trials are necessary to better assess magnesium's effects on stroke.
Multiple meta-analysis articles have shown that increasing magnesium intake, either from foods or supplements, reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes.
But in one meta-analysis from 2011, magnesium was shown to have lowered the risk of type 2 diabetes in people with excess weight—but not in people who were not overweight.
People with excess weight tend to have low magnesium levels compared to the general U.S. population. In people with diabetes, however, there isn't enough evidence that magnesium can improve blood sugar control.
As a result, additional extensive is still necessary to assess magnesium's effects on diabetes.
According to a 2021 review article, several studies showed a link between low magnesium levels and low bone mineral density (BMD), the development of osteoporosis, and high bone fracture (break) risk. BMD measures your bones' strength and thickness (density or mass).
While this result looks promising, further research is warranted to more definitively support magnesium's role in preventing and managing osteoporosis.
A 2013 article in American Family Physician reported findings from a review of studies performed by the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) and American Headache Society (AHS) regarding complementary migraine treatments. The findings suggest magnesium supplements are "probably effective and should be considered for migraine prevention."
A review article supported magnesium supplementation for depression. This review specifically mentioned the use of magnesium glycinate for depression.
Nonetheless, future, higher-quality studies are warranted to back this claim.
While rare, it is possible to have a magnesium deficiency.
You might experience low magnesium levels if you consistently don't get enough magnesium for long periods. Some people may also lose a lot of magnesium from certain health conditions or medications.
Aside from not getting adequate magnesium from foods or supplements, other potential causes of a magnesium deficiency include the following:
Alcohol use disorder (AUD): Because alcohol is a diuretic, increasing the output of urine, some people with AUD cannot retain enough water-soluble minerals, including magnesium. In AUD, you may also have digestive system problems, kidney problems, low phosphate levels, and low vitamin D levels.
Some people with AUD may also experience alcoholic ketoacidosis and hyperaldosteronism. In alcoholic ketoacidosis, your body is breaking down fat for energy, leading to high ketone levels. Too much ketone can make your blood acidic.
In hyperaldosteronism, the adrenal glands on top of your kidneys produce too much aldosterone hormone. In the end, this may result in low magnesium levels.
Diabetes: In people with diabetes, the kidneys tend to make more urine to eliminate the high amounts of sugar. But this process may cause excess magnesium loss through the urine.
Digestive system conditions: People with certain digestive system conditions may have low magnesium absorption or excessive magnesium loss. Either way, this may result in low magnesium levels.
Examples of these digestive system conditions may include inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and celiac disease.
Older adults over age 65: Some older adults get less magnesium from food since, with aging, the gut absorbs less magnesium, and the kidneys remove more.
Some older adults also have health conditions and take medications that affect magnesium levels. For these reasons, older adults are at risk of low magnesium levels.
If you have a magnesium deficiency, short-term symptoms may include:
Long-term or worsening magnesium deficiency symptoms may include:
If you suspect that you're experiencing a magnesium deficiency or if any of your symptoms feel life-threatening, call 911 and get medical help right away.
Magnesium supplements, as with many medications and natural products, may have side effects.
Common side effects of magnesium typically involve the digestive system, which may include:
Severe side effects are possible, especially with large doses of magnesium. Examples of serious side effects include:
If you're having a severe allergic reaction or if any of your symptoms feel life-threatening, call 911 and get medical help right away.
A healthcare provider may advise against magnesium glycinate use if any of the following applies to you:
Severe allergic reaction: Avoid magnesium glycinate if you have a known allergy to it or its ingredients or parts. If you need clarification on whether it's safe, ask a registered dietitian, pharmacist, or healthcare provider for more information.
Pregnancy: There are recommended dietary allowances (RDAs) of magnesium from all sources—like foods and supplements—for breastfeeding people.
The RDA for pregnant people in the following age groups is:
But once you're at least 9 years old, the upper limit (UL), meaning the maximum amount for daily magnesium supplements, is 350 mg—whether pregnant or not.
Contact a healthcare provider to discuss the benefits, risks, and requirements when pregnant.
