Citrate vs. Magnesium Glycinate

What's the Difference?

Citrate and Magnesium Glycinate are two different forms of magnesium supplements that offer various benefits. Citrate is a common form of magnesium that is easily absorbed by the body and is often used to support digestive health. It can help relieve constipation and promote regular bowel movements. On the other hand, Magnesium Glycinate is a highly bioavailable form of magnesium that is known for its calming effects on the nervous system. It is often used to support relaxation, improve sleep quality, and reduce muscle tension. While both forms provide magnesium, their specific benefits and absorption rates may vary, making it important to choose the one that aligns with your specific needs.


AttributeCitrateMagnesium Glycinate
Chemical FormulaC6H5O7C4H8MgN2O4
TypeOrganic AcidAmino Acid Chelate
SolubilityHighly soluble in waterHighly soluble in water
SourceNaturally occurring in citrus fruitsSynthesized compound
FunctionUsed as a food additive, acidity regulator, and dietary supplementUsed as a dietary supplement to provide magnesium
BioavailabilityGood bioavailabilityGood bioavailability
BenefitsMay support kidney health, improve exercise performance, and prevent kidney stonesMay support bone health, improve sleep quality, and reduce muscle cramps

Further Detail


Magnesium is an essential mineral that plays a crucial role in various bodily functions. It is involved in over 300 enzymatic reactions and is necessary for maintaining normal muscle and nerve function, regulating blood pressure, and supporting a healthy immune system. Two common forms of magnesium supplements are citrate and glycinate. While both forms provide magnesium, they differ in terms of absorption, bioavailability, and potential side effects. In this article, we will explore the attributes of citrate and magnesium glycinate to help you make an informed decision about which form may be best for you.

Absorption and Bioavailability

Citrate and magnesium glycinate differ in their absorption rates and bioavailability. Magnesium citrate is a salt form of magnesium that is easily absorbed by the body. It dissociates into magnesium ions and citrate in the stomach, allowing for efficient absorption in the intestines. On the other hand, magnesium glycinate is a chelated form of magnesium, where magnesium is bound to the amino acid glycine. This chelation process enhances the bioavailability of magnesium glycinate, making it easier for the body to absorb and utilize. As a result, magnesium glycinate is often considered to have higher bioavailability compared to citrate.

Gastrointestinal Tolerance

One important consideration when choosing a magnesium supplement is its gastrointestinal tolerance. Some individuals may experience digestive discomfort or laxative effects when taking certain forms of magnesium. Magnesium citrate, due to its ability to attract water into the intestines, is known for its laxative properties. It is commonly used as a bowel preparation before medical procedures or to relieve occasional constipation. On the other hand, magnesium glycinate is generally well-tolerated and less likely to cause digestive disturbances. Its gentle nature makes it a suitable option for individuals with sensitive stomachs or those prone to gastrointestinal issues.

Benefits and Uses

Both citrate and magnesium glycinate offer numerous health benefits and can be used to address magnesium deficiencies. Magnesium citrate is often recommended for individuals who require a higher dose of magnesium or those seeking relief from occasional constipation. Its laxative effect can help promote regular bowel movements. Additionally, magnesium citrate may support kidney health by preventing the formation of certain types of kidney stones. On the other hand, magnesium glycinate is commonly chosen for its calming properties. It has a higher affinity for the brain and nervous system, making it a popular choice for individuals looking to support relaxation, sleep quality, and stress management. Magnesium glycinate may also help alleviate muscle cramps and promote healthy muscle function.

Interactions and Side Effects

When considering any supplement, it is important to be aware of potential interactions and side effects. Magnesium citrate may interact with certain medications, such as antibiotics and diuretics, affecting their absorption or efficacy. It is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before taking magnesium citrate if you are on any medications. Common side effects of magnesium citrate include diarrhea, abdominal cramping, and nausea, especially when taken in high doses. On the other hand, magnesium glycinate is generally well-tolerated with minimal side effects. However, some individuals may experience mild gastrointestinal discomfort or drowsiness. As with any supplement, it is always recommended to consult with a healthcare professional before starting magnesium glycinate, especially if you have any underlying health conditions or are taking medications.


In conclusion, both citrate and magnesium glycinate are effective forms of magnesium supplements that offer unique attributes. Magnesium citrate is easily absorbed and has a higher laxative effect, making it suitable for individuals with constipation or those requiring higher magnesium doses. On the other hand, magnesium glycinate has higher bioavailability, is well-tolerated, and is often chosen for its calming properties and muscle support. Ultimately, the choice between citrate and magnesium glycinate depends on individual needs, preferences, and any underlying health conditions. It is always recommended to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the most appropriate form and dosage of magnesium supplement for your specific situation.

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