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food sources of magnesium lined up on table

What are the benefits of taking magnesium glycinate?

14 Oct 2022 • 2 min read

You’ve probably heard of magnesium but what about magnesium glycinate? What is it, and what does it do?

We’ve dedicated this article to provide an overview of magnesium glycinate.

By the time you’ve reached the end, any queries you had about it will hopefully have been answered.

What is magnesium glycinate?

It’s a form of magnesium. So, for instance, you can get magnesium sulphate, which is usually taken via injection or IV for extreme magnesium deficiencies. You can also soak in it, as this form of magnesium is used to make Epsom salts.1

Magnesium citrate can help improve digestion; magnesium oxide can help with heartburn, and magnesium chloride can potentially soothe skin issues.2 Magnesium hydroxide (Milk of Magnesia) can help with constipation.1

Magnesium glycinate (also known as magnesium bisglycinate or magnesium diglycinate) is a type of organic magnesium salt or amino acid chelate that’s created by combining inorganic magnesium with an amino acid called glycine.

Glycine is the smallest amino acid. It happens to be so small it can squeeze through the tiniest spaces. It plays a significant role in collagen and elastin formation, as well as bile acid function, and acts as a neurotransmitter in the central nervous system.3

Being deficient in glycine may result in growth impairment and immune and nervous system problems.4


Magnesium glycine is one of several magnesium ‘salts’ made up of inorganic magnesium and an amino acid called glycine.

What are the benefits of taking magnesium glycinate?

So, we know by now there are various forms of magnesium, all with their own properties. But what are the top magnesium glycinate benefits? 5

1. It may boost memory

Studies have found that magnesium glycinate can help lessen daytime sleepiness and enhance memory. One piece of research found that taking 125 to 300mg of magnesium glycinate daily helped with short-term memory and IQ.6,7

2. It may help with blood pressure

Magnesium can reportedly have a positive impact on blood pressure amongst people who are deficient in magnesium.8 According to one study in particular, ‘after magnesium supplementation, systolic and diastolic pressures significantly improved.’9

3. It may help with blood sugar levels

Research has shown that eating a magnesium-rich diet s. This is because magnesium helps break down sugar, which in turn decreases insulin resistance.10

4. It may help with bone health

Magnesium plays a key role in bone formation and directly influences parathyroid hormone and Vitamin D levels, which are linked to healthy bone formation.11 This means that having an adequate intake of magnesium is useful for supporting healthy bones.

5. It may help with headaches and migraines

Magnesium deficiencies have been connected to migraine headaches. Studies have found taking magnesium supplements can be beneficial for some migraine sufferers.12

6. It may help with leg cramps

Research has found that magnesium glycinate can help ease pregnancy-induced leg cramps. According to one study, in which 80 pregnant women took 300mg of magnesium glycinate a day, the frequency of cramping, as well as the intensity of leg cramping, reduced by 50%.13

7. It may help with PMS

Research like the study mentioned immediately above has shown that taking magnesium glycinate (250mg a day) helps manage PMS symptoms.14 Magnesium is believed to be effective at helping lower prostaglandins and easing menstrual cramps. It is also necessary for oestrogen detoxification, which is why it can help ease PMS.


Magnesium glycinate alone can potentially benefit the body in so many ways, ranging from easing PMS symptoms, leg cramps, headaches and migraines, to helping with bone health, blood sugar levels and boosting concentration and memory.

What does magnesium glycinate do?

Magnesium supplements can help people who are deficient in it up their levels. Magnesium deficiency is one of the more common deficiencies, with half of the total population in the US being deficient in this mineral.15

Around 60% of the magnesium that’s found in the human body is within your bones. The rest is in your body tissues and around 1% is in your blood.16

Magnesium is essential in the human body for:17

  • Turning the food we eat into energy
  • Making sure our parathyroid glands, which produce hormones important for bone health, work properly

According to the NHS, the recommended daily allowance is:

  • 300mg a day for men (19 to 64 years)
  • 270mg a day for women (19 to 64 years)

Magnesium can be found in food such as spinach, wholemeal bread and nuts.

What’s the difference between magnesium and magnesium glycinate?

As we touched upon earlier, magnesium glycinate is actually just a type of magnesium.

