What is Magnesium Gluconate?
Magnesium gluconate is a chelated magnesium salt bonded to gluconic acid. Combining magnesium salts with
amino acids stabilizes the mineral and improves its ability to cross the intestinal barrier. According to
one study, magnesium gluconate has the highest bioavailability of magnesium salts. The study compared
magnesium oxide, chloride, sulfate, carbonate, acetate, pidolate, citrate, gluconate, lactate, and
aspartate. The study did not include magnesium
glycinate, which also has high bioavailability.
Magnesium is an essential mineral that every cell in the body needs to function. The body uses magnesium to
facilitate DNA and protein synthesis, carbohydrate metabolism, and energy production. Gluconic acid salts,
also known as gluconates, are the product of oxidized and fermented glucose. Gluconic acid has chelating and
antiseptic properties. It occurs naturally in honey, fruit, and wine. The food and beverage industry uses it
as an additive to regulate acidity and provide a mild and refreshing sour flavor.
What Does Magnesium Do?
The body’s needs for magnesium are ubiquitous, as the mineral plays a role in more than 600 enzymatic
reactions. It catalyzes adenosine triphosphate (ATP) synthesis by stimulating adenyl cyclase. Scientists
often refer to ATP as the energy currency of the cells because it can store, transport, and exchange energy
between cells. Magnesium also plays a role in converting creatine into phosphocreatine by
activating creatine kinase. Phosphocreatine is an energy reserve that helps restore ATP. Magnesium
facilitates numerous biosynthetic and biochemical processes, including the citric acid (Krebs) cycle,
glycolysis, metabolizing carbohydrates, and cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) formation.
Potential Magnesium Benefits
Magnesium deficiencies are common, affecting up to 20% of developed populations and up to 30% of all
populations. Modern diets are often in short supply of magnesium-rich foods, resulting in frequent
insufficiency. Given magnesium’s numerous roles in the body, a deficiency can wreak havoc on several aspects
of health. In addition to correcting magnesium deficits, individuals may benefit from magnesium supplements
in other ways.
Magnesium and Exercise Performance
Exercise increases the body’s demand for magnesium. It serves as a transport for sugar into muscles while
also removing lactic acid from muscles. The body needs oxygen to utilize glucose as an energy source.
However, if there isn’t enough oxygen available, it can synthesize lactate for energy. The body can only use
lactate for so long and hits its threshold once lactic acid builds up faster than the body can clear it.
Individuals can exercise briefly beyond this threshold but eventually begin to feel nauseous and fatigued.
Magnesium can delay this by removing lactic acid, which may allow individuals to exercise for longer.
Studies show magnesium may benefit athletic performance in other ways, too. Research shows that athletes’
physical performance improved after taking magnesium supplements. A study also found that magnesium
protected against muscle damage in cyclists and increased muscle mass and power output in women. Individuals
with insufficient magnesium levels experience even more pronounced improvements in exercise performance
after taking magnesium supplements.
Magnesium and Sleep
Studies show that magnesium may improve sleep in several ways. The body needs magnesium for quality sleep,
and insufficient levels can result in sleep problems. Magnesium also stimulates the activity of serotonin
N-acetyltransferase activity (NAT), which is a precursor to synthesizing melatonin sleep hormones. Magnesium
may further improve sleep by promoting relaxation. It binds to gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)
receptors, which help dampen and calm neuronal excitability. Research also shows that magnesium enhances
sleep quality, reduces the amount of time it takes to fall asleep, and increases sleep duration.
Magnesium and Mood
Research examining magnesium’s role in mood dates back as far as 1921. Magnesium converts into
neurotransmitters involved in mood regulation, such as serotonin and tryptophan. Without sufficient
magnesium, serotonin levels also suffer and can worsen mood disorders. Magnesium may further benefit mood by
blocking N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) ion channels. Much like insufficient serotonin, activated NMDA
receptors can worsen mood conditions. Insufficient magnesium can also make individuals more susceptible to
the physical effects of stress, resulting in irritability and mood swings.
Best Magnesium for Constipation
While most magnesium supplements can offer some constipation relief, magnesium hydroxide
has the most powerful
laxative properties. The intestines also only absorb 4% of the magnesium from the hydroxide form. It’s not
suitable for addressing magnesium deficiencies, but it’s a better option for individuals who need to limit
their magnesium intake.
Magnesium for Constipation
Magnesium supplements are a common remedy for occasional constipation. Magnesium helps stimulate bowel
movements by drawing water into the intestines to soften stools. Chelated forms of the mineral, like
magnesium gluconate, are typically gentler on the GI tract, making them less likely to cause diarrhea.
Potential Magnesium Side Effects
As an essential mineral for life, most individuals tolerate magnesium supplements well. Some individuals may
experience nausea, stomach upset, or diarrhea. However, magnesium gluconate is less likely to cause diarrhea
than other forms of magnesium. Magnesium may interact with some medications, including certain antibiotics,
heart medications, and diuretics. Taking magnesium supplements with vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) may
increase blood levels of magnesium. These effects are more pronounced in individuals with reduced renal
function. Individuals with renal dysfunction should consult a physician before taking magnesium supplements,
as the kidneys process and remove magnesium.
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