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Magnesium Threonate vs Glycinate: A Detailed Guide for 2024

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Key Takeaways

  • Magnesium L-threonate and glycinate serve different health purposes, with threonate targeting cognitive function and glycinate promoting relaxation and stress relief.
  • Magnesium is essential for over 300 biochemical reactions in the body, impacting muscle, nerve function, immune health, and more.
  • Glycinate is favoured for improving quality of sleep and managing stress due to its calming effects on the nervous system.
  • L-Threonate, with its ability to cross the blood-brain barrier, is ideal for enhancing cognitive function and memory.
  • Both forms are highly bioavailable, but glycinate is absorbed in the digestive tract while threonate penetrates the brain barrier.
  • Recommended daily dosages range from 200 to 400 mg for glycinate and 1,500 to 2,000 mg for threonate.
  • Other forms of magnesium, including oxide, citrate, chloride, and sulfate, offer unique benefits and uses.
  • Taking magnesium L-threonate and glycinate together is possible, but monitoring intake is crucial to avoid exceeding recommended levels.
  • Both forms can support anxiety relief, with glycinate directly calming the nervous system and threonate indirectly supporting through improved brain health.

If you've scrolled through your TikTok feed lately, you've likely come across viral videos praising magnesium's remarkable benefits. From improved sleep patterns to enhanced mental clarity, magnesium seems to be the wellness community's current favourite.

But with so many forms of magnesium available, from magnesium oxides to various magnesium salts, how do you know which one is right for you? Specifically, the showdown between magnesium threonate and glycinate has sparked curiosity.

This post goes into the key differences and benefits of these popular forms to help you make an informed choice.

Which is Better? Magnesium L-Threonate vs Glycinate

The debate between magnesium L-threonate and glycinate isn't about which one is outright better but rather which one best suits your individual health needs.

Magnesium glycinate is renowned for its calming effects on the body and mind, making it a go-to choice for those looking to alleviate stress and improve sleep.

On the flip side, magnesium threonate is celebrated for its unique ability to cross the blood-brain barrier, offering benefits for cognitive function and memory enhancement. So, the question isn't which one is superior, but which one aligns with your specific health objectives.

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Understanding Magnesium and Its Importance

Magnesium, also known as elemental magnesium, plays a crucial role in over 300 biochemical reactions in the body, highlighting why magnesium is an essential mineral for our health. It plays a critical role in everything from muscle and nerve function to supporting a healthy immune system.

Despite its importance, many of us suffer from low magnesium due to not getting enough of this essential nutrient from our diets. This leads to deficiencies that can affect our overall well-being.

Since magnesium is an essential mineral, its deficiency can have significant impacts on our body. These can manifest as fatigue, muscle cramps, headaches, and even trouble sleeping.

Supplementing with magnesium can help bridge this gap, but with various forms available, choosing the right one can feel overwhelming. This section will lay the foundation for understanding how magnesium threonate and glycinate can be best used for different purposes.

Magnesium Glycinate: The Calming Mineral

Magnesium glycinate, also known as magnesium bisglycinate, is often chosen for its calming properties. This form of magnesium combines magnesium with glycine, an amino acid that acts as a gentle neurotransmitter in your brain, promoting relaxation. It's particularly favoured for its ability to improve sleep quality and manage stress, without the laxative effect that other forms of magnesium might have.

Studies suggest that magnesium glycinate might be particularly helpful in:

  • Reducing stress and anxiety: By calming the nervous system, it can ease feelings of anxiousness and promote a sense of overall well-being.
  • Enhancing sleep quality: Glycine plays a role in regulating sleep cycles, and magnesium itself contributes to muscle relaxation, potentially improving sleep duration and quality.

Magnesium Threonate: The Cognitive Booster

Magnesium threonate or L-threonate is a unique form specifically designed to enhance magnesium's bioavailability. It has a unique capability to penetrate the brain's protective barrier, making it ideal for increasing magnesium levels in the brain. This ability allows it to directly impact cognitive functions, making it a potent option for those looking to enhance memory, focus, and overall brain health. It's derived by combining magnesium with threonic acid, a breakdown product of vitamin C, which facilitates its entry into the brain.

Research suggests that magnesium threonate might be beneficial for:

  • Cognitive function: Studies indicate it may improve memory, learning, and overall cognitive performance.
  • Brain health: Early research suggests potential benefits for brain conditions like Alzheimer's disease, although more robust studies are needed.
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Comparative Analysis: Magnesium Glycinate vs Threonate

When it comes to choosing between magnesium glycinate and magnesium L-threonate, the decision largely depends on your specific health goals. Here's a closer look at how these two forms compare across various aspects:


Both forms are highly bioavailable, but they serve different purposes in the body. Magnesium glycinate is easily absorbed in the digestive tract, making it efficient for addressing magnesium deficiency and its physical symptoms. Magnesium threonate's unique structure allows it to cross the brain barrier, offering targeted cognitive benefits.

