What is Magnesium Malate?
Magnesium malate is a salt form of magnesium bound to malic acid. Malic acid is the primary acid found in many fruits and is responsible for many fruits’ tart or sour flavors. It’s also found in grapes and wine in high concentrations. Organic farming methods yield higher malic acid levels in citrus fruits than conventional farming. Combining magnesium with malic acid improves its bioavailability. One animal study comparing five different magnesium compounds reported that the malate form yielded the greatest magnesium absorption. Magnesium food sources include leafy greens, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.
What Does Magnesium Do in the Body?
Magnesium is an essential mineral and nutrient found in every cell of living organisms. It’s a cofactor for over 600 enzymatic reactions—most notably for energy metabolism and synthesizing proteins. All enzymes that use or synthesize adenosine triphosphate (ATP) require magnesium, as do the enzymes involved in DNA and RNA synthesis. The body also needs magnesium to synthesize and activate vitamin D. Most adults don’t consume enough magnesium in their diets, and taking magnesium supplements can ensure adequate intake. Individuals at the greatest risk of developing a magnesium deficiency include people with gastrointestinal conditions that affect absorption, people with type 2 diabetes, people with alcohol dependency, and older adults. Prolonged stress can also result in a magnesium deficiency.
Potential Magnesium Malate Benefits
Magnesium for Mood
Magnesium has a long history of boosting mood, dating back to 1921. The body needs magnesium to convert tryptophan into serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood. Insufficient serotonin contributes to numerous mood disorders, and inadequate magnesium aggravates this issue. Magnesium is also an N-methyl-D-aspartic acid (NMDA) receptor agonist, which may explain magnesium’s natural ability to improve mood. One human study noted that magnesium supplements were just as effective at improving mood as prescription medications. One review examined 21 cross-sectional studies, three intervention trials, one prospective study, one case only study, and one case series study focused on magnesium’s connection to mood. It found that magnesium intake correlates with fewer symptoms related to mood disorders.
Magnesium for Exercise Performance
The body’s demands for magnesium increase during exercise, and it requires magnesium for proper muscle function, energy production, electrolyte equilibrium, and oxygen absorption. Magnesium supplements increase energy availability for muscles during workouts and help clear lactate. The body produces lactate from glucose as an energy source for muscles when oxygen levels are insufficient (anaerobic glycolysis). However, the body can only sustain anaerobic glycolysis for short bursts of intense exercise, ranging from 10 seconds up to two minutes. Once lactate levels reach this threshold, individuals start to feel queasy and can’t continue exercising.
One study on women consuming a magnesium-deficient diet found that magnesium restriction increased their required oxygen uptake and heart rate to exercise. Another study noted that magnesium supplements improved total work output in male athletes performing capacity tests. Research also shows that magnesium supplements improve exercise efficiency and endurance. Magnesium most likely exerts these effects due to its involvement in ATP synthesis—the energy currency for all cells. Malic acid may enhance exercise performance as it reduces fatigue and aids in muscle recovery.
Magnesium for Constipation and Heartburn
One of magnesium’s most common uses is to relieve constipation. Magnesium softens stool and promotes bowel movements by attracting water into the intestines. However, this laxative effect usually only occurs with large doses of magnesium. Magnesium is also a common ingredient in remedies for heartburn and acid indigestion.
Other Potential Magnesium Malate Benefits
Magnesium may improve several other areas of health. Research shows that magnesium has promising potential for better glucose metabolism, reducing the severity of menstrual cramps, improving sleep duration, reducing the time it takes to fall asleep, and reducing the frequency and severity of headaches.
Potential Magnesium Malate Side Effects
High doses of magnesium can act as a laxative, causing stomach cramps and diarrhea. Magnesium may interact with some medications, including bisphosphonates, antibiotics, diuretics, and proton pump inhibitors. Individuals taking these medications should consult with a physician before adding magnesium supplements to their regimen.
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