There are basic nutrients every human needs and magnesium is one of them. This mineral is important for basic functions yet it is the second most common deficiency among western cultures . Magnesium gylcinate is a specific type of supplement, which has increased bioavailability and is absorbed in different areas than the gut , which has different benefits for the body.
A magnesium deficiency is problematic for the brain. This mineral is imperative for preserving neuronal function  and supplementation can improve sleep quality , improve attention , and a host of other benefits. Given it is a nutrient, there is very low risk in using magnesium glycinate as a nootropic to improve your brain health.
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Editors’ Thoughts on Magnesium Glycinate
Dose is important with magnesium glycinate. I sweat a lot with hyperhidrosis, which means I have to replenish those stores often. The problem is finding the correct dosage for me in particular (and thus you may have the same problem).
When I take too little it is a huge problem because I’m deficient in a major nutrient that my body sweats out too frequently. When I take too much, my gastrointestinal system gets upset with me.
It is a helpful tool either way. My girlfriend takes it before bed to increase sleep quality and makes a difference to her.
Mansal Denton, Nootropedia Editor
Magnesium Glycinate Benefits
While there are many benefits of magnesium glycinate, a good place to start is with general neuronal function. Magnesium can protect neuronal function during periods when a neuron is not firing (downtime) . This is said to extend the longevity of certain cells in the brain.
Children suffering from ADHD have a high rate of magnesium deficiency. One study of 116 children diagnosed with ADHD found that 95% of the kids were deficient in this important mineral . Thus, scientists considered supplementing magnesium for 6 months and found significant improvement in symptoms of ADHD .
Another benefit of magnesium glycinate is for the sleep cycle. One study with magnesium and sleep showed an increase of slow-wave sleep by 63.3%, which helped to reduce cortisol levels and normalize sleeping patterns for participants .
Magnesium deficiency also plays a role in depression. One study of depression patients showed they had only 75 – 77% of the magnesium as healthy non-depressed controls . Removing magnesium from one’s diet completely can increase anxiety and depressive symptoms as well  suggesting that magnesium has a significant role to play in mood.
Learning ability might also be a magnesium glycinate benefit. Although the study was performed with magnesium L-threonate, some evidence suggests supplemental magnesium can enhance levels of BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) by 36% . BDNF is associated with memory formation and learning ability, which may offer promising results.
There are a host of other benefits for the heart, insulin sensitivity, and other regions of the body. While we focus on the brain, keep these benefits in mind when you seek low-hanging fruit for cognitive enhancement.
Side Effects of Magnesium Glycinate
There aren’t many side effects of magnesium given that it is a mineral and essential nutrient humans need to survive. However, the way in which we consume magnesium makes a big difference for the side effects and benefits.
Magnesium glycinate is a bioavailable form of this nutrient that will not cause many side effects. Other side effects of magnesium that people complain of are related to taking magnesium oxide or citrate. In one study, magnesium oxide in a 1 g dosage induced diarrhea in 12% of the study group .
Gastrointestinal distress is usually the main side effect of magnesium in general, though glycinate has a much lower incidence of this.
Magnesium Glycinate Dosage
The dosage of magnesium glycinate is in the 200 – 400 mg per day range, but it is important to consider all lifestyle factors. In one popular magnesium discussion on the Bulletproof forums, the original poster recommends at least 400 mg of magnesium per day .
Taking magnesium glycinate is the best way to get bioavailable (well-absorbed) magnesium so ensure you choose wisely.
How and Where to Buy Magnesium Glycinate
Magnesium is easy to find at a local health food or grocery store. It will be easy for you to find buy magnesium supplements in some form, but remember to look for the highest quality option. If you are planning to go to the store, here is a list of magnesium types in order of their efficacy so that you can buy more efficiently:
- Magnesium glycinate
- Magnesium malate
- Magnesium citrate (for budgetary reasons)
Instead of going to a local store, we recommend you buy magnesium glycinate online. For reasons of comfort and reliability, Amazon is a good place to go in the absence of magnesium products at our recommended vendors, Nootropics Depot or Pure Nootropics.
Thus, we recommend a large brand called “Doctor’s Best” magnesium glycinate. This product has over 1,500 positive reviews on Amazon and is 4 months worth of magnesium for less than $15. You can get it here.
UPDATE: Our recommended vendor now has magnesium biglycinate chelate (more effective than simple glycinate) for an even more affordable price here.
Selected Community Experiences
“I absolutely love magnesium. It is my favourite supplement and one of the few that I actual feel working. I know it’s not specifically a “noot” (with the exception of magnesium l-threonate) but I think good sleep and anxiety reduction play a big part in improving and maintaining brain health.”  – depressed_sunflower
“I’ve been supplementing with magnesium for years, but apparently I wasn’t taking nearly enough. When I began taking 2 (Doctor’s Best chelated brand) pills every few hours just to see what would happen, a few hours later I began noticing massive changes physiologically and mentally. Apparently a great deal of my issues trace back to low or insufficient levels of magnesium.”  – baccheion
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