Magnesium Glycinate vs L-Threonate vs Taurate: What’s The Difference?

Written by Angie Arriesgado
featured image for article comparing magnesium glycinate vs l-threonate vs taurate

Magnesium is an important dietary mineral involved in more than 600 biochemical processes in the body (1). Magnesium boosts our energy and immunity, lowers inflammation and anxiety, improves brain and heart health, supports joint and bone health, and so much more (2-7). There’s just one BIG problem… far too many people are magnesium deficient! With so many magnesium supplements out there, which is truly the “best” one that can help fix this problem?

Today, let’s discuss the 3 forms of magnesium found in our bestselling product, MagEnhance Complete Magnesium Complex. Read on to know more about Magnesium Glycinate, Magnesium L-Threonate, and Magnesium Taurate, and how these three can help support your health!

What’s the right magnesium dosage?

Here’s a table outlining the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for magnesium, depending on age and gender (3).  

AgeMaleFemalePregnancyLactation
0 to 6 months30mg30mg  
7-12 months75mg75mg  
1-3 years80mg80mg  
4-8 years130mg130mg  
9-13 years240mg240mg  
14-18 years410mg360mg400mg360mg
19-30 years400mg310mg350mg310mg
31-50 years420mg320mg360mg320mg
51 and above420mg320mg  

Why are so many people deficient in magnesium?

In the United States alone, as much as half of the population is said to be magnesium deficient. This is partly due to highly processed foods, which is prevalent in Western diets (8). But it’s not just poor diet that’s to blame. The stress and pollution of modern life also leach magnesium from the body. Even more worryingly, there are reasons for this widespread deficiency that’s beyond most people’s control.

According to a 2009 research published in HortScience, fruits and veggies have less magnesium nowadays compared to a few decades ago. This is because modern agricultural techniques fast-track the production of higher-yielding crops in less time. Less time in the ground means less time absorbing important nutrients like magnesium (9). Additionally, this vital mineral is also taken out of our salt and drinking water, thus contributing to the problem as well.

why do so many people have magnesium deficiency

What’s the best magnesium supplement for overall health?

Choosing the best magnesium supplement on your own can prove to be challenging – there are so many forms of magnesium to choose from! Is magnesium glycinate the best one? Or is it magnesium citrate, oxide, ascorbate, orotate, threonate, taurate, or something else? The list goes on and on!

When choosing the best form of magnesium for your needs, it’s important to factor in a couple of points:

  • Is it bioavailable?
  • How much elemental magnesium does it contain?

Determining the magnesium supplement’s bioavailability is important because if this mineral isn’t being absorbed and used, then it’s nothing more than expensive waste! Specifically, inorganic salts of magnesium (such as magnesium oxide) have poor bioavailability compared to organic salts like magnesium glycinate (10). 

On the other hand, elemental magnesium (Mg) refers to the actual amount of magnesium available in the supplement. Since magnesium is highly unstable, it needs to be combined with another molecule to make it stable, hence, the variety of magnesium supplements available.

For example, magnesium oxide has a relatively higher elemental magnesium content at 60.5% but it’s also very poorly absorbed. Meanwhile, magnesium glycinate only contains 14.1% elemental Mg. But because it has better bioavailability, more magnesium ends up being used by the body!

This is where our MagEnhance Magnesium supplement shines. We’ve formulated it to contain 3 of the most bioavailable and effective forms – Magnesium Glycinate, Magnesium Taurate, and Magnesium L-Threonate.

Let’s discuss each MagEnhance ingredient in detail!

MagEnhance Ingredient #1: Magnesium Glycinate

Magnesium Glycinate at a glance (11):

  • Other names: Magnesium Bisglycinate, Magnesium Diglycinate
  • Parent compound: Glycine (an amino acid)
  • Component compound: Magnesium and Glycine
  • Chemical formula: C4H8MgN2O4
  • Molecular weight: 172.42 g/mol
  • Elemental magnesium: 14.1%
  • Chemical structure:
chemical structure of magnesium glycinate
  • Each 3-serving capsule of MagEnhance contains 690mg of Magnesium Glycinate (23% DV)

What are the benefits of Magnesium Glycinate?