For Sleep:

A longitudinal study found that higher magnesium intake was associated with better sleep quality and sleep duration (7–9 hours), particularly among participants without depressive disorders

Magnesium glycinate is often recommended for those seeking to improve their sleep quality. Its calming effect on the nervous system can help ease into a restful night's sleep. Threonate, while beneficial for the brain, doesn't directly promote sleep but may improve sleep quality indirectly through enhanced brain health.

For Anxiety:

A specific study suggests magnesium may play a role in anxiety reduction, indicating its importance in managing symptoms. The study underlines magnesium's significance in various biological processes. These processes could influence anxiety levels, making it a consideration for those seeking natural approaches to anxiety management.

Glycinate's calming properties make it the preferred choice for anxiety relief. It can help to relax the mind and body, reducing feelings of stress and anxiety. Threonate's impact on cognitive functions means it could potentially help manage anxiety by improving brain health, though glycinate is generally more sought after for immediate relaxation.

For Muscle Pain:

For muscle pain, studies have shown that magnesium supplementation can be effective. A study on magnesium sulfate injections for treating muscle trigger points indicated positive outcomes in pain management. While another on magnesium oxide monohydrate highlighted its benefits in reducing nocturnal leg cramps, demonstrating significant improvements in frequency, duration, and pain reduction, leading to better sleep quality.

In the case of magnesium threonate vs glycinate, glycinate may be more beneficial for those with muscle pain, thanks to its muscle-relaxing properties. It may be particularly useful for athletes or anyone dealing with muscle cramps and discomfort.

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For ADHD, integrating magnesium with vitamin D supplementation has shown promising results. In a study, children with ADHD receiving both vitamin D and magnesium supplements exhibited significant improvements in mental health measures. This included reductions in emotional, conduct, and peer problems, compared to those receiving a placebo. This suggests that these supplements could be a beneficial adjunct therapy for improving the symptoms and behavioural functions of children with ADHD.

Threonate's ability to improve cognitive function and attention makes it a compelling option for managing ADHD symptoms. Its effects on brain health could potentially enhance focus and reduce impulsivity over time.

For Hair Loss:

While neither form is directly linked to hair growth, adequate magnesium levels can support overall health, potentially impacting hair health indirectly. Glycinate, with its broader availability and stress-reducing effects, might offer ancillary benefits by reducing stress-related hair loss.

For General Use:

If you're looking for a magnesium supplement to address a broad range of health concerns, including stress, sleep, and muscle health, glycinate is a versatile choice. For those specifically interested in boosting cognitive function and brain health, threonate is your go-to.

Recommended Dosage:

Both magnesium threonate and glycinate come with specific dosage recommendations to maximize benefits while minimizing potential side effects. For magnesium glycinate, a common daily dosage ranges from 200 to 400 mg, adjusted based on individual needs and responses.

Magnesium threonate's recommended dosage typically falls between 1,500 to 2,000 mg per day, translating to about 144 mg of elemental magnesium content. These dosages ensure optimal absorption and effectiveness for each form's targeted benefits.

a man holding his back due to pain, magnesium threonate vs glycinate

Other Forms of Magnesium

Exploring beyond magnesium threonate and glycinate, other types of magnesium include magnesium oxide, commonly used for its laxative properties; magnesium citrate, known for its bioavailability and also used as a laxative; magnesium chloride, which is easily absorbed and used in supplements and topical treatments; and magnesium sulfate, famously known as Epsom salt, used in baths for muscle relaxation.

Each form has unique benefits and uses, making it important to choose based on specific health needs and how well your body tolerates the form.

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FAQs About Magnesium Supplements

Can I take magnesium threonate and glycinate together?

Yes, you can take magnesium threonate and glycinate together, as they serve different health purposes. However, it's important to monitor the amount of magnesium intake to avoid exceeding recommended levels.

Is magnesium glycinate or threonate good for anxiety?

Magnesium glycinate is typically recommended for anxiety due to its calming effects on the nervous system. However, magnesium L threonate can also support anxiety relief indirectly through improved brain health.

Can you take magnesium with zinc?

Yes, magnesium can be taken with zinc. These minerals complement each other and support various bodily functions, including immune system health. Always ensure to follow the dosages recommended by health professionals or on the supplement labels.

Wrapping Up

In wrapping up our exploration of magnesium threonate vs glycinate, it's clear that both forms offer distinct benefits tailored to specific health needs. From improving sleep and reducing anxiety with glycinate to boosting cognitive functions with threonate, understanding these differences empowers you to make informed decisions about supplementation. TikTok has indeed shone a spotlight on magnesium's benefits, underscoring the importance of doing thorough research, especially when it concerns our health.

As wellness tools and products continue to evolve, with a myriad of magnesium brands vying for attention, remember that the best magnesium brands are those that value transparency, uphold stellar reputations, and adhere to rigorous manufacturing practices. Choose wisely to support your health journey with confidence.

Darcy Ogdon-Nolan

Holding a Bachelor Of Science (Hons.) combined with close to a decade now in the health food and wellness industry, I believe I'm uniquely positioned to provide a depth of knowledge and first-hand experience on emerging health products, trends and ideas! From greens powders and medicinal mushrooms through to protein powders and workout nutrition - I'm particularly interested in what modern science can uncover about what human cultures have been using to treat ailments for millennia!

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