Magnesium Citrate Vs Glycinate: 5 Key Differences And Benefits

Last updated on April 15th, 2024 at 10:42 pm

While there are numerous types of magnesium available on the market, not all of them offer the same targeted health benefits. This can make shopping for supplements confusing, as you may wonder which form best suits your needs.

Magnesium is one of the most common minerals in the human body, playing a role in over 300 metabolic reactions. These include blood pressure regulation, energy production, and protein formation.

The typical Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for magnesium are:

14–18 years410 mg360 mg
19–30 years400 mg310 mg
31+ years420 mg320 mg

Many people in the United States don’t get enough magnesium from their diets, making supplementation necessary to address potential deficiencies. Low levels of the mineral can result in:

  • Decreased appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Abnormal heart rhythms 
  • Seizures

Two commonly encountered forms, magnesium citrate and glycinate, have gained popularity among health enthusiasts for their distinct properties and benefits

Keep reading to discover some key differences between them, along with some advantages, to help you make an informed decision about which magnesium supplement, be it citrate or glycinate, aligns best with your individual health goals.

Whether you’re seeking relief from digestive issues, aiming to enhance your sleep quality, or address specific health concerns, understanding these distinctions is vital to make the best choices on your quest towards optimal health.

1. Magnesium Citrate Has a Higher Bioavailability Than Magnesium Glycinate

A crucial factor you must consider when choosing a magnesium supplement is its bioavailability—the extent to which the body can absorb and utilize the mineral present in the product.

Magnesium citrate stands out for its higher bioavailability compared to magnesium glycinate, with studies showing that the form is very easily absorbed in the digestive tract(1).

This characteristic is attributed to magnesium citrate’s chemical structure, which includes citric acid. The presence of this compound enhances solubility and facilitates the absorption of the mineral in the small intestine.

As a result, magnesium citrate is often recommended by healthcare practitioners to individuals looking to rapidly increase their magnesium levels or address deficiencies efficiently.

While magnesium glycinate is still a well-absorbed form of magnesium, it tends to be absorbed at a slightly slower rate

This may be advantageous for individuals who are sensitive to changes in their digestive systems, as it reduces the likelihood of gastrointestinal upset.

2. Magnesium Citrate and Glycinate Have Different Gastrointestinal Effects

It’s crucial to understand the gastrointestinal effects of your supplements to ensure both efficacy and comfort. Magnesium citrate and glycinate both have distinct impacts on the digestive system.

Magnesium citrate is well-known for its ability to draw water into the intestines, making it a popular choice among those seeking relief from constipation(2). This osmotic effect softens the stool and stimulates bowel movements, which is beneficial for relief from irregularity.

However, the laxative effects of magnesium citrate may lead to diarrhea, especially when consumed in higher doses. It’s therefore advisable to start with lower amounts and adjust it based on individual tolerances.

By contrast, magnesium glycinate is recognized for being gentle on the stomach. The glycine component, an amino acid, is believed to have a calming effect on the digestive system(3).

This makes magnesium glycinate a preferred choice for individuals with a sensitive stomach. Read more about the best magnesium glycinate supplement if you want magnesium that’s easy on the gut.

3. Magnesium Citrate and Glycinate Treat Different Health Conditions

Magnesium citrate and magnesium glycinate offer unique therapeutic benefits that make them suitable for addressing distinct health conditions.

One of the standout features of magnesium citrate is its efficacy in alleviating constipation and promoting bowel regularity. Due to its osmotic effect, the supplement pulls water into the intestines, softening the stool and facilitating easier passage.

This makes magnesium citrate the preferred choice for individuals struggling with constipation or those in need of a gentle, yet effective, laxative.

Magnesium citrate has also been explored for its potential in kidney stone prevention. The increased solubility of the mineral in urine may help to inhibit the formation of certain types of stones(4).

Pure Encapsulation Magnesium Citrate is our top supplement choice. The product stands out for its high-quality formation, ensuring the purity and bioavailability of magnesium citrate. 

Manufactured without unnecessary additives or allergens, the supplement meets stringent quality standards.

