Magnesium Citrate vs Glycinate

Oct 05, 2022 Magnesium 4 MIN

Magnesium Citrate vs Glycinate

Quick Health Scoop

  • The body requires Magnesium, an essential mineral, for more than 300 enzymatic reactions in the body.†
  • Magnesium is available in multiple forms, which can affect how they work in the body and their ease of magnesium absorption.
  • Supplemental magnesium commonly includes Magnesium Glycinate or Magnesium Citrate because they’re better absorbed in the body than other forms like Magnesium Oxide.
  • When it comes to Magnesium Glycinate vs Magnesium Citrate, which one is better depends on your specific health needs.

As the fourth most abundant mineral in the human body, Magnesium is one of the most multifunctional minerals as it plays a key role in over 300 reactions throughout the body. In fact, 50 to 60% of Magnesium is stored in our bones, 1% is found in our blood, and the rest is stored in cells and tissues. [1] Despite Magnesium’s abundance and importance, Magnesium deficiency is common, as 54% (that’s over ½) of the U.S. population consumes less than the required amount of magnesium from food. [1]

Since dietary supplements can help fill in nutrition shortfalls, many people turn to Magnesium supplementation.† But you may not know that Magnesium exists in multiple forms, including the following:

  • Magnesium Citrate
  • Magnesium Oxide
  • Magnesium Chloride
  • Magnesium Lactate
  • Magnesium Malate
  • Magnesium Taurate
  • Magnesium Sulfate
  • Magnesium Glycinate
  • Magnesium Orotate
  • Magnesium Threonate
  • Magnesium Carbonate
  • Magnesium Gluconate

Regardless of form, the magnesium molecule attaches to another molecule, and this can impact how the nutrient works. [2] The form can affect Magnesium’s bioavailability, which means how easy it is for your body to use. 

With so many different forms of this nutrient, let’s look at the difference between two common forms (Magnesium Citrate vs Glycinate) and how they’re absorbed into your body.

What Are The Benefits Of Magnesium?

Since your body can’t naturally produce minerals, you need to get them through your diet. According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, magnesium-rich foods include rice bran, molasses, pumpkin seeds, seaweed, basil, black beans, and almonds.[3]

As a key nutrient vital to good health, Magnesium is an essential mineral required for more than 300 enzymatic reactions in the body. [4]

  • Supports muscle relaxation†

Magnesium works as an electrical conductor, helping to contract and relax muscles and aids in maintaining a normal heart function. [5] 

  • Supports essential muscle, nerve and heart function†

The body needs Magnesium for protein synthesis, muscle, and nerve function. [4]

  • Helps convert food into cellular energy†

In order to produce energy, the body needs Magnesium to help metabolize carbohydrates and fats in the foods you eat. [6]

  • Helps support essential bone and teeth health†

Magnesium contributes to the structural development of bone. [4]

Different Forms: What Is Chelated Magnesium And What Are Its Benefits?

Chelates are minerals that are bound to amino acids to improve the minerals stability and remain neutral in solution. The remaining neutral, mineral chelates reduce the binding of dietary components and are therefore better absorbed than their non-chelated forms. As a form that’s easily absorbed by the body, Magnesium chelates are used as magnesium supplements to improve absorption and help to maintain adequate Magnesium levels in the body. [7] Thanks to being more water soluble than inorganic Magnesium forms, organic forms provide better absorption.

Two common forms of chelated Magnesium include Magnesium Citrate and Magnesium Glycinate. But what’s the difference between Magnesium Citrate and Glycinate?

What Is Magnesium Citrate and what does it do to the body?

This is a common formulation of chelated Magnesium, and it’s a highly bioavailable form of this key mineral. While there is a difference between Magnesium Citrate and Glycinate (described below), they’re both easily absorbed by the body.

Technically, Magnesium Citrate is an organic Magnesium salt. It’s bound with citric acid rather than with a mineral like chloride or oxygen. This allows Magnesium citrate to be better absorbed than magnesium oxide. [8]

What Is Magnesium Glycinate and what does it do to the body?

As another common form of chelated Magnesium, this form is also highly bioavailable. Created from elemental magnesium and glycine (an amino acid), Magnesium Glycinate is also easily absorbed by the body. Because it’s well tolerated, Magnesium Glycinate is gentle on the stomach.

What’s The Difference Between Magnesium Citrate And Glycinate? Which Is Better?

Because both of these Magnesium forms are more bioavailable than some other forms, they can be good ways to help increase your Magnesium intake. Which is the best Magnesium supplement? It really depends on your specific health needs and circumstances.

Choose A Trusted Supplement Source

Supplements can help fill in any nutrient gaps to support your health and well-being. Start by talking to your healthcare provider about which supplements may help you meet your individual needs and health goals. When choosing a dietary supplement, whether it’s a Magnesium supplement or something else, look for high-quality supplements with responsibly sourced ingredients. With a trusted brand like Nature Made, we’ve got decades of research as the foundation of our high-quality, science-backed products—and we’ve been an industry leader since 1971. †

Bottom Line

As an essential mineral, Magnesium is needed for more than 300 enzymatic reactions in the body. This abundant mineral is available in multiple forms, which can affect how different types of Magnesium work in the body and their ease of magnesium absorption. Magnesium supplements often include Magnesium Glycinate or Magnesium Citrate because they’re better absorbed in the body than other forms. Wondering what’s better—Magnesium Citrate vs Magnesium Glycinate? It really depends on your specific health needs , so talk with your doctor about which one might be right for you.†

Continue to check back on the Nature Made blog for the latest science-backed articles to help you take ownership of your health.

† These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.


  1. “Inadequacy of Immune Health Nutrients: Intakes in US Adults, the 2005-2016 NHANES.” June 2020. Accessed on: September 1, 2022.
  2. Grassroots Health. “What type of magnesium are you taking?” March 8, 2019. Accessed on: September 2, 2022.
  3. S. Department of Agriculture. “FoodData Central.” 2022. Accessed on: September 1, 2022.
  4. National Institutes of Health. “Magnesium.” June 2, 2022. Accessed on: September 2, 2022.
  5. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “Magnesium.” 2022. Accessed on: September 6, 2021.
  6. Oregon State University’s Linus Pauling Institute. “Magnesium.” February 2019. Accessed on: September 6, 2022.
  7. Kaiser Permanente. “Magnesium Amino Acids Chelate.” September 15, 2017. Accessed on: September 6, 2022.
  8. Magnesium Research. “Mg citrate found more bioavailable than other Mg preparations in a randomised, double-blind study.” September 2003. Accessed on: September 6, 2022.


Lisa Beach

NatureMade Contributor

Lisa Beach is a seasoned journalist whose work has been published in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, Eating Well, Parents, AARP’s Disrupt Aging, Optimum Wellness, and dozens more. She also writes for a variety of health/wellness-focused brands. Check out her writer’s website at

Read More

Melissa Dorval Pine, RD

Senior Manager, Medical and Scientific Communications

Melissa is a Registered Dietitian and provides leadership to Pharmavite’s Medical and Scientific Education team. She has over 20 years of experience educating consumers, healthcare professionals, retailers and employees about nutrition, dietary supplements, and overall wellness. Prior to joining the Medical and Scientific Communications team, Melissa launched and managed Pharmavite’s Consumer Affairs department and worked as a clinical dietitian throughout Southern California. Melissa received her Bachelor of Science degree in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona, and completed her dietetic internship at Veteran’s Hospital in East Orange New Jersey.

Read More