Many people ask me which is the best magnesium (Mg) supplement to take and I always answer Mg Chloride (MgCl2). Then there’s the inevitable second question. What is Mg Chloride? Before I can answer there is often a 3rd question. Why do you recommend Mg Chloride rather than any other Mg supplement?
So this article is to fully explain what MgCl2 is and why I think it is the best Mg supplement to take. Have a look at this article about the benefits of this supplement.
Mg Chloride is the name for the chemical compound with the formula MgCl2 and its various hydrates MgCl2(H2O)x. These salts are highly soluble in water. The hydrated Mg Chloride can be extracted from brine or sea water.
So many variables
The problem with Mg is, there are so many variations with some Mg salts being more bio available than others. But who do you trust to tell you the truth? The pharmaceutical companies? The food manufacturers? Your doctor? It’s no wonder the public is confused as to which is the most efficient and bio available. This is apart from the fact that few in the medical industry seem to even know about Mg and that includes allopathic doctors!
If you’re not sure what to do, research for yourself and your family. If you haven’t got time to do your own research, look for a source that has no axe to grind and gives out information freely. A source that has no ties with big pharma, big agra or food manufacturers.
A list of different Mg salts
Listed below in alphabetical order, is a rundown of the different magnesium salts available. You have probably realised that you can’t take magnesium in its elemental form ie. as a metal so it has to be processed to make it available to the body as a supplement.
- Magnesium Aspartate – SCV 2.43 – Avoid – breaks down to aspartic acid which is neurotoxic
- Magnesium Bicarbonate – used as antacids
- Magnesium Carbonate – used as antacids
- Magnesium Chloride (6H2O) – SCV zero – 120mg of elemental Mg per 1 gram of salt
- Magnesium Citrate – SCV 2.8 – 150mg of elemental Mg per 1 gram of salt
- Magnesium Gluconate – SCV 0.70 – 50mg of elemental Mg per 1 gram of salt – used in drips
- Magnesium Glutamate – Avoid – breaks down to glutamic acid which is neurotoxic
- Magnesium Glycinate – SCV 3.45 – 100mg of elemental Mg per 1 gram of salt
- Magnesium Lysinate – used as a food additive
- Magnesium Malate – SCV 1.55 – 150mg of elemental Mg per l gram of salt
- Magnesium Orotate – 60mg of elemental Mg per 1 gram of salt
- Magnesium Oxide – Only 4% bio available – 600mg of elemental Mg per 1 gram of salt
- Magnesium Phosphate – laxatives and antacids
- Magnesium Sulfate – Epsom Salts – Laxative – 100mg of elemental Mg per 1 gram of salt – used in drips
- Magnesium Taurate – 100mg of elemental Mg per 1 gram of salt
It’s all about the bond
You may have noticed there is an SCV number next to some of them. This is the Stability Constant Value of the Mg salts. This tells you if the strength of the bond between the two components is strong or weak. The higher the number, the stronger the bond and the less bio availability.
Mg oxide’s laxative effect
Mg Oxide, for instance, has a very strong bond between the Mg and the oxygen which means it will not dissociate easily so the Mg cannot be used to any great extent biologically. Instead, most of the compound will go straight through you giving a laxative effect. OK if you want a clear out! I cannot find the official SCV of Mg oxide or some of the other salts, but I know the SCV of Mg oxide is high and is therefore strongly bonded to oxygen. Unfortunately, Mg oxide is commonly added as the dietary source of magnesium to foods and supplements, because it’s cheap. This likely produces dietary deficiencies resulting in poor health and a reduced life span. Mg oxide is at most only 4% bio available.
MgCl2 stability constant of zero
As you can see, Mg Chloride (MgCl2) has an SCV of zero. This means the bond between the Mg and the chlorine to produce Mg Chloride is very weak. This is good, because the two quickly disassociate from each other leaving the Mg in its ionic state to do its work immediately within the body.
What about Mg Citrate?
Mg Citrate also has quite a low SCV of just 2.8 and has good bio availability. This molecule will give you a gentle laxative effect if you suffer from constipation which is a symptom for some people who have a Mg deficiency. It is also very good for children, who often suffer with constipation, mainly because of all the junk food that’s available to them. This is a very distressing condition for a child as well as the parents and also means that child has a Mg deficiency which can cause all kinds of serious conditions such as ADHD, ADD and asthma to name but a few and if not addressed, heralds health problems for the child’s future. See this article which covers child constipation.
Food manufacturers at fault
You can blame the food manufacturers for putting temptation in a youngsters way with all the relentless advertising of all the sweets and processed foods such as cereals, biscuits and fizzy drinks. Parents will generally relent when being nagged constantly by their child to buy certain items of sweets, junk food or carbonated drinks.