Magnesium Glycinate is an orally available magnesium salt of glycine. Bonding or chelating magnesium with glycine significantly improves its bioavailability, making this form highly effective at increasing body magnesium levels.

Its superior bioavailability was demonstrated in a study published on the FASEB journal. Bariatric surgery patients who took 400mg of Magnesium Glycinate for 6 weeks observed an improvement in their plasma magnesium levels, but those who took the not-so-absorbable Magnesium Oxide did not get the same result. The same study also reported that Magnesium Glycinate helped raise blood potassium levels in physically active young people, meaning magnesium is actively retaining and distributing potassium in the body. Also, unlike other magnesium supplements, Magnesium Glycinate is gentle on the stomach (12).

So, what happens when the body absorbs Magnesium Glycinate? Well, the magnesium and glycine molecules separate. They then go on to perform their individual functions.  

As mentioned earlier, magnesium is involved in hundreds of biochemical processes, including DNA and RNA synthesis, cellular repair, and more (1-7). On the other hand, glycine’s functions include enhancing sleep quality as well as various neurological functions. Research also shows that glycine may have a role in preventing and treating metabolic disorders in patients suffering from obesity, diabetes, cancer, chronic inflammation, and cardiovascular disease (13).

Are there any downsides to taking Magnesium Glycinate?

Not really. But there’s a reason why we added two more forms of magnesium in MagEnhance. Magnesium Glycinate can indeed raise body magnesium levels. But unfortunately, it DOES NOT cross the blood-brain barrier, which brings us to the next form on our ingredients list, Magnesium L-Threonate.  

magnesium block

MagEnhance Ingredient #2: Magnesium L-Threonate

Magnesium L-Threonate at a glance (14):

  • Patented name: Magtein®
  • Other name: L-Threonic Acid Magnesium Salt (L-TAMS)
  • Parent compound: L-Threonic acid
  • Component compound: Magnesium and L-Threonic acid
  • Chemical formula: C8H14MgO10
  • Molecular weight: 294.5 g/mol
  • Elemental magnesium: 8.3%
  • Chemical structure:
chemical structure of magnesium l-threonate
  • Each 3-serving capsule of MagEnhance contains 1,000mg of Magtein® Magnesium L-Threonate (20% DV)

What are the benefits of Magnesium L-Threonate?

Dubbed the “brain magnesium,” Magnesium L-Threonate is another highly absorbable form of magnesium. The magnesium molecule is bonded or chelated with Threonic acid, a sugar compound derived from ascorbic acid or Vitamin C.

This form of magnesium (patented as Magtein®) was developed by scientists at MIT, Stanford University, and Tsinghua University to cross the blood-brain barrier and increase Mg levels in the brain. Other forms of magnesium cannot pass the blood-brain barrier, but Magtein® can bypass this protective membrane. More magnesium in the brain means a boost in brain plasticity, which allows for better connections between neurons in our brain (15).  

A 2016 study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease gave older subjects (age 50-70) with mild cognitive impairment either Magnesium L-Threonate or placebo. After 12 weeks, the researchers reported these remarkable outcomes (16):

  • The average brain age of the magnesium group decreased by about 9 years, while the placebo group had little change.
  • There was a significant reduction in cognitive impairment. More specifically, the magnesium group experienced positive changes in four cognitive areas: attention, working memory, episodic memory, and executive function.
  • Both brain and body magnesium levels increased.
  • When it comes to safety, side effects were only classified as mild.

Are there any downsides to taking Magnesium L-Threonate?

Magnesium L-Threonate may help boost your brainpower and enhance learning and memory, but there is a slight downside to this particular form of magnesium. In the study we’ve quoted above (16), the researchers couldn’t get a definitive conclusion on the effects of Magnesium L-Threonate on sleep and anxiety. So, our team added the next ingredient to fill the gap and round up our MagEnhance Complete Magnesium Complex!

