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Best form of supplemental magnesium?


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#1 javyn

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Posted 27 May 2008 - 04:21 PM


Due to the fact that I get plenty of dairy from all the milk and cottage cheese I eat, I've decided to drop my current calcium/magnesium/d supplement and supplement D3 and Mag separately without Cal at all.

I am aware that magnesium oxide is not the best to get, so I went on a search for another, better absorbed magnesium...and ended up confusing the hell out of myself with all the choices out there!

What do you guys think is the best, most absorbed form? I see citrate here, which I know is better than oxide. But what about the Magnesium Malate? I guess since it's quite a bit pricier, it's better absorbed? Also I see Magnesium / Potassium Aspartate with Taurine....

Which is the better form to take? Malate, citrate, asparate? Are the malate and asparate worth the extra cost over the citrate? Which one would be superior between malate and aspartate?

Or am I over-analyzing this, and would be just as well off getting the cheap, NOW brand Magnesium Caps with a blend of oxide, citrate, and aspartate?

I am wanting to increase my mag supplementation to help me sleep at night and hopefully get rid of the "shaky leg syndrome" and I also hear it's good for depression. I know that when I take on the nights I take an epsom salt bath, I wake up feeling like a million bucks. I'd like the same feeling in the morning without having to bathe in it heh. Thanks all!
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#2 nameless

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Posted 27 May 2008 - 05:39 PM

I use magnesium glycinate (albion) myself. I'm not sure if the glycine form is best or not, but albion chelates are supposedly better absorbed.

I have a concern regarding citrate chelates and aluminum absorption, as I believe there have been past studies that showed calcium citrate resulted in increased aluminum absorption. But perhaps this only occurs if you have bad kidneys or eat aluminum (antacids).

Albion also makes a mag malate, but it's hard to find, and more expensive than the glycinate.
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#3 pycnogenol

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Posted 27 May 2008 - 05:51 PM

I take the Source Naturals brand which contains magnesium citrate, taurinate, glycinate and succinate. Supposedly, it has good bioavailability and absorption.

I'm thinking about switching to Country Life, Magnesium/Potassium Aspartate just to try it out:

Target-Mins™ Magnesium (as magnesium aspartate, oxide, citrate, taurinate, alpha-ketoglutarate)
Target-Mins™ Potassium (as potassium aspartate, citrate, alpha-ketoglutarate)

Edited by pycnogenol, 27 May 2008 - 05:55 PM.

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#4 mikeinnaples

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Posted 27 May 2008 - 06:29 PM

Citrate is so cheap (well seems so to me) .......5lbs for $42.00. Think that is roughly 907 grams of yeilded mag or $0.046 / gram



.04 compared to .23 or roughly 5x more expensive (rounding down) for the Country Life stuff. Is it worth the price difference? I cant really answer that.

Edited by mikeinnaples, 27 May 2008 - 06:34 PM.

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#5 javyn

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Posted 27 May 2008 - 08:37 PM

Yeah I would just get citrate, but I'm concerned about being woken up to diarrhea every night after taking it. I'm strongly considering malate, especially since I read malate chelates aluminum from the body.
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#6 piet3r

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Posted 27 May 2008 - 08:50 PM

The aluminum chelation is exactly why I also like taking magnesium Malate. Along with silicon it's one of very few substances that bind with aluminum. From what I've read, the absolute best absorbed magnesium is magnesium aspartate, with 41.7% versus 29% from citrate. Malate is somewhere in the middle. I would stick with Aspartate and Malate.
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#7 nameless

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Posted 27 May 2008 - 10:02 PM

The aluminum chelation is exactly why I also like taking magnesium Malate. Along with silicon it's one of very few substances that bind with aluminum. From what I've read, the absolute best absorbed magnesium is magnesium aspartate, with 41.7% versus 29% from citrate. Malate is somewhere in the middle. I would stick with Aspartate and Malate.


Some people consider orotate the best absorbed form, but it's really expensive if you want a decent daily dose.