Breastfeeding: There are RDAs of magnesium from all sources—like foods and supplements—for breastfeeding parents.
The RDA for breastfeeding people in the following age groups is:
But once you're at least 9 years old, the UL for daily magnesium supplements is 350 mg—whether or not you are breastfeeding.
Contact a healthcare provider to discuss the benefits, risks, and requirements when breastfeeding.
Adults over age 65: Some older adults participated in some magnesium-related studies.
Daily magnesium amounts are also recommended from all sources—like foods and supplements—for people older than 50. If you're assigned male at birth, the RDA is 420 mg for this age group. And if you're assigned female at birth, the RDA is 320 mg for this age group.
But once you're at least 9 years old, the UL just magnesium supplements is 350 mg—no matter you're assigned sex at birth.
In general, use magnesium cautiously. Some older adults may have a higher likelihood of high magnesium levels and a higher risk of magnesium-related side effects.
For example, a report of treatment-related complications from high-dose magnesium sulfate intravenous (into the vein) infusions in a 65-year-old person assigned male at birth. Due to high magnesium levels in the blood, this individual had a decline in brain function.
Since some older adults may have a higher likelihood of high magnesium levels, take magnesium glycinate cautiously if you are in this population.
Children: Daily magnesium amounts are recommended from foods and supplements for children of various ages.
But once your child is between 14 and 18, the RDAs slightly change depending on your child's assigned sex at birth. If male, the RDA is 410 mg. And if female, the RDA is 360 mg.Between the ages of 1 and 18, however, there is an upper limit for daily magnesium supplements.
As for between birth and up to 1 year of age, there are no established upper limits for daily magnesium supplements yet.
But magnesium glycinate product labels are unlikely to target infants.
Heart-related conditions: Magnesium may affect your blood pressure and heart rhythm. For this reason, a healthcare provider may want to monitor you and make any necessary medication adjustments closely.
Diabetes: Magnesium may affect your blood sugar, and diabetes may affect your magnesium levels. For these reasons, a healthcare provider may want to monitor you and make any necessary medication adjustments closely.
Digestive system conditions: Digestive system conditions might increase the risk of problems with your magnesium levels.
Therefore, a healthcare provider may want to monitor your magnesium levels and make necessary supplementation adjustments.
Kidney problems: Large amounts of magnesium may worsen kidney problems. If you already have some kidney impairment, you might have a higher risk of side effects from magnesium.
Mood conditions: Magnesium—especially in large amounts—may result in mood changes. For this reason, a healthcare provider may want to monitor your condition and make any necessary medication changes closely.
Osteoporosis: Magnesium may have some effect on your bone health. A healthcare provider may want to monitor you and make any necessary medication changes closely.
Always speak with a healthcare provider before taking a supplement to ensure that the supplement and dosage are appropriate for your individual needs.
RDA is how much vitamin or mineral is needed daily. These RDAs may vary based on age, sex, pregnancy, and breastfeeding status.
However, in clinical trials that studied the potential effects of magnesium, the recommended amounts of magnesium from food sources, supplement dosages, and types varied.
Types of magnesium include:
The different types of magnesium are divided into organic salt of magnesium or inorganic salt of magnesium sources, which are absorbed differently.
As for magnesium's potential effect on blood pressure, the FDA approved a qualified health claim for using magnesium to lower high blood pressure risk. The dosage was a minimum of 84 mg and a maximum of 350 mg for each serving.
Follow a healthcare provider's recommendations or product label instructions if you use magnesium glycinate.
If you take too much magnesium, toxicity is possible.
Generally, the RDA of magnesium from all sources—like foods and supplements—is based on age and sex. This is also the case for daily magnesium supplements' UL.
But once you're older than 8, the UL for daily magnesium supplements is typically 350 mg, the same for everyone.
If you accidentally take too much magnesium glycinate supplement, overdose symptoms are likely similar to magnesium's severe and potential side effects. This may include:
If you think you took too much magnesium or you suspect you are experiencing life-threatening side effects, seek immediate medical attention.