MagEnhance Ingredient #3: Magnesium Taurate

Magnesium Taurate at a glance (17):

  • Other name: Magnesium Ditaurate
  • Parent compound: Taurine (an amino acid)
  • Component compound: Magnesium and Taurine
  • Chemical formula: C4H12MgN2O6S2
  • Molecular weight: 272.6 g/mol
  • Elemental magnesium: 8.9%
  • Chemical structure:
chemical structure of magnesium taurate
  • Each 3-serving capsule of MagEnhance contains 630mg of Magnesium Taurate (13% DV)

What are the benefits of Magnesium Taurate?

Magnesium Taurate is formed by combining the amino acid taurine with magnesium. But unlike other amino acids, taurine is not used in protein synthesis. Instead, it helps regulate many functions in the body, including cell development and protection. Taurine is abundant in different organs throughout the body, such as the brain, retina, muscles, and more (18).

Taurine also acts on GABA receptors in the nervous system (19), which is the reason behind its nerve-calming and sleep-enhancing effects. Similarly, magnesium also has a strong affinity with GABA receptors, which is why chelating magnesium with taurine makes it a potent relaxing compound, helping ease stress and improving sleep quality (19).

In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study on elderly subjects suffering from insomnia, the researchers found that magnesium helped improved the following (20):

  • Insomnia severity index, sleep time, sleep efficiency, early morning awakening 
  • The concentration of melatonin, serum renin, and serum cortisol 

Another common health benefit between taurine and magnesium is their effect on heart health and blood pressure:

  • A meta-analysis found that taking 300mg of magnesium daily for 30 days helped increase blood magnesium and reduce blood pressure (21). The same effect (a decrease in high blood pressure) was also observed in obese women (22).
  • Likewise, oral taurine supplementation in hypertensive patients helped reduce hypertension symptoms. Diabetic patients also experienced a reversal in arterial stiffness and brachial artery reactivity (23).  

Because of these complementary health benefits, one study recommended that future research be done on Magnesium Taurate’s potential effects on cardiovascular health, diabetes, and insulin sensitivity (24).

Are there any downsides to taking Magnesium Taurate?

Like Magnesium Glycinate, the only downside to Magnesium Taurate is that it cannot cross the blood-brain barrier. Fortunately, Magnesium L-Threonate helps solve that limitation.

updated elemental magnesium in magenhance

How much elemental magnesium is in each serving of MagEnhance?

Each 3-capsule serving of MagEnhance contains 468mg of elemental magnesium. Here is the breakdown:

  • Magnesium Glycinate – 207mg
  • Magnesium L-Threonate – 72mg
  • Magnesium Taurate – 189mg

Final words

The three forms of magnesium found in our Intelligent Labs MagEnhance Complete Magnesium Complex were chosen for their superior bioavailability and outstanding health benefits. To ensure its premium quality, MagEnhance is manufactured at an NSF GMP-certified facility in the USA. We also do not use any artificial fillers or additives. Go check out MagEnhance and let us know in the comments section if it helped you with any health problems!

References

(1) DiNicolantonio JJ, O’Keefe JH, Wilson W. Subclinical magnesium deficiency: a principal driver of cardiovascular disease and a public health crisis. Open Heart. 2018; 5(1): e000668.

(2) Legg TJ. Magnesium for Anxiety: Is It Effective? HealthLine. Reviewed March 20, 2019

(3) “Office of Dietary Supplements – Magnesium.” National Institutes of Health, 2021, ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional.

(4) Mazur A, Maier JA, Rock E, Gueux E, Nowacki W, Rayssiguier Y. Magnesium and the inflammatory response: potential physiopathological implications. Arch Biochem Biophys. 2007; 458(1): 48-56.

(5) Key minerals to help control blood pressure. Harvard Health Letter. Harvard Medical School. 2019

(6) Castiglioni S, Cazzaniga A, Albisetti W, Maier JA. Magnesium and osteoporosis: current state of knowledge and future research directions. Nutrients. 2013; 5(8): 3022-33.

(7) Magnesium. Arthritis Foundation. No date. Retrieved from https://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/treatments/natural/vitamins-minerals/guide/magnesium.php

(8) “Low Magnesium Levels Make Vitamin D Ineffective: Up to 50 Percent of US Population Is Magnesium Deficient.” ScienceDaily, 2018, www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/02/180226122548.htm.

(9) Declining Fruit and Vegetable Nutrient Composition: What Is the Evidence? Donald R. Davis HortScience February 2009 vol. 44 no. 1 15-19

(10) Rylander. “Bioavailability of Magnesium Salts – A Review.” Journal of Pharmacy and Nutrition Sciences, 2014. Crossref, doi:10.6000/1927-5951.2014.04.01.8.

(11) PubChem. “Magnesium Glycinate.” PubChem, 2021, pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/84645.

(12) DiSilvestro, R.A., Joseph, E., Starkoff, B.E. and Devor, S.T. (2013), Magnesium Glycinate Supplementation in Bariatric Surgery Patients and Physically Fit Young Adults. The FASEB Journal, 27: lb291-lb291. https://doi.org/10.1096/fasebj.27.1_supplement.lb291

(13) Razak, Meerza Abdul et al. “Multifarious Beneficial Effect of Nonessential Amino Acid, Glycine: A Review.” Oxidative medicine and cellular longevity vol. 2017 (2017): 1716701. doi:10.1155/2017/1716701

(14) PubChem. “Magnesium L-Threonate.” PubChem, 2021, pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/45489777.

(15) “The Science.” Magtein, 2021, magtein.com/pages/magtein-science.

(16) Liu, Guosong et al. “Efficacy and Safety of MMFS-01, a Synapse Density Enhancer, for Treating Cognitive Impairment in Older Adults: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial.” Journal of Alzheimer’s disease : JAD vol. 49,4 (2016): 971-90. doi:10.3233/JAD-150538

(17) PubChem. “Magnesium Taurate.” PubChem, 2021, pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/13343447.

(18) Ripps, Harris, and Wen Shen. “Review: taurine: a “very essential” amino acid.” Molecular vision vol. 18 (2012): 2673-86.

(19) Ochoa-de la Paz, Lenin, et al. “Taurine and GABA Neurotransmitter Receptors, a Relationship with Therapeutic Potential?” Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics, vol. 19, no. 4, 2019, pp. 289–91. Crossref, doi:10.1080/14737175.2019.1593827.

(20) Abbasi, Behnood et al. “The effect of magnesium supplementation on primary insomnia in elderly: A double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial.” Journal of research in medical sciences : the official journal of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences vol. 17,12 (2012): 1161-9.

(21) Zhang, Xi et al. “Effects of Magnesium Supplementation on Blood Pressure: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Trials.” Hypertension (Dallas, Tex. : 1979) vol. 68,2 (2016): 324-33. doi:10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.116.07664

(21) Choi, Mi-Kyeong, and Yun Jung Bae. “Association of Magnesium Intake with High Blood Pressure in Korean Adults: Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2007-2009.” PloS one vol. 10,6 e0130405. 15 Jun. 2015, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0130405

(23) Abebe, Worku, and Mahmood S Mozaffari. “Role of taurine in the vasculature: an overview of experimental and human studies.” American journal of cardiovascular disease vol. 1,3 (2011): 293-311.

(24) McCarty, M F. “Complementary vascular-protective actions of magnesium and taurine: a rationale for magnesium taurate.” Medical hypotheses vol. 46,2 (1996): 89-100. doi:10.1016/s0306-9877(96)90007-9

Claim 15% Off Your First Order

Enter your email address to receive your 15% discount coupon