I've also read that magnesium lactate might be the best, but I can't recall where I saw that. I'm also not sure if it's even an accurate claim. Anyone know of mag lactate studies in comparison to other mag chelates?
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#8 buck1s

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 12:49 PM

I started using Carlson's Chelated Magnesium a few months ago on the recommendation of AJ, IIRC. For whatever reason, it makes me sleep like a log :-D
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#9 mikeinnaples

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 12:56 PM

Man I am an idiot. I just realized I forgot to add in the mag/cal yields in my IP6. Taking way to0 much of both now per day, no wonder my stomach has been wrecked up.


I need to just let the IP6 be my calcium provider and cut my mag back a little bit from my powder.

Edited by mikeinnaples, 28 May 2008 - 12:58 PM.

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#10 javyn

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 01:43 PM

So, the aspartate is far superior to the malate and citrate. Hmm I wonder how it compares to the chelated forms.
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#11 quarter

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 02:29 PM

Did you read this thread: Form of Magnesium

Some good points made there, particularly by neogenic.

I like both Mag Citrate and Mag Orotate.
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#12 mike250

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 03:20 PM

I'm sticking with albion's chelated magnesium for now. The orotate does sound interesting though.

Edited by mike250, 28 May 2008 - 03:25 PM.

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#13 javyn

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 03:37 PM

Think I might try this from Bluebonnet:

http://www.bluebonne...ium_400_b6.html

It's mainly aspartate, with some (hopefully not much) oxide, along with B6. I figure adding my zinc picolinate to this at night could give me some homemade ZMA.

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#14 edward

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 04:14 PM

I am a fan of Magnesium Malate it is the only cost effective form where the other ingredient is actually doing some good and not potentially causing harm (magnesium taurinate also looks interesting as you get the taurine which I also take as a bonus). Aspartate (potentially neurotoxic), Citrate (laxative), Oxide (laxative, poor absorption), Glycinate (glycine has some odd effects in large doses, my daily TMG plus glycine in this form could cause problems), Orate (probably good just extremely expensive)
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#15 nameless

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 04:27 PM

Glycinate (glycine has some odd effects in large doses, my daily TMG plus glycine in this form could cause problems), Orate (probably good just extremely expensive)



I haven't heard of odd effects from glycine before. What sort of odd effects? And what is considered a large dosage?

Are there any possible problems from taking 400-600mg Mag glycinate daily? I believe that yields about 2-2.5 grams glycine daily.
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#16 mike250

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 04:34 PM

is there any data to compare the absorption of these different forms? glycinate vs malate for example?
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#17 javyn

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 05:35 PM

Aspartate is potentially neurotoxic???
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#18 niner

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 06:08 PM

Here is a human study that finds that oxide is crappy, and the organics (and chloride) are better but about equivalent to each other. This is looking at urinary excretion, so it's telling you something about absorption from the gut, but not about utilization.

Magnes Res. 2001 Dec;14(4):257-62.
Bioavailability of US commercial magnesium preparations.Firoz M, Graber M.
Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Northport, NY 11768, USA.

Magnesium deficiency is seen with some frequency in the outpatient setting and requires oral repletion or maintenance therapy. The purpose of this study was to measure the bioavailability of four commercially-available preparations of magnesium, and to test the claim that organic salts are more easily absorbed. Bioavailability was measured as the increment of urinary maginesium excretion in normal volunteers given approximately 21 mEq/day of the test preparations. Results indicated relatively poor bioavailability of magnesium oxide (fractional absorption 4 per cent) but significantly higher and equivalent bioavailability of magnesium chloride, magnesium lactate and magnesium aspartate. We conclude that there is relatively poor bioavailability of magnesium oxide, but greater and equivalent bioavailability of magnesium chloride, lactate, and aspartate. Inorganic magnesium salts, depending on the preparation, may have bioavailability equivalent to organic magnesium salts.

PMID: 11794633


This study looks at ten different salts in rats, determining bioavailability by taking advantage of the existance of a stable isotope, [26]Mg. They obtain a quite different result, in that there wasn't that much difference between any of them. The organic salts were better than the inorganic salts, but not that much better.

