Last updated: October 11, 2018
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.
Magnesium Glycinate Nootropic Stacks
Depending on what you are trying to achieve, there are many additions to magnesium glycinate that one can make to maximize the benefits for cognitive and physical performance. This is an essential nutrient useful in many enzymatic actions in the body, but it is relatively natural and safe, which means there is room to add things that will most likely not interact negatively with magnesium glycinate.
Magnesium is important in so many enzymatic actions, but it is a powerful pairing with some kind of powerful mitochondria supplement.
Magnesium glycinate and threonate – the easiest and best combination is simply magnesium glycinate with magnesium threonate. As the name implies, they are both magnesium, but the structure can create some subtle differences in the body. For one, magnesium threonate crosses the blood brain barrier so it is more of a cognitive advantage than glycinate.
Magnesium glycinate and stimulants – often, people use magnesium glycinate at night because it can be relaxing and increase the sleep quality and latency (how long it takes to go to sleep). If you have just had a challenging workout, sweat a lot, and want to take some magnesium earlier in the day, it is useful to pair it with a stimulant of some sort. The basic caffeine and L-theanine combination can be useful for stimulation that isn't too powerful or unnatural.
For those who are a little bit more adventurous, the modafinil class (including adrafinil and armodafinil) can be powerful stimulants. They may also be effective in lower doses so start small and work your way up.
Magnesium glycinate and memory enhancers – magnesium has the benefit of improving all aspects of cognition, but is particularly advantageous for depression and mood. To enhance memory on top of the natural glycinate benefits, look at traditional Ayurvedic medicine like bacopa monnieri or huperzine A. There are also a class of drugs called racetams, which can help. These include popular drugs like piracetam, aniracetam, and oxiracetam. There are also more stimulating racetams like phenylpiracetam or fasoracetam.
Magnesium glycinate and unique blends – many people involving nootropics into their regimen find that unique blends are a good place to start. Combinations like alpha brain and optimind are most popular, but other powerful options like Qualia and Mind Lab Pro exist. All of these blends are useful to some degree, but make sure to find the ones that have magnesium already and reduce the dosage you take. For example, truBrain has magnesium as does Qualia so you can take a lower daily dose.
Magnesium glycinate and nutrients – the important part of magnesium glycinate isn't that “more is better”. It is a problem that most people are simply deficient in this important nutrient. Because of this, getting enough can provide huge cognitive gains. The same can be true of other nutrients. People who are deficient in magnesium might also find that true of vitamin D or methylfolate. Be sure to consider 23andme as a way to find out genetically whether or not you might require more support with these nutrients.
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, Pure Nootropics is a good place to go, but many Magnesium product can be found on Amazon (but be sure to look for the correct version). We do not recommend Absorb Health or Peak Nootropics.
If you go through Amazon, 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
Nootropedia Disclaimer: While we support psychedelic science and support usage of entheogens like ayahuasca (DMT) and psilocybin, it is recommended to avoid using other substances such as magnesium alongside them. We do not recommend using them together.
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