Bisglycinate, Threonate, Citrate or Orotate

By: Jamie Bussin and Andrea Donsky (RHN)

On Episode #247 of The Tonic Talk Show/Podcast I interviewed Registered Holistic Nutritionist and health advocate, Andrea Donsky about magnesium. This article is inspired by that conversation.

Supplementation of many vitamins and minerals is recommended because, simply put – we don’t get enough from our diet. Why is that? Part of the reason is soil depletion and farming practices – so our produce simply starts out containing less nutrition than in years past. But also, many of us eat ultra processed foods instead of produce which, of course, has even fewer nutrients. Alcohol, which many Canadians consume serves to further leach nutrients out of our bodies. And, as we age, our body loses some of its ability to absorb nutrients.

For all, or some, of those reasons, if you aren’t already supplementing, your intake of the mineral magnesium is very possibly deficient. There are different ways that your body will tell you if you’re deficient. It might manifest in weak, flaky nails. You might experience muscle spasms, or eye twitches.  Symptoms might also include fatigue, sleep issues, irritability, insomnia, headaches, constipation, bloating, nausea, inflammation, low concentration, and low blood pressure. Even stamina is a symptom of magnesium deficiency because it affects muscle function.

The solution isn’t as simple as “take magnesium” as there are four types of magnesium available in the market and each has different pros and cons:

  1. Magnesium Bisglycinate (aka Glycinate) is the most popular form and it’s a great one to start with. It’s gentle on the stomach and it can help with so many of the aforementioned symptoms. You can also start with a lower dosage and work your way up.
  2. Magnesium Threonate crosses the blood brain barrier. Which means it reaches our brains. Our gut and our brain are connected (through the vagus system). It helps to give us more clarity. It helps with both brain fog and cognition.
  3. Magnesium Citrate is helpful for those who are constipated.  So if you have issues with going to the bathroom on a daily basis or if you’re on certain medications that are constipating you, taking citrate might help.
  4. Magnesium Orotate is really great for heart health because it’s easily stored by the heart muscle. It gets into the cells and for every time the heart muscle contracts, Magnesium Orotate helps it to relax. 

Some more magnesium tips:

  • If you want to start increasing your intake through diet, magnesium-rich foods include green leafy vegetables like kale and spinach and collard greens, avocados, nuts and seeds, bananas, and fatty fish like salmon and mackerel. 
  • The recommended dosage for women is 300 to 350 milligrams and the recommended dosage for men is 400 to 400 milligrams.
  • If you’re thinking of taking magnesium supplements to aid with sleep, Andrea recommends starting with magnesium bisglycinate – which should be taken before you go to sleep.
  • Be sure to read the label before taking magnesium supplements.
  • There may be interactions between magnesium and prescription medications.
  • Always consult your doctor, pharmacist or primary medical caregiver before taking a new supplement such as magnesium.