Magnes Res. 2005 Dec;18(4):215-23. Links
Study of magnesium bioavailability from ten organic and inorganic Mg salts in Mg-depleted rats using a stable isotope approach.Coudray C, Rambeau M, Feillet-Coudray C, Gueux E, Tressol JC, Mazur A, Rayssiguier Y.
Centre de Recherche en Nutrition Humaine d'Auvergne, Laboratoire des Maladies Métaboliques et Micronutriments, INRA de Theix/Clermont-Ferrand, Saint-Genès-Champanelle, France. coudray@ensam.inra.fr

Literature data on the bioavailability of various Mg forms provide scarce information on the best Mg salt to be used in animal and human supplementation. This study aimed to investigate the bioavailability of different forms of Mg in rats using Mg stable isotopes. Eighty male Wistar rats aged 6 weeks were fed a semi-purified Mg-depleted diet for three weeks. The rats were then randomised into ten groups and received, for two more weeks, the same diet repleted with Mg (550 mg Mg/kg [of food, not body wt]) as: oxide, chloride, sulphate, carbonate, acetate, pidolate, citrate, gluconate, lactate or aspartate. After 10 days of Mg-repleted diet, the rats received orally 1.8 mg of an enriched 26Mg. Faeces and urine were then collected for 4 consecutive days. Isotope ratios in faeces and urine were determined. The Mg absorption values obtained varied from 50% to 67%. Organic Mg salts were slightly more available than inorganic Mg salts. Mg gluconate exhibited the highest Mg bioavailability of the ten Mg salts studied. Urinary 26Mg excretion varied from 0.20 mg to 0.33 mg, and feeding with the organic pidolate, citrate, gluconate and aspartate salts resulted in higher urinary 26Mg excretion than with inorganic salts. Ultimately, 26Mg retention was higher in the rats receiving the organic salts such as gluconate, lactate and aspartate than in those receiving the inorganic salts. Taken together, these results indicate that 26Mg is sufficiently bioavailable from the ten different Mg salts studied in the present experiment, although Mg gluconate exhibited the highest bioavailability under these experimental conditions.

PMID: 16548135


This is an interesting study where they look at both "compensation of Mg deficiency" and "anti-inflammatory activity". You can't tell from the abstract how they measured compensation of deficiency, but at least the anti-inflammatory endpoint represents the true cellular absorption that you really care about. It's where the rubber meets the road, as it were. Here, the orderings are mostly reversed, with orotate the best, but chloride close. Curiously, orotate and chloride are the worst at the "compensation of Mg deficiency" metric, but this may not be very meaningful, given that magnesium levels are hard to determine correctly and this may have been a condition of severe deficiency; it might not be entirely relevant to typical humans with decent diet.

Vopr Pitan. 2007;76(5):67-73.
[Study of anti-inflammatory activity of some organic and inorganic magnesium salts in rats fed with magnesium-deficient diet][Article in Russian]
Spasov AA, Iezhitsa IN, Kravchenko MS, Kharitonova MV.

The purpose of the present research was comparative study of anti-inflammatory action of some Mg salts in rats fed with Mg-deficient diet. It was shown in our study that administration of Mg L-aspartate with pyridoxine leads to higher compensation of Mg deficiency in rats with diet-induced Mg depletion as compared with other Mg supplementations. According to the Mg deficiency correction rate Mg salts may be ranged in the following order: Mg L-aspartate with pyridoxine > or = Mg chloride with pyridoxine > or = Mg lactate with pyridoxine > or = Mg L-aspartate > Mg chloride > Mg orotate. In our study administration of Mg salts resulted in decreased number of blood leukocytes, reduced peripheral vasodilation visible in the external ear, decreased spleen weight, and as consequences in reduced inflammatory and immunological response. According to correction rate of the inflammatory response Mg salts may be ranged in the following order: Mg orotate > or = Mg chloride > or = Mg chloride with pyridoxine > or = Mg L-aspartate > or = MgL-aspartate with pyridoxine > or = Mg lactate with pyridoxine.

PMID: 18030818


There is a wealth of evidence that Magnesium Orotate is beneficial in situations ranging from athletic performance to survival of heart disease patients. This is good clinical data from humans, looking at the endpoints we really care about as opposed to levels in bodily fluids. The question is, is it due to better magnesium utilization or to the orotate counterion itself? This paper would suggest that it's the orotate itself, although they describe it as a "cellular fixative of magnesium" (whatever that means).