Magnesium might interact with the following medications:
It is essential to carefully read a supplement's ingredients list and nutrition facts panel to know which ingredients and how much of each ingredient is included.
Please review this supplement label with your healthcare provider to discuss potential interactions with foods, other supplements, and medications.
Storage instructions may vary for different products. Carefully read the directions and packaging label on the container.
Generally, most medicines' optimal storage condition is in a cool and dry place. You should also keep your medications tightly closed and out of the reach of children and pets, ideally locked in a cabinet or closet.
Discard after one year or as indicated on the packaging. Avoid putting unused and expired products down the drain or in the toilet. Visit the FDA website to learn where and how to discard all unused and expired medications.
You can also find disposal boxes in your area.
Ask a pharmacist or healthcare provider any questions about how to dispose of your medications or natural products.
If you plan to travel You can get familiar with your final destination's regulations with magnesium glycinate. Also, checking with the U.S. Embassy and Consulate might be a helpful resource for you.
Magnesium glycinate has potential uses for heart-related conditions, high blood sugar, osteoporosis, migraines, depression, and magnesium deficiency.
Other similar supplements may include:
Only combine multiple natural products once you first talk with a healthcare provider, pharmacist, or dietitian.
Checking in can help you avoid possible harmful interactions and side effects and ensure you're giving these supplements a fair trial at appropriate doses.
Similar to other forms of magnesium, magnesium glycinate is typically used as a supplement for magnesium deficiency.
But compared to other forms of magnesium, magnesium glycinate is considered an organic salt of magnesium.
Organic magnesium salts have better solubility and bioavailability than inorganic magnesium salts—like magnesium oxide.
Your body will likely absorb magnesium glycinate better than inorganic magnesium salts into your bloodstream.
While both magnesium and manganese are minerals in your body, they're not the exact same type of mineral.
Magnesium glycinate supplements are available in a few different dosage forms—with tablets potentially being the most common.
There are several different sources of magnesium, but nutrition guidelines typically place more importance on food sources to improve the diet.
Although food sources are preferable, there is still a place for supplements for people with nutrient absorption problems. This may happen to people in certain age groups or with certain medical conditions.
Magnesium is widely available in various foods and beverages. Pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, and almonds are rich sources of magnesium. And food with fiber—like leafy green vegetables—typically contains magnesium. Some foods—like cereal—may also be fortified with magnesium.
Magnesium glycinate is commonly available in tablet form.
Other dosage forms of magnesium glycinate may also include:
Some of these other dosage forms might be in combination with other ingredients. You may also see vegetarian and vegan options.
Your specific product will depend on what you want and what you hope to get about effects. Each product may work a bit differently, depending on the form.
So, following a healthcare provider's recommendations or label directions is essential.
Magnesium glycinate is a type of magnesium supplement. Aside from magnesium deficiency, magnesium supplements have a few potential uses, including heart-related conditions, high blood sugar, bone health, migraines, and depression.
Since more extensive research is needed, you must ensure the diagnosis and treatment of your medical conditions are completed on time.
Before using magnesium glycinate, involve a registered dietitian, pharmacist, or healthcare provider to help you safely achieve your health goals.
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By Ross Phan, PharmD, BCACP, BCGP, BCPSRoss is a writer for Verywell with years of experience practicing pharmacy in various settings. She is also a board-certified clinical pharmacist and the founder of Off Script Consults.Active Ingredient(s) Alternate Names(s) Legal Status Suggested Dose Safety Considerations Alcohol use disorder (AUD) Diabetes Digestive system conditions Older adults over age 65 Severe allergic reaction Abnormal heart rhythm Alert or awareness problems Breathing problems Shallow blood pressure Kidney problems Severe back or pelvic pain Severe allergic reaction Pregnancy Breastfeeding Adults over age 65 Children Heart-related conditions Diabetes Digestive system conditions Kidney problems Mood conditions Osteoporosis Antibiotics Bisphosphonates Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) Diuretics (water pills) Other magnesium supplements Chromium Garlic Omega-3 fatty acids Saint-John's-wort Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)