Most of us know at least a little bit about the mineral magnesium, which is involved in over 300 bodily processes, including helping produce energy, control muscle and nerve function, and regulate blood sugar levels. Magnesium has also been shown to support heart health and even promote sound sleep and stress management.
Its plethora of benefits have made magnesium a must-have supplement (as has the fact that many people don’t get enough of the mineral through diet alone). But, navigating the different types of magnesium supplements out there can be a little confusing. Between magnesium citrate, magnesium threonate, magnesium glycinate, magnesium oxide, and magnesium sulfate, it’s enough to make anyone’s head spin.
For this article, we’ll specifically zero in on magnesium glycinate, which has been blowing up on social media recently due to glowing testimonials about the sleep and stress support it offers. If you’ve heard the buzz and are curious to try the trend, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind when incorporating magnesium glycinate into your wellness routine.
What Exactly Is magnesium glycinate?
Magnesium glycinate is one type of magnesium supplement that’s made by combining magnesium with the amino acid glycine, explains naturopathic doctor and nutritionist David Friedman, N.D., D.C. “Glycine is known to have calming and relaxing properties, which can help promote a sense of relaxation and improve sleep quality,” he says.
Magnesium glycinate is gentle on the stomach, unlike some other forms, and highly absorbable. “The glycine helps chelate the magnesium, meaning that it binds to the magnesium and makes it easier for the body to absorb it,” says Friedman.
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The do’s and don’ts of taking magnesium glycinate
In order to reap the best results from supplementing with magnesium glycinate, consider the following expert guidance.
Do: Start with a low dose
Since everyone responds to magnesium supplementation a little differently, Friedman recommends starting with a conservative dose of 200 milligrams. From there, pay attention to your body’s response and gradually increase as needed. “Some individuals may find that a lower dosage is sufficient, while others may require a higher dosage to achieve the desired effects,” he says.
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If you don’t experience the benefits you’re looking for after a week, increase your total daily intake by 50 to 100 milligrams, suggests Friedman. After a week at that amount, you can decide to increase again and repeat the process until you reach a max total of around 400 milligrams per day.
Don’t: Exceed recommended dosages
While magnesium glycinate is generally well-tolerated, exceeding the recommended daily dosage on your supplement could spell trouble, urges Friedman. “Doses higher than 400 to 500 milligrams can lead to potential side effects such as diarrhea, nausea, or gastrointestinal discomfort,” he warns. Better safe than sorry, particularly if you have a sensitive system.
Do: Divide your doses For Stress Support
If your main motivator for supplementing with magnesium glycinate is stress support, Friedman recommends taking it in divided doses with food throughout the day to support maximal absorption and maintain a steady supply of magnesium into the body. For instance, if you’re taking a total of 300 milligrams per day, split it into 100 milligram doses at breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Don’t: Neglect dietary sources of magnesium
Though supplementing with magnesium glycinate can be profoundly helpful, particularly for those experiencing issues with stress and sleep, it shouldn’t mean you give up on getting magnesium from food, too. Thankfully, many foods provide magnesium! To ensure your diet is balanced, include magnesium-rich foods like leafy green vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, and whole grains, even when supplementing, says Friedman. “This helps to support overall nutrient intake and provides a broader range of essential nutrients beyond magnesium alone,” he notes.
Do: Stay consistent with your use
To truly experience the benefits of magnesium glycinate, it’s important to be consistent with your use. The time it takes to notice significant benefits can vary depending on several factors, including individual physiology, the specific health concern being addressed, and the amount taken, says Friedman.
“In some cases, individuals may start to experience certain benefits within a couple of days or weeks,” he says. “For example, if someone is taking magnesium glycinate to address sleep issues, they might notice improvements relatively quickly. However, for other health concerns, like stress management, it may take several weeks or even months of regular use to see truly marked improvements.” Though it’s understandable to crave instant results, you’ve got to give magnesium some time to work its magic. Hang in there!
Don’t: Combine it with Certain medications
If you double up on supplements and/or medications that have a relaxing effect on the body, their synergistic effects could leave you feeling completely zonked, according to naturopathic doctor Judith Thompson, N.D. She recommends working with a healthcare provider if your wellness routine involves more than just magnesium. “We tend to think that more is better, but in the case of mixing nutrients and prescription drugs, that’s not always the case,” she says. “Too much is too much.”
Do: Take it at night if sleep is Your top priority
If your main goal in supplementing with magnesium glycinate is to support a good night’s sleep, Thompson says to take it at night, one hour before bedtime. This can assist with both falling asleep faster and sleeping more soundly.
Don’t: Rely solely on supplementation
While magnesium glycinate can help manage stress and promote sleep, it’s important to also incorporate other relaxation techniques into your day, such as deep breathing exercises or meditation, and to establish a healthy bedtime routine. “Creating a conducive sleep environment, reducing exposure to electronic devices before bed, and managing stress through lifestyle changes are also valuable strategies to consider in conjunction with magnesium glycinate supplementation,” says Friedman. This guide to getting started with meditation can help it feel less intimidating, while these self-care rituals can offer support without costing a dime.