Myths of magnesium (and other lies told by supplement companies)

When it comes to bending the truth for increasing sales, there is no one better than the pharmaceutical industry.

They are absolute masters.

They love to increase the risk of an issue/disease or increase the benefits of a drug/intervention by taking an absolute risk reduction and turning it into a relative risk reduction.

For example, how can they make a 1% increase in risk (absolute risk) look scarier to increase compliance?

By making it into a 100% relative risk increase.


The relative bit is related to the 1% going up to 2%, is a relative increase of 100% (or double), clever isn’t it?

You can then also work it the other way for a reduction in risk with a new “wonder drug.”

Sadly, it is completely the norm within medical circles to use relative risk reductions, it is simply not seen as an issue.

Anyhoo, I digress…..

While big pharma are the masters of deception and can harm many people along the way to profits, the supplement industry is also prone to bending the truth for profit.

If you go looking for a magnesium supplement, you will be bombarded with different forms that all claim to be superior in a different way and with additional benefits.

The way it works is this: To absorb magnesium you need to bind it to an amino acid, which could be citrate, glycine/glycinate, malate, threonate, taurate (taurine), chloride etc etc.

Each one of those will be claimed to do different, extra stuff beyond the magical result of a magnesium molecule turning on over 300 enzymes.

Check the advert below:

The implication is that magnesium taurate (as a unit) is good for the heart.

Or magnesium glycinate (as a unit) promotes calmness.

Or magnesium malate (as a unit) supports nerve & muscle function, often touted for fibromyalgia.

These benefits appear to be unique to this magical form of magnesium bound to a specific amino acid, with a higher price tag to boot.

The reality is they are bending the truth to sell more supplements at a higher cost.

The key thing is to get the magnesium across the gut wall into the blood.

From there, if the magnesium is going to get into the cell or mitochondria and be used as a co-factor for enzymes, it will have to be removed from the amino acid.

Check out the key positions magnesium is used in the Krebs cycle and note that ATP is only active and useable once it is bound to magnesium.


I could go on about how amazing magnesium is, but just think about this one last thing.

Magnesium is the co-factor for the enzyme DNA/RNA polymerase.

That is the enzyme that makes DNA/RNA, thus allows you to makes proteins, thus makes enzymes (and all body tissues), therefore pretty much runs your bodily system.

So magnesium really is important, but why would magnesium bound to different amino acids do such different things if the magnesium is then unbound to do its work?

The answer is its amino acid, which is related to the suggested additional benefits, not the magnesium per se.

Glycine itself is a calming brain neurotransmitter, so when it uncouples from magnesium, it may have some calming & relaxing effects.

Taurine is known to help heart function

Malate is part of the Krebs cycle, thus may help with energy and nerve function.


I feel this is deliberately misleading in the same way the drug industry deliberately misleads us about the benefits of drugs using clever statistics.

The reality is, if you want the benefits of the amino acids, you are far better off buying them separately to get a higher therapeutic dose (usually the dose in reserach used to cite beneift is very high), at a better price.

Many of the jazzy new magnesium are far more expensive than magnesium citrate.

We looked carefully at the research and there is little to choose between the different forms in terms of absorption.

But there is a huge price difference.

Some people do get an upset tummy with magnesium supplements, and I have found that with all forms, regardless of the promised tolerability by the manufacturer.

It seems more dependent on the patient than the product.

So, for our new range, we chose magnesium citrate for the absorption and price and we decided to avoid the marketing hype and keep it real.

Remember, we do need vitamin B6 to get magnesium inside the cell.

Plus, remember from last week, they have other benefits working together

We have one product with B6 in the active P5P form, built-in for use on its own (MAGNESIUM PLUS)


Or you can use our pure magnesium citrate combined with our new one a day multi, which, of course has B6 in it.

These are all due for sale at the very start of November.

Keep your eyes peeled for the opportunity to put in a pre-order at a 10% reduction from normal trade prices in the next week or so.


– Beware the marketing hype on supplements!

–  Check the price difference for different forms of nutrients, are you paying a higher price for the hype?