Magnesium glycinate is classed as the organic magnesium salt of glycine, which is made when combined with inorganic magnesium salts. But when we refer to magnesium more generally (i.e., magnesium supplements), we’re often talking about magnesium oxide or Milk of Magnesia, which is classed as inorganic.18

While pure magnesium oxide supplements contain more magnesium, studies have shown that it may not be absorbed by the body as well as magnesium glycinate.19,20

Magnesium and vitamin D

Low magnesium levels can also make vitamin D inefficient in our bodies. This is because vitamin D cannot be metabolised without sufficient magnesium levels. One study found that patients with optimum magnesium levels required less vitamin D supplementation to achieve sufficient levels. Deficiency in either magnesium or vitamin D is associated with disorders including skeletal deformities, cardiovascular diseases and metabolic syndrome.15


Magnesium glycinate helps our bodies to function properly, particularly when it comes to making sure we have enough energy, and our bones are healthy. One of the ways we can boost our magnesium is through our diet, with good food sources, including flaxseed, tofu, and almonds.

What are the best magnesium glycinate supplements

If you’re interested in trying some magnesium glycinate supplements, it’s worth considering a few factors before you choose one. This includes:

  • The format – if tablets aren’t your thing, why not try some magnesium glycinate powder?
  • The strength – if you’re just starting out with taking magnesium, you may want to try a lower dose first
  • Added ingredients – do you want to take magnesium with added zinc, calcium or vitamin D?
  • Lifestyle factors – if you’re vegan or coeliac, ensure you get the supplements that fit in with your needs

What magnesium glycinate side effects can happen after having too much?

Excessive magnesium levels can lead to stomach upsets, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea, because almost all forms of magnesium can have a laxative effect.1

Too much magnesium can also lead to low blood pressure, drowsiness, muscle weakness, slow breathing, and possibly even death in some circumstances.

If you have kidney disease, you should not take magnesium unless instructed to do so by a medical professional. Magnesium can also interact with certain medications, such as blood thinning and anti-diabetes medication, and should be taken at least two hours apart from these medications.

Does magnesium glycinate help you poop?

As we’ve just mentioned up above, the one thing that most forms of magnesium have in common, is they can have a bit of a laxative effect.21

This is because magnesium draws water into the intestines. The increase in water stimulates bowel motility. It also softens and increases the size of the stool, triggering a bowel movement and helping to make stools easier to pass.

The final say

Magnesium glycinate is just one form of the mineral, magnesium, which plays an essential role in the human body. Not only is it key for turning the food we eat into energy, but it’s an important contributor to bone health. There are more specific benefits linked to this type of magnesium, which include helping with blood sugar and blood pressure levels and boosting memory, to name but a few.

Last updated: 14 October 2022


  1. https://www.consumerlab.com/answers/what-are-the-side-effects-of-magnesium-supplements/magnesium-side-effects/
  2. https://www.wellandgood.com/types-of-magnesium-supplements/
  3. https://naturalcalm.ca/about-magnesium-glycinate-glycine/
  4. https://rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/argininie-glycine-amidinotransferase-deficiency/
  5. https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/magnesium-glycinate
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23853635
  7.  http://www.medicinabiomolecular.com.br/biblioteca/pdfs/Doencas/do-1848.pdf
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27402922
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5986461/
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17645588?dopt=Abstract
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19968914?dopt=Abstract
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19271946
  13. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1740-8709.2012.00440.x
  14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3208934/
  15. https://www.pharmacytimes.com/news/study-half-of-all-americans-are-magnesium-deficient
  16. https://www.health.com/nutrition/13-foods-that-are-high-in-magnesium?slide=95a5917d-833a-4e39-bc65-93f91408a51f#95a5917d-833a-4e39-bc65-93f91408a51f
  17. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/others/
  18. https://rootfunctionalmedicine.com/magnesium-citrate-vs-magnesium-glycinate
  19. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6683096/
  20.  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30761462/
  21. https://www.verywellhealth.com/magnesium-for-constipation-and-ibsc-1944780#:~:text=Stool%20Softener%3A%20Magnesium%20draws%20water,make%20stools%20easier%20to%20pass.

Donia Hilal



Joined Holland & Barrett: January 2018

Bsc in Nutrition, Registered Associate Nutritionist and Certification in Pre and Post Natal Nutrition

Donia started her career as a freelance nutritionist, later she joined Nestle as their Market Nutritionist to help support their healthier product range, before joining the team at Holland & Barrett in January 2018.

Donia has over 6 years experience as a Nutritionist and also works with clients on a one to one basis to support their goals which include weight loss, prenatal and postnatal nutrition and children’s health.

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