Nootropic Review: Magnesium Glycinate (And L-Threonate)

Nootropic Review: Magnesium Glycinate (And L-Threonate)

What's the deal with Magnesium?

What Is Magnesium Glycinate?

Magnesium Glycinate is a compound consisting of Magnesium that has undergone the process of chelation in order to be bonded with Glycine. The resulting combination allows for more effective supplementation of Magnesium than if the mineral were to be supplemented on its own. The combination supplement has a number of benefits, both as a Nootropic and for general health. Before getting into detail on these benefits, however, let’s review the individual components of this supplement:

Magnesium - A Quick Overview

Magnesium is a dietary mineral and electrolyte that’s essential for human functioning. It plays a crucial role in regulating blood pressure and the body’s response to insulin. Healthy levels of magnesium in the blood and brain are significantly positively correlated with reduced effects and/or risk of suffering from Migraines, ADHD, Cardiovascular Disease, and Depression (Or depressive symptoms brought about by other conditions).

In short: It’s very important that you ensure you’re getting enough Magnesium in your diet.

Whether or not this supplement will be effective depends heavily on existing deficiencies. Dietary Magnesium tends to be obtained from green, leafy vegetables, which also happen to be a common dietary exclusion in favor of starches and grain (Particularly in the West). In America alone, studies have demonstrated that as many as 68% of adults consume below the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of 310-420mg, with 19% overall consuming less than half of that value. A look at the statistics should give you a basis by which to predict whether you might positively respond to supplementation.

Persons can objectively determine whether or not they have a deficiency by performing a Magnesium RBC test. That said, these tests can be quite expensive, especially if you’re in the US—upwards of $500 if not covered by insurance for a pre-existing condition. For this reason, it tends to be more financially practical to experiment by buying the supplements outright than testing for a deficiency. So long as you stay within the RDA guidelines as determined by the NIH, then at worst you’ll be assured that your diet is already Magnesium-sufficient.

Glycine - A Quick Overview

Glycine is an essential amino acid that has a number of important roles within the body, including acting as a hepatoprotectant (i.e. It prevents toxicity-related liver damage) and a neurotransmitter.

The full list of its bodily functions and mechanisms is beyond the scope of this article, but as it relates to Magnesium, the two substances have a synergistic interaction that results in Magnesium having more significant positive effects than when taken on its own.

Why Magnesium Glycinate?

When it comes to supplementing Magnesium, there are many different varieties of the substance available for purchase, with most of them being compounds, and Magnesium Glycinate being among the most popular of these.

The speed and degree of Magnesium’s absorption into the body depends greatly on the acidity of the digestive tract, with increased pH levels resulting in reduced absorption. Supplemental (i.e. Non-dietary) Magnesium causes significant spikes in pH levels along the tract when it is present in relatively high concentrations. Thus, it creates a bottleneck for its own rate of absorption, resulting in an amount that’s proportionally insignificant to the amount being consumed being processed, with the remainder being passed out as waste.

This is where Glycine comes into play. It acts as a buffer against the rise in pH levels during digestion of Magnesium, allowing for absorption to occur even in higher concentrations. Another important interaction that takes place is that between Magnesium and the Phytates commonly found in our food, which results in Magnesium being far more difficult for the body to absorb. This is noteworthy because much of the common Magnesium-rich foods also contain significant quantities of Phytates. Glycine has the effect of reducing the reactivity of Magnesium towards these Phytates. All this translates to greatly increased bioavailability of Magnesium when bonded with Glycine to form Magnesium Glycinate.

Magnesium Glycinate Nootropic Breakdown

Nootropic Effects: Reduced stress and anxiety. Improved sleep quality.

Positive Effects:

Negative Effects:

  • Magnesium can often have a laxative effect. (Some may view this is a positive)

Non-Nootropic Positives:

Recommended Dosage: 

400-1600mg daily, all at once or taken a half-day apart.

Note that, despite the previously stated RDA of 420mg for Magnesium, compounds by definition are not pure. In other words; taking 500mg of Magnesium Glycinate will note equate to 500mg of Magnesium being absorbed. There are also individual biological differences to consider when it comes to digestion. Results will always vary from person to person, so experimentation is a necessity.

Should I cycle Magnesium?

It depends on your diet and how available dietary Magnesium is for you.

This availability does not strictly refer to being able to obtain foods that contain the mineral. It’s entirely possible for one to eat Magnesium-rich foods on a regular basis and still suffer from a deficiency, which would indicate digestive issues in absorbing Magnesium from these sources. The Glycinate compound could sufficiently compensate for this where present.

If ever symptoms of excessive exposure (See the next question) begin to present themselves, simply pause supplementation until they subside. Take a few days or weeks to see if any prior symptoms of deficiency (including those that may not have been recognized as symptoms prior to supplementation) resurface, and if not, it may be safe to assume that changes to your diet resulted in supplemental Magnesium no longer being necessary.

Can I have too much Magnesium?

Yes.

Within reason, whatever magnesium your body doesn’t use gets expelled via urine. Beyond that point of reason, you’ll know if your supplementation is excessive if you start to experience side-effects such as diarrhea, nausea and low blood pressure. As with most other Nootropic supplements, so long as you pay attention to what your body tells you, there’ll be minimal risk.

Recommended Suppliers

Nootropics Depot (Capsule/Powder) (Also available on Amazon in powder form)

Pricing:

$25 for 180 800mg Capsules – 14 cents per 800mg dose

$14 for 125g Powder (250g available for $19) – 17 cents per 1500mg dose

Amazon’s Top Pick (Supplied by Doctor’s Best)

Pricing:

$14 for 240 100mg Capsules – 23 cents per 400mg dose

This may seem like a comparatively poor value to Nootropics Depot’s offering, but if you suspect that your deficiency may be minor, then a lower dosage might function better as a starting point.

NOTE: Amazon can be a mixed bag when it comes to vetting retailers.

If you want to check out other Nootropic suppliers on the platform, the following have generally clean track records when it comes to supplying goods as-advertised: NatureMade, Kirkland Signature, TruNature, Now Foods, Doctor’s Best, NutriGold.

Magnesium L-Threonate: An Alternative Worth Considering

Another Magnesium-based compound I’d like to mention is Magnesium L-Threonate. 

L-Threonate is a metabolite of Vitamin C (i.e. it’s one of the end products resulting from the Vitamin being metabolized). It, like Glycine, has synergistic properties that affect the uptake of other minerals by the body, making it a popular pairing choice for Magnesium. In addition to the previously listed benefits of Magnesium, it seems to have a more pronounced Nootropic effect on cognition, whereby it enhances both short-term processing and long-term consolidation of information to memory.

As is stated for every Nootropic on this site: Your experience may vary. Some anecdotal reports feature people hailing it as a ‘magic bullet’ that fixes every emotional and personality-based disorder they happened to have, while others report a complete lack of response compared to the Glycinate compound. The only way to know for certain which camp you fall into is to try it for yourself.

Recommended Suppliers For Magnesium L-Threonate

LiftMode (First-time buyers get a 15% Discount via this link) (Also available on Amazon)

Price:

Starts at $9 for 5g (Sample) – $1.40 per 800mg dose

Up to $11 for 100g – 32 cents per 800mg dose

Offering products on par with those of Nootropics Depot, LiftMode has an edge for this product due to offering a 5g sampler option for just $9. The effective cost will be much higher compared to all the bulk options that have been mentioned thus far, but it can be a reasonable purchase if you simply want to experiment with Magnesium supplementation but don’t want to commit to having to finish a multi-month supply right off the bat.

Nootropics Depot (Capsule/Powder)

Pricing:

$40 for 900 667mg Capsules – 14 cents per 800mg dose (3 per day)

$35 for 60g Powder (120g available for $60) – 58 cents per 1000mg dose (2 per day)

Amazon’s Top Pick (Supplied by Double Wood Supplements)

Pricing: $14 for 240 100mg Capsules – 23 cents per 400mg dose

This may seem like a comparatively poor value to Nootropics Depot’s offering, but if you suspect that your deficiency may be minor, then a lower dosage might function better as a starting point.

Further Reading

Interested in Nootropics like this?

L-Theanine has a relaxing effect that isn’t reliant on there being an existing deficiency. Find out more about it in my review for the Caffeine + L-Theanine Nootropic Stack.

Alternatively, you can find all my articles—nootropic-related or otherwise—on this section of my site.

Thank you for reading, and I hope the information provided proves to be of use.