Magnesium is a crucial mineral that plays a vital role in our overall health. It’s involved in various bodily functions, from muscle contractions to energy production. When it comes to magnesium supplements, magnesium citrate and magnesium glycinate are two popular choices. In this comprehensive guide, we will answer the question “what is the difference in magnesium citrate and glycinate?”

Understanding Magnesium Citrate

Magnesium citrate is a widely used magnesium supplement. Here’s a closer look at its characteristics:

Efficacy in Magnesium Absorption

Magnesium citrate stands out for its superior absorption efficiency, a feature that makes it highly beneficial for individuals grappling with magnesium deficiencies. The molecular structure of magnesium citrate allows it to be easily assimilated into the bloodstream upon ingestion, thereby facilitating a more direct and rapid increase in magnesium levels within the body. This high absorption rate underscores its effectiveness as a dietary supplement, particularly for those whose bodies may not absorb magnesium well from other sources.

Laxative Characteristics and Digestive Health Benefits

Beyond its role in addressing magnesium insufficiency, magnesium citrate is renowned for its potent laxative effects. This property is especially valuable for individuals experiencing constipation, as it helps to draw water into the intestines, encouraging bowel movements and thus aiding in the relief of constipation. For those in search of a dual-action magnesium supplement that not only boosts their magnesium levels but also aids in digestive regularity, magnesium citrate presents itself as an optimal solution.

Guidelines for Optimal Utilization

Given its pronounced laxative action, health professionals often recommend magnesium citrate for short-term application. It is considered an ideal agent for the swift amelioration of constipation or for a quick replenishment of depleted magnesium stores. However, due to the potential for overuse to disrupt normal bowel function, it is generally advised to utilize magnesium citrate judiciously and under the guidance of a healthcare provider.

Bioavailability and Its Importance

Bioavailability is a critical measure of a supplement’s utility, indicating the proportion of the substance that is destined to enter the systemic circulation, thereby becoming available for use by the body. Magnesium citrate boasts a commendable level of bioavailability, which means that a significant percentage of the ingested magnesium is absorbed and utilized by the body’s systems. This high bioavailability contributes to its efficacy as a magnesium supplement, ensuring that the body receives a sufficient amount of the essential mineral to meet its needs.

Possible Side Effects

While generally safe, magnesium citrate may cause loose stools or diarrhea, especially if taken in excess. It’s essential to follow the recommended dosage.

Exploring Magnesium Glycinate

Now, let’s delve into the characteristics of magnesium glycinate:

Absorption Rate

Compared to magnesium citrate, magnesium glycinate has a slower absorption rate. This means it is less likely to cause digestive discomfort in some individuals.

Gentle on the Stomach

One of the key advantages of magnesium glycinate is that it is gentle on the stomach. This makes it an excellent option for individuals who experience digestive issues with other forms of magnesium.

Recommended Use

Magnesium glycinate is often recommended for long-term use. It’s suitable for individuals looking to maintain healthy magnesium levels without the risk of digestive upset.


While magnesium glycinate may have a slightly lower bioavailability compared to magnesium citrate, it is still an effective source of magnesium.

Possible Side Effects

Magnesium glycinate is generally well-tolerated, and side effects are rare. It’s a suitable choice for those with sensitive stomachs.

Comparing the Two

Now that we’ve explored the individual characteristics of magnesium citrate and glycinate, let’s compare them directly:

Absorption Speed

  • Magnesium Citrate: Rapid absorption
  • Magnesium Glycinate: Slower absorption

Laxative Properties

  • Magnesium Citrate: Has notable laxative properties
  • Magnesium Glycinate: Gentle on the stomach, no laxative effects

Recommended Use

  • Magnesium Citrate: Short-term use, ideal for addressing constipation and deficiencies
  • Magnesium Glycinate: Suitable for long-term use, great for maintaining magnesium levels


  • Magnesium Citrate: High bioavailability
  • Magnesium Glycinate: Slightly lower bioavailability

Possible Side Effects

  • Magnesium Citrate: Potential for loose stools or diarrhea
  • Magnesium Glycinate: Generally well-tolerated with rare side effects

These distinctions are crucial in determining which magnesium supplement aligns with your specific needs and preferences.


Is one form of magnesium better than the other?

No, neither form is inherently better than the other. The choice between magnesium citrate and glycinate depends on your individual needs and tolerance.

Can I switch between magnesium citrate and glycinate?

Yes, you can switch between the two forms as needed. For example, you might use magnesium citrate for a quick magnesium boost and switch to magnesium glycinate for long-term maintenance.

Are there any side effects associated with these supplements?

Both magnesium citrate and glycinate are generally well-tolerated. However, excessive consumption of magnesium supplements can lead to diarrhea and gastrointestinal discomfort.

What’s the ideal dosage for these supplements?

Dosage varies depending on individual needs and the specific product. It’s advisable to follow the recommended dosage on the product label or consult a healthcare professional for guidance.

Can magnesium supplements interact with medications?

Yes, magnesium supplements can interact with certain medications. It’s essential to consult with a healthcare provider to ensure there are no potential interactions.

Are there dietary sources of magnesium?

Yes, magnesium is naturally present in various foods, including leafy greens, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Incorporating these foods into your diet can contribute to your daily magnesium intake.


In conclusion, understanding the difference between magnesium citrate and glycinate is essential for making an informed choice when selecting a magnesium supplement. Your decision should be based on your specific needs and considerations, such as absorption speed and digestive tolerance. Always consult with a healthcare professional before beginning any new supplement regimen to ensure it aligns with your overall health and wellness goals.