Magnesium is one of the most abundant minerals in the human body6. Typically, the adult body contains approximately 25g of magnesium, with 50-60% of it stored in the bones and the rest is stored in muscles and soft tissue, especially those that are the most metabolically active such as the heart, brain, liver and kidneys10. Less than 1% of the body’s total magnesium is found in the blood, which is kept under tight control by the body’s natural buffer system1.
Magnesium is a cofactor of over three hundred enzyme systems in the human body that regulate various biochemical reactions including protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, bone density and strength and cardiovascular health. All enzymatic reactions in the body that require the energy molecule adenosine-triphosphate (ATP) also require magnesium. Magnesium plays an important role in the transport of calcium and potassium across cell membranes, a process that is essential for the proper functioning of nerves, muscle contraction and heart rhythm1, 6.
Magnesium is naturally present in a variety of foods like cacao, leafy green vegetables, soybeans, almonds and brown rice, and approximately 50% of magnesium we obtain through the diet is absorbed by the body1, 6.
There are various forms of magnesium available in supplements. These include magnesium oxide, orotate, glycinate and chelate. Magnesium chelate however is considered to be one of the most absorbable forms of magnesium due to its molecular structure2, 3.
- What does it mean if a supplement is chelated?
- What are the benefits of magnesium chelate?
- Muscle health
- Bone Health
- Cardiovascular health
- Nervous System health
- Protein synthesis
- Is magnesium chelate the same as magnesium glycinate?
- Does magnesium chelate help you sleep?
What does it mean if a supplement is chelated?
Chelated supplements are among the mineral supplements marketed to be better absorbed. The word ‘chelate’ means to create a ring-like complex, allowing a mineral to grab and bond to another. Most chelated formulas use protein molecules like amino acids. Magnesium chelate is an example of this, as the magnesium compound is bound to various amino acids2.
This chelation process protects the mineral from interacting with other compounds that can affect its absorption in the body. Magnesium on its own doesn’t absorb typically well, so when it is bound to a chelating agent like amino acids, its ability to absorb increases and therefore can be more efficiently utilised by the cells3.
What are the benefits of magnesium chelate?
Magnesium chelate, unlike other forms of magnesium, is bound to a group of amino acids to enhance its absorption by the cells of the body2, 3. Because of its enhanced absorption, or bioavailability, it can then support many body processes and functions more efficiently. Magnesium helps to support:
For all types of muscles in the body to contract and relax, magnesium is required. One of the most well-known attributes of magnesium is its ability to reduce muscle cramping, spasms and twitches. Magnesium is a crucial nutrient for normal muscle contraction and relaxation, particularly in smooth muscle. Cramping, twitching and spasms of the muscles are all common symptoms of magnesium deficiency, as too little magnesium in the body results in impaired muscle function4, 10.
Magnesium is involved in the formation of bones and influences the activity of the bone cells, osteoblasts and osteoclasts, to maintain and support bone health and strength. Adequate levels of magnesium in the body is positively correlated with bone mineral density in both men and women, suggesting that magnesium deficiency can be a risk factor for weak and brittle bones1.
Magnesium is also an important element of the metabolism and action of vitamin D, which together are essential for healthy bones. Magnesium is responsible for the conversion of vitamin D into its active form in the body, and in its active form it can then carry out tasks like supporting the strength and density of the bones10. Around 54% of magnesium is stored in the bone matrix which acts as a reservoir and helps to maintain the structure of bones9.
Magnesium is essential for the proper functioning of the entire cardiovascular system. It affects the contraction of the heart muscle through its influence on the electrical activity and calcium concentration of the cells of the heart muscle - while calcium stimulates the heart muscle and contracts blood vessels, magnesium relaxes the heart muscle and dilates the blood vessels6. This is important for normal heart rhythm and heart muscle contraction5.
Nervous System Health
Magnesium plays a crucial role in the functions of the nervous system. During periods of stress, the body utilises its magnesium stores more than usual which increases urinary magnesium excretion, suggesting that magnesium is of importance particularly during times of stress and mild anxiety8.
One of magnesium’s many roles in the body is the synthesis of proteins, including the basic building blocks of life – DNA and RNA. Magnesium is a cofactor for many of the enzymes responsible for the structure of proteins5.
Is magnesium chelate the same as magnesium glycinate?
Magnesium chelate vs magnesium glycinate – many wonder if these forms of magnesium are equally absorbable or if one form is superior to the other.
Magnesium glycinate is a magnesium compound that is bound to two molecules of the amino acid, glycine. Magnesium chelate is bound to not just glycine but multiple amino acids, however it still has the same reaction chemistry as magnesium glycinate2.
Due to the same reaction chemistry between these two forms of magnesium, it is evident that they are very similar in how they absorbed and utilised in the body2, 3.
Does magnesium chelate help you sleep?
To date, there are not many studies specifically on magnesium chelate for sleep. However, studies have shown that magnesium deficiency can contribute to poor quality sleep. Magnesium is generally thought to be helpful for sleep due to its action on the central nervous system and neuromuscular system and can help to reduce sleep latency as well as early morning wakening7, 8.
You can find magnesium chelate in our supplement Magnesium Chelate 1000mg. It is a highly absorbable supplement and gentle on the stomach to help relieve muscle cramps and spasms, support cardiovascular health, support bone health and development and helps in the synthesis of proteins in the body.
- National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements (2019), Magnesium – Health Professional Fact Sheet, cited on 6/11/19, accessed <https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/>
- Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine (2019), Chelated Minerals, sponsored by Cengage, cited on 6/11/19, accessed from <https://www.encyclopedia.com/medicine/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/chelated-minerals>
- Ryan, S.S. (2002), FAQs Minerals & Supplements: Chelated, Atrial Fibrillation Resources for Patients, cited on 6/11/19, accessed from <https://a-fib.com/faqs-minerals-supplements-chelate-what-does-it-mean/>
- Altura, B.M. & Altura, B.T. (2001), Tension headaches and muscle tension: is there a role for magnesium? Medical Hypotheses, 57(6): 705-713
- Swaminathan, R. (2003), Magnesium Metabolism and its Disorders – Review Article, Clin. Biochem. Rev. 24: 47-66
- Reavley, N. (1998), The New Encyclopedia of Vitamins, Minerals, Supplements and Herbs, Chapter: Magnesium, pp. 263-277, Bookman Press
- Tarasov, E. et al. (2015), Magnesium Deficiency and Stress: Issues of their relationship, diagnostic tests and approaches to therapy, Terapevvticheskii Arkhiv, 87(9)
- Boyle, N.B., Lawton, C., Dye, L. (2017), The Effects of Magnesium Supplementation on Subjective Anxiety and Stress – A Systematic Review, Nutrients Open Access Journal, 9(5): 429
- Hecthman, L. (2012), Clinical Naturopathy, Chapter: Nutritional Medicine, pp. 76-78, Churchill Livingstone, Elsevier
- Murray, M.T. (1996), Encyclopedia of Nutritional Supplements, Chapter: Magnesium, pp.159-175, Three Rivers Press