Is magnesium glycinate a better form of magnesium?
If you read our post on magnesium facts and myths, you know there’s a gap between what the science says, and what the marketing would have you believe.
In this post we’ll:
1. Discuss the magnesium glycinate absorption claims;
2. Share important info on a serious ethical issue that’s rocking magnesium glycinate brands (hint: not all “magnesium glycinate” is what it says on the label);
3. Explain why you’ll find magnesium glycinate in some of our new Natural Calm products…even though we’re known for our proprietary magnesium citrate.
Magnesium Glycinate Absorbability Claims
If you’ve heard that magnesium glycinate or bis-glycinate is a more absorbable form, you’re not alone. Many have heard this message and believe it to be true.
If you look to the peer-reviewed research, as did Dr. Jon-Paul Powers in this white paper, you’ll discover that:
- Yes, some forms of magnesium are more absorbable. Organic magnesium salts (like mag citrate) and chelates (including mag glycinate) are more absorbable than inorganic forms of magnesium (like mag oxide).
- Between organic magnesium salts and magnesium chelates, there may be no difference. Both are considered highly-absorbable.
- Magnesium glycinate has never been compared to magnesium citrate in a peer-reviewed study. The indirect evidence suggests the two are comparable, or that magnesium citrate may be more absorbable.
Companies like CanPrev (the company behind ElectroMag and Orange Naturals) continue to publish booklets and papers extolling the higher absorption of magnesium glycinate. They certainly have the budget to persuade…but do they have the science?
Consider CanPrev’s recently released 68-page booklet, “Magnesium a Primer”. In it, they cite a study comparing magnesium citrate with glycinate, to the advantage of glycinate.
Yet, this mystery study wasn’t available on PubMed, the source of all credible research. So, we asked our advisor, Dr. Alison Smith, to find out more. You can read her clear and strong critique of the CanPrev primer in our Science section.
The key takeaways?
- CanPrev makes misleading, unreferenced and even contradictory claims about magnesium glycinate.
- The study cited is contributed by the manufacturer of CanPrev’s magnesium glycinate (Albion Laboratories, Inc.), and there are several problems with this research:
- a) It’s a conflict of interest;
- b) The study has never been published or peer reviewed;
- c) The study method (using a model of an intestinal wall) is considered unreliable;
- d) If the magnesium is from Albion, it may not actually be pure glycinate…but more on that, below.
Some Magnesium Glycinate May Not Really Be Pure Glycinate
Here’s a short story.
The other day, I was in a natural health store and mentioned to the staff that I was from Natural Calm.
“Oh, there’s a lot of drama in the magnesium industry right now,” she said.
I said, “Like what?”
She said that several Canadian brands had been misled by their manufacturer(s). The “pure magnesium glycinate” on their labels, it turns out, was actually mixed with magnesium oxide.
Why might magnesium glycinate companies be adding in magnesium oxide? There are at least 2 plausible reasons.
- Magnesium glycinate doesn’t offer the highest dose of elemental magnesium. To get the numbers up, especially in capsules, it seems, they decided to add magnesium oxide…which would be fine if that ingredient had been disclosed!
- Profits, plain and simple. Magnesium oxide is less expensive to manufacture and magnesium glycinate has a higher market value. That adds up to a fatter margin for manufacturers.
We obtained this letter explaining the situation.
As you can see, the issue is affecting “many” magnesium brands in North America. Most are no doubt ethical brands completely misled by their manufacturer.
I may have kept this intel to myself if it had not been for CanPrev citing the study by their manufacturer, Albion Laboratories. As it turns out, Albion has already been in a class action suit in the US for mislabelling their magnesium glycinate as pure, when in fact it contained (or still contains) magnesium oxide.
So, when Albion Laboratories claims their magnesium glycinate is more absorbable, we’re left with two big questions:
- Is CanPrev really selling pure magnesium glycinate?
- Why would we believe a company that has a track record of unethical behaviour?
Oh, and maybe just one more question. Did CanPrev know about the Albion debacle as far back as 2014? You have to wonder.
If you’ve been buying CanPrev magnesium glycinate, or their offshoot brands, ElectroMag and Orange Naturals, these are questions you should be asking.
Natural Calm Products with Magnesium Glycinate
As you may know, we’re very excited to be launching this month NEW Calmful Sleep – the latest in Natural Vitality products we’ve made available in Canada. Calmful Sleep is specially formulated for extra sleep support.
The knock-out formula contains Natural Calm magnesium citrate, magnesium glycinate, GABA, l-theanine and melatonin.
Magnesium glycinate? Why?
Calmful Sleep is meant to deliver a high dose of magnesium at a single time – before bed. Taking a high dose of magnesium at any one time can have a laxative effect, and this is more true of magnesium citrate than glycinate.
We’re not shy to admit it – many of our biggest fans rely on Natural Calm to stay regular.
But not everyone needs to be more regular. That’s why Natural Vitality is introducing magnesium products that can be taken in a single dose even by the more-than-regular crowd.
Anyone who suffers from constipation may still want to take our regular Natural Calm magnesium citrate, ideally about 12 hours after taking Calmful Sleep.
Notice we didn’t say we’re adding glycinate because of any absorption advantages? If we had, we’d be veering far from what the science proves. Mag glycinate is a good addition to the formula – fair to say – but it’s certainly not magical pixie dust.
In NEW Calmful Sleep, the magnesium citrate levels are considerably higher than the glycinate. That emphasis on citrate will probably continue as Natural Vitality formulates new products.
It’s just too clear from thousands of 5-star reviews that our magnesium citrate works for stress, sleep, pain, heart health and more.
Try it yourself and tell us if we’re wrong!