Mg Citrate can be bought in a tasteless powder form which you can put into soups, porridges etc.. The kids won’t even know it’s there. With Mg Chloride such as ReMag, the taste can be salty and bitter, especially if not taken with enough water. Kids will often baulk at taking it unless it is well disguised (please, not with aspartame laced fizzy drinks).
Mg Gluconate in hospital drips
The other low SCV supplement is Mg Gluconate at SCV 0.70. Have you ever visited a hospital, particularly to see an older friend or relative. The patient is often attached to a clear fluid drip for re-hydration. If you look at the contents of the drip bag (without touching it of course) you will likely see Mg Gluconate as one of the salts.
Mg Sulphate & Pregnancy
Mg Sulphate is a treatment for preeclampsia, a condition of pregnancy. This dangerous problem can be avoided if the mother is well supplemented with Mg before and during her pregnancy. The lack of this vital mineral can kill. That does sound a little dramatic but this is a condition that can be a danger to both mother and child and has also been linked to SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).
The name of a salt has two parts. The first part is the name of the metal and second is the salt that is formed. The second part of the name comes from the acid used to make it. The names of salts made from hydrochloric acid end in -chloride, while the names of salts made from sulfuric acid end in -sulfate.
Formation of salts
Mg forms Mg salts when it reacts with acids. Therefore, Mg reacts with hydrochloric acid to make Mg chloride
So why is Mg Chloride so bio available
- Mg is dissociated from the weak chloride bond, leaving a Mg ion that is so small it will readily permeate through cell walls. Because of this permeability, the Mg does not cause the laxative effect because much of it does not get into the gut before it has been absorbed into the body.
- The compound MgCl2 is a very small molecule, consequently it can even be absorbed through the skin, that’s why many people use it topically. (Another topical application is Mg sulphate (epsom salts), which people often put in their bathwater for a relaxing soak.) Great for getting more Mg into your body whilst pregnant
MgCl2 supplements on the market
There are a few MgCl2 supplements on the market, perhaps the most famous is Dr Carolyn Dean’s ReMag, a very popular and high quality supplement. Dr Dean advertises her product concentrating on the tiny size of the molecule, calling it ‘picometer’ size. This well explains how very small this compound is. It could be misconstrued that the picometer size is only applicable to this particular brand of MgCl2 but this is not the case. Whichever brand you use, all the supplements will be this very small ‘picometer’ size and this is the beauty of MgCl2
Dr Carolyn Dean’s ReMag
ReMag is easily available in the US where it is competitively priced, not so in the UK, where it is very expensive. This makes it difficult for those with limited funding to afford. That being the case, if you really want to use MgCl2 you can make it up yourself.
You must, however obtain the best quality MgCl2 salt to make into your solution. Always use food quality, don’t be tempted to go for the cheaper lower quality stuff. Once you have obtained your MgCl2 from a reputable supplier, you can make up a 250ml bottle of the solution as follows:
How to make up MgCl2 solution
Put 125 grams into a small marked pyrex jug. Add just a little mineral water, enough to dissolve the salts and stir. Add more water to make your solution up to the 250ml mark, stir again and then pour it into a suitable glass bottle. It will be very cloudy at first but that is not sediment, it is air bubbles, which will start to clear in a few minutes.
100 doses from 250ml
This will give you 100 doses of 2.5ml (½ teaspoon). Put one dose into a glass of water and drink over the course of the day. If you don’t like the taste, lace it with a little cordial (NOT low sugar, we don’t want aspartame in it). The taste doesn’t bother me but some find it a little bitter (hubby uses Rose’s lime cordial). Up your doses gradually until you feel the difference. Always spread your doses throughout the day. Everyone needs a different dose and it’s a case of finding your own level. I take around 2 teaspoons in a litre of water and drink it slowly throughout the day. This gives me the equivalent of 600mg of elemental Mg. I used to suffer from insomnia, so to stop it recurring, I drink at least a quarter of my daily dose in the evening. If I’m stressed or have a heavy day ahead, I will up my dose from 2 teaspoons to 2½.
Making up your own MgCl2 solution is much cheaper than buying it ready made. It is a little inconvenient but well worth the trouble. I have never bought MgCl2 in solution, I am quite happy making it up myself. Mind you, it is quite useful having hubby around as he has qualifications in peptide chemistry and has worked in a laboratory environment as a senior technical officer.
If someone who is au fait with chemistry takes this supplement every day, it may give you a clue as to how important it is for your overall health.