Sharleen W. enjoys the purity of the product, while finding that it is effective in keeping her regular:

Health enthusiasts choose magnesium glycinate for its calming effects on the nervous system

The glycine component, an amino acid with relaxing properties, could contribute to the supplement’s potential in reducing anxiety and promoting better sleep quality(5). This makes magnesium glycinate an attractive option for easing stress-related conditions.

Magnesium glycinate also has anti-inflammatory properties, and may contribute to reducing inflammation in the body. These effects are beneficial for individuals dealing with conditions like arthritis or inflammatory bowel diseases.

4. Magnesium Citrate May Help Manage Acid Reflux and Support Esophageal Health

Acid reflux and heartburn, collectively known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), can be uncomfortable and disruptive to daily life. Magnesium citrate has shown promise in providing relief from these digestive issues.

The supplement’s potential to manage GERD lies in its ability to neutralize stomach acid. 

As an alkaline substance, magnesium citrate can help counteract acidity in the stomach, reducing the likelihood of acid backing up into the esophagus. This process may alleviate the burning sensation and discomfort associated with reflux disease.

By reducing the frequency and severity of acid reflux episodes, magnesium citrate may contribute to the overall health of the esophagus by supporting the integrity of its lining.

Additionally, the supplement may also promote proper muscle function, including the muscles that control the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), which prevents stomach acid from flowing back into the esophagus. This mechanism further aids in reducing the occurrence of heartburn.

Important note: While magnesium citrate can provide some temporary relief from acid reflux, it may not address the underlying causes of the issue. If you experience persistent or severe symptoms, it’s best to consult your doctor for a proper diagnosis.

5. Magnesium Glycinate Could Aid Muscle Function

Muscle health is fundamental to our overall well-being, influencing everything from daily activities to athletic performance. Magnesium glycinate is a promising supplement for supporting muscle function and addressing various muscular concerns.

Magnesium is an essential mineral that plays a key role in muscle function. When combined with glycine, the supplement not only provides magnesium but also introduces the calming and relaxing properties associated with glycine.

Regularly taking magnesium glycinate may contribute to reducing muscle stiffness and optimizing muscle function(6). By replenishing magnesium levels, it supports energy production within the muscle cells, enabling them to recover and rebuild.

Thanks to its muscle-relaxing properties, magnesium glycinate also offers effective relief from muscle cramps. 

The supplement works to regulate the balance of calcium and magnesium ions within the muscle cells, which is crucial for preventing involuntary contractions, significantly reducing the risk of cramping.

Magnesium glycinate plays a vital role in promoting muscle tissue repair. This is achieved through its support of protein synthesis, facilitating the efficient replacement of damaged muscle fibers.

By replenishing magnesium levels, it also aids in the energy production necessary for effective muscle tissue repair. Additionally, magnesium glycinate provides valuable anti-inflammatory effects, further contributing to faster muscle healing and recovery. 

An excellent supplement for those seeking to boost their muscle health is NutriDyn Magnesium Glycinate.

Its updated formula contains added malic acid to further support muscular well-being, enhance athletic performance, and support post-exercise recovery.

Paula A. finds that regularly taking the supplement works to ease the cramping in her legs:

Choose Your Magnesium Ally

Both magnesium citrate and magnesium glycinate offer unique benefits, and understanding their differences empowers you to make an informed choice between them.

Remember, magnesium isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Factors such as digestive sensitivity, health conditions, and personal preferences play crucial roles in determining which magnesium ally suits you best.

Feel free to reach out to us with any further questions, or for clarifications and personalized guidance on incorporating magnesium citrate or glycinate into your wellness routine. We’re here to support you on your journey to better health.









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Medically reviewed by Dr. Jamy Antoine, D.C. — by Chris Bowman — On March 14, 2024


Chris Bowman

Chris Bowman is the CEO and Co-Founder of and has over 15 years of experience in nutritional sciences and wellness. Simply Nutrients is a part of Dr. Jamy Antoine's Select Health Practice in Edina, Minnesota. Chris is passionate about helping people live healthier lives by using the best practices of nature, nutrition, and medicine.