Vestn Ross Akad Med Nauk. 2002;(2):39-41.
[Orotic acid as a metabolic agent][Article in Russian]
Stepura OB, Tomaeva FE, Zvereva TV.

The paper reviews clinical and experimental studies into the mechanisms of action of orotic acid (OA). OA has been shown to take an active participation in metabolic processes in the body. As a pyrimidine precursor, it plays a key role in the biosynthesis of nucleic acids and protein, regulates water-salt exchange, by increasing diuresis and reducing the volume of extracellular fluid. OA is also a cellular fixative of magnesium by producing pronounced antiarrhythmic, vasodulator, and cardioprotective effects. OA has ascertained to stimulate erythro- and leukopoiesis. The involvement of OA in metabolic processes explains its cardio- and neuroprotective effects. By enhancing the resistance of myocytes to ischemia, OA favourably affects the clinical course of myocardial infarction and on manifestations of heart failure. OA has been noted to have an angioprotective action and to play an important role in the energy provision of the hypertrophic myocardium, by increasing its contractility. The ability to enhance the functional reserves of the heart adapted to higher exercises accounts for its use in sportive medicine. When there are emergency emotional and vestibular stimuli, OA drugs show an antistressor actions and are effective in treating patients with borderline nervous and mental disorders. Whether OA can be used to treat gastrointestinal diseases is to be clarified.

PMID: 11924127


My approach to the magnesium question is to use orotate, but due to its high cost, I only take 200 mg a day. I get the rest of my Mg from my diet and multi. This runs me about 27 cents a day. I use the orotate from Kal. I started using it for the promise of better athletic performance, but I think I'm sleeping better and am calmer since using it.

Edited by niner, 29 May 2008 - 01:40 AM.

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#19 snake

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 06:16 PM

i take this form to help me relax and hopefully help the heart

http://www.aor.ca/in...dio_mag_2.0.php
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#20 javyn

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 06:30 PM

Hmm teh orotate looks great, but way out of my budget. I think I'm going to try the Bluebonnet one I posted. Thanks a lot guys!
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#21 nameless

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 06:45 PM

My approach to the magnesium question is to use orotate, but due to it's high cost, I only take 200 mg a day. I get the rest of my Mg from my diet and multi. This runs me about 27 cents a day. I use the orotate from Kal. I started using it for the promise of better athletic performance, but I think I'm sleeping better and am calmer since using it.


How much of the KAL orotate is elemental magnesium? The label on the KAL bottles lists 200mg, but that does that mean total including orotate or actual magnesium ? I emailed them once asking to clarify how much elemental is in it, but they never replied back.

I also found a post in a different forum about KAL orotate, where a poster theorizes there may be only 14mg elemental per tablet - http://www.dr-bob.or...sgs/503184.html

Cardio-Mag by AOR is a good brand of Orotate, and it has 50mg elemental per capsule. So the KAL tablets would have to have 100mg Mag per tablet. Are they really giant pills? I mean... really giant...

Orotate is usualy expensive too, so I'm wondering how they manage to sell a month's supply at 200mg/daily, for under $10. And I've seen going for under $7 online.
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#22 mitkat

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 06:47 PM

I'm alternating between magnesium malate and orotate until the malate runs out. Most likely will be follow niner and take a low dose as a single supp and rely on other sources for it.
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#23 DukeNukem

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 07:28 PM

>>> I just realized I forgot to add in the mag/cal yields in my IP6.

Not sure exactly what you mean, but I wouldn't take IP6 within several hours of taking any mineral supplement, as IP6 will bind with many many minerals and metals.
http://en.wikipedia....iki/Phytic_acid

>>> I take the Source Naturals brand which contains magnesium citrate, taurinate, glycinate and succinate.

This is the one I take, too (2 per day).
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#24 mikeinnaples

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 08:24 PM

>>> I just realized I forgot to add in the mag/cal yields in my IP6.

Not sure exactly what you mean, but I wouldn't take IP6 within several hours of taking any mineral supplement, as IP6 will bind with many many minerals and metals.
http://en.wikipedia....iki/Phytic_acid

>>> I take the Source Naturals brand which contains magnesium citrate, taurinate, glycinate and succinate.

This is the one I take, too (2 per day).



Speaking of source naturals.....

IP6
Supplement Facts
Serving Size: 3 Tablets
Servings per Container: 30
Amount Per Serving % Daily Value

Sodium 5 mg <2%

Total Carbohydrates 1 g <2%

Calcium (as calcium-magnesium inositol hexaphosphate) 730 mg 70%

Magnesium (as calcium-magnesium inositol hexaphosphate) 185 mg 45%

Calcium-Magnesium Inositol Hexaphosphate 3.48 g *

Yielding: IP-6 2.4 g *


*Daily value not established.





Am I just misunderstanding this?
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#25 krillin

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 11:45 PM

The Kal product is suspicious. With powder from BAC, 200 mg Mg/day costs $8.12/month = 27 cents/day = what Niner pays for Kal. I take about 3 g of the powder (about 220 mg Mg) in yogurt because it doesn't mix with water at all. At least it's tasteless. I can't report any changes after it replaced citrate.

Can anyone find the study(ies) that found that malate was so much better at chelating aluminum? I found these which didn't find a qualitative difference between it and citrate. They both increase aluminum absorption and excretion.

Food Addit Contam. 1996 Jan;13(1):21-7.
Influence of organic acids on aluminium absorption and storage in rat tissues.
Testolin G, Erba D, Ciappellano S, Bermano G.
Department of Food Science and Technology, University of Milan, Italy.

Six groups of 16 rats each were fed a standard diet for 8 weeks. Aluminium (Al) complexed with organic anions (citrate, lactate, malate, or tartrate) was added to the diet of four of the groups and aluminium hydroxide to the diet of one group (control 'Al +'). Aluminium concentrations in the diets were 1500-2000 mg/kg. The sixth group (control 'Al -') served as control. Plasma, bone (femur), kidneys, cerebral cortex and cerebellum levels of aluminium were determined at 4 and 8 weeks. All the complexing agents increased tissue accumulations, compared with values in the two control groups, especially citrate in bone and kidneys and lactate in cerebral cortex. There were no significant differences (P < 0.05) in aluminium levels in the tissues considered between the 'Al +' and 'Al -' control groups. Our results show the ability of dietary organic acids to increase aluminium absorption and tissue accumulation and indicate that concurrent intake of aluminium and dietary organic acids is not appropriate.

PMID: 8647304

Res Commun Chem Pathol Pharmacol. 1993 Mar;79(3):377-80.
Effect of various dietary constituents on gastrointestinal absorption of aluminum from drinking water and diet.
Domingo JL, Gomez M, Sanchez DJ, Llobet JM, Corbella J.
Laboratory of Toxicology and Biochemistry, School of Medicine, University of Barcelona, Reus, Spain.

The influence of some frequent dietary constituents on gastrointestinal absorption of aluminum from drinking water and diet was investigated in mice. Eight groups of male mice received lactic (57.6 mg/kg/day), tartaric (96 mg/kg/day), gluconic (125.4 mg/kg/day), malic (85.8 mg/kg/day), succinic (75.6 mg/kg/day), ascorbic (112.6 mg/kg/day), citric (124 mg/kg/day), and oxalic (80.6 mg/kg/day) acids in the drinking water for one month. At the end of this period, animals were killed and aluminum concentrations in liver, spleen, kidney, brain, and bone were determined. All the dietary constituents significantly increased the aluminum levels in bone, whereas brain aluminum concentrations were also raised by the intake of lactic, gluconic, malic, citric, and oxalic acids. The levels of aluminum found in spleen were significantly increased by gluconic and ascorbic acids, whereas gluconic and oxalic acids also raised the concentrations of aluminum found in kidneys. Because of the wide presence and consumption of the above dietary constituents, in order to prevent aluminum accumulation and toxicity we suggest a drastic limitation of human exposure to aluminum.

PMID: 8480083

J Toxicol Clin Toxicol. 1988;26(1-2):67-79.
Citric, malic and succinic acids as possible alternatives to deferoxamine in aluminum toxicity.
Domingo JL, Gómez M, Llobet JM, Corbella J.
Laboratory of Toxicology & Biochemistry, School of Medicine, University of Barcelona, Reus, Spain.

