Unlocking the Power of Magnesium: A Review of Magnesium Complex

Unlocking the Power of Magnesium: A Review of Magnesium Complex

Jun 13, 2024Jessica Palin

Magnesium has become a darling of the supplement industry, with good reason. A lot of people are too low in magnesium, especially athletes who sweat a lot and lose a lot of minerals in the process. Magnesium is a miracle mineral for anything from sleep to stress management to performance enhancement. The problem though is that it is poorly understood due to a number of complexities.

The questions that are often asked include what form of magnesium is best for what need, what time of day should you take magnesium, how do you test magnesium levels or know that you have a deficiency and how do you know if the magnesium you take is actually absorbed? These are all very valid questions, especially given that the mere number of different kinds is a minefield on its own.

Types of Magnesium
  • Magnesium Citrate
  • Magnesium Chloride
  • Magnesium Glycinate
  • Magnesium Malate
  • Magnesium Oxide
  • Magnesium Taurate
  • Magnesium Oratate
  • Magnesium Sulphate
  • Magnesium Lactate
  • Magnesium Carbonate
  • Magnesium Threonate

I was surprised when looking at a number of magnesium supplements to see that they don’t always state which kind of magnesium is used, because the above all have different uses, different bioavailabilities (how much is absorbed and how much is peed out) and some might have such a laxative effect if not taken correctly that you sure as sh*t (pardon the pun) are not going to make it through the night despite taking it as a sleep aid!

So, let’s demystify the unanswered questions and confusion around this magnificent mineral.


We want a form of magnesium that is highly bioavailable.

Bioavailability is the proportion of magnesium that actually enters your bloodstream and therefore able to have an active effect.

However, there are limits to this. Take magnesium citrate as an example: it has high bioavailability but its absorbed so quickly that it has an impressive diarrhoetic effect, in which case there was no point to taking magnesium in the first place because you’re losing water and therefore minerals. So yes, it’s highly absorbable, but it’s also going to run right through you!


If you’re unsure if you’re deficient, you want to take a Red Blood Cell (RBC) magnesium test. A typical serum magnesium blood test only measures about 1% of your magnesium which is in the serum (blood plasma) and while it is an indicator, it doesn’t measure the bulk of the magnesium. We want the most of our magnesium in our red blood cells to be in our bone marrow, where it is actually going to be functional.

When you get a serum test and it shows high levels of magnesium, it could actually mean that you’re low in magnesium because when you’re deficient in magnesium, your body pulls it from the red blood cells and from the marrow and puts it into your bloodstream, which is why you get a high serum count. Get the RBC magnesium test.


Chelation means that a substance has the ability to bind with something, typically a heavy metal (and is therefore good for detoxing heavy metals as an example as it binds to the metal and transports it out of your system). A chelated form of magnesium is therefore typically superior as it can help excrete something or enhance the effect of something.

Magnesium Bath

Magnesium chloride or magnesium sulphate (Epsom salt) are popular forms for adding to a bath and is touted to be good for sore muscles and relaxation. When you bath in these, magnesium levels in our blood do indeed go up, but there is some controversy as to whether this is from absorption through the skin or through inhalation. It is a good strategy, but it may be less effective than we initially thought and while it’s a nice addition to a detox protocol, these forms are probably not a good daily source to keep your magnesium levels optimal.

Magnesium Through Food

You can get magnesium through food, notably through greens, nuts, seeds, dry beans, whole grains, wheat germ, wheat and oat bran. This might not be true for everyone but other than the greens and nuts, I don’t consume many of these in sufficient quantities to keep my magnesium levels topped up. I think this is one of those minerals where many people (especially people who exercise and sweat regularly) could benefit from supplementation, particularly for the sleep and relaxation benefits.

Magnesium deficiencies

Studies suggest that up to 75% of people don’t meet the recommended daily intake of magnesium. A deficiency could result in muscle cramps, fatigue and twitches, mood and depression concerns, osteoporosis, fatigue and high blood pressure. Now that we’re all magnesium magicians, let’s get down to the forms of magnesium included in the PrimeSelf Magnesium Complex.

What is in Magnesium Complex?

Magnesium Glycinate (as Bisglycinate Chelate from (TRAACSⓇ))

Magnesium Glycinate is transported through the intestinal wall, so it’s not going to give you the laxative issues that other forms of magnesium can have. On top of that, it has high bioavailability, making this an ideal form of magnesium. The only constraint is that it’s a relatively pricey form of magnesium.

This form of magnesium has a potent calming effect, especially due to the glycine that it is bound to, which is an amino acid with calming properties. It has been chelated and bound to glycine, which enhances its ability to calm nerves (without making you drowsy).

Not to get too sciency, but you get something called an NMDA receptor, which is the part of a neuron that acts as a gate to the neuron. The role of magnesium molecules is to sit on this gate and protect it from calcium. When calcium gets in the gate, an excitatory response is triggered which literally causes anxiety. If you have magnesium squatting on the gate acting as a guard, it will nullify this impact of calcium. If there is no magnesium guarding your neuron gate, boom, anxiety. Our bodies are so incredibly clever, but we need to give it the tools it needs to do its job.

Add to that the glycine element which has a calming effect on your neurotransmitters, magnesium glycinate is probably the gold standard of magnesium, especially when it comes to promoting restful sleep.

Magnesium Malate (as DiMagnesium Malate from TRAACSⓇ)

This chelated form of magnesium is compounded to be dimagnesium malate and allows the magnesium to be absorbed very, very slowly yet effectively. As a result, you get a sustained release of magnesium without the laxative effect.

What makes magnesium malate so interesting is that it’s quite powerful for the body’s energy production cycle (it supports ATP production which basically powers your cells to give you energy). Malate is the ionised form of malic acid, something that we find in unripe apples and it has powerful energy production abilities.

Magnesium malate is therefore really great for energising us while also addressing muscle pain by relaxing our muscles and preventing muscle cramps. Similarly to magnesium glycinate, magnesium malate promotes relaxation without drowsiness and won’t leave you feeling groggy. This is a useful supplement both in the morning and in the evening: it keeps you calm and focused during the day and aids relaxation at night.

Stacking tip: studies show that magnesium malate stacked with creatine improve time to exhaustion for endurance athletes, power increases and a reduction in body fat percentage.

Magnesium L-Threonate (as Magtein):

Magtein® is a patented form of Mg that readily crosses the blood-brain barrier for utilisation in the brain. Laboratory studies indicate that Magtein® supports brain health and may facilitate learning and memory, as well as a relaxed mood.  It actually became quite famous for its treatment of PTSD patients and has been used in a military context for this reason. There are also animal studies pointing to magnesium Threonate being very useful for short term memory enhancement.

Magnesium Threonate as Magtein® is again a highly available form of magnesium and popular for cognitive enhancement as well as sleep promotion and therefore a great addition to this supplement.

SHOP HERE: PrimeSelf Magnesium Complex

My Review of Magnesium Complex

If you comb through the extensive literature on magnesium, it consistently points to magnesium glycinate, malate and threonate being superior forms of magnesium, from a chelation, availability and effectiveness standpoint.