The effect of repeated intraperitoneal administration of deferoxamine, citric, malic and succinic acids on the distribution and excretion of aluminum was determined in male Swiss mice which had previously received aluminum nitrate intraperitoneally at a daily dose of 0.27 mmol/kg for five weeks. Chelating agents were administered for two weeks at doses approximately equal to one-fourth of their respective LD50. Treatment with DFOA, citric, malic or succinic acids significantly increased the fecal and urinary excretion of aluminum and reduced the concentration of aluminum found in various organs and tissues, with citric acid being the most effective. In sight of these results, citric, malic or succinic acids may be considered as alternatives to deferoxamine in aluminum toxicity. However, further investigations are required previous to the possible use of these compounds in human aluminum poisoning.

PMID: 3385849
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#26 javyn

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 11:54 PM

Interesting... I went ahead and ordered a pound of citrate instead of the aspartate for lower cost. Not going to pay for the orotate and citrate is close enough to aspartate. I wonder if taking magnesium along with MSM would give any sort of synergistic effects like vit C + lysine, vit C + MSM, ZMA, etc.
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#27 ajnast4r

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Posted 29 May 2008 - 01:50 AM

i use albion glycinate, which is imo the best... cheap and has a fair amount of HUMAN studies behind it. orotate is good but way too expensive from reputable manufacturers
http://www.albion-an...ter/2003Oct.pdf

i try to get all my minerals from albion if possible... they are at the top of supplemental mineral science imo. top notch quality, great r&d and HUMAN studies on all their minerals.

vitacost has carlson chelated magnesium which is albion glycinate, at 17$ for 180 tabs @ 200mg each

Edited by ajnast4r, 29 May 2008 - 01:52 AM.

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#28 niner

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Posted 29 May 2008 - 02:51 AM

My approach to the magnesium question is to use orotate, but due to it's high cost, I only take 200 mg a day. I get the rest of my Mg from my diet and multi. This runs me about 27 cents a day. I use the orotate from Kal. I started using it for the promise of better athletic performance, but I think I'm sleeping better and am calmer since using it.


How much of the KAL orotate is elemental magnesium? The label on the KAL bottles lists 200mg, but that does that mean total including orotate or actual magnesium ? I emailed them once asking to clarify how much elemental is in it, but they never replied back.

I also found a post in a different forum about KAL orotate, where a poster theorizes there may be only 14mg elemental per tablet - http://www.dr-bob.or...sgs/503184.html

Cardio-Mag by AOR is a good brand of Orotate, and it has 50mg elemental per capsule. So the KAL tablets would have to have 100mg Mag per tablet. Are they really giant pills? I mean... really giant...

Orotate is usualy expensive too, so I'm wondering how they manage to sell a month's supply at 200mg/daily, for under $10. And I've seen going for under $7 online.

I just looked at a bottle of KAL magnesium orotate, and it says 200mg Mg (as Mg orotate) per dose, which is two tablets. This is the wording that is normally used to express an elemental composition; X mg element (as species). I also weighed the tablets, and they are 1.5 grams each, so the 200 mg Mg is contained in 3 grams of tablets.

Magnesium orotate is 334.6 gm/m, Mg = 24.3 gm/m, so 1.5 gm magnesium orotate contains 109mg of elemental magnesium. If you figure that some of the tablet is taken up by binders or other tabletting stuff, it looks like the KAL Mag orotate is the real thing. I'm not sure how they do it that cheaply, but tabletting is not that expensive.
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#29 nameless

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Posted 29 May 2008 - 03:10 AM

Magnesium orotate is 334.6 gm/m, Mg = 24.3 gm/m, so 1.5 gm magnesium orotate contains 109mg of elemental magnesium. If you figure that some of the tablet is taken up by binders or other tabletting stuff, it looks like the KAL Mag orotate is the real thing. I'm not sure how they do it that cheaply, but tabletting is not that expensive.


It does sound like it's the real thing. If you said the tablets were really small, I'd wonder, but at 1.5 grams each, it sounds right. I now wonder how high a markup AOR is charging, at about 3x the price as the KAL mag orotate. They are probably making a nice profit there.
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#30 yoyo

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Posted 29 May 2008 - 03:19 AM

i've never noticed a laxative effect of magnesium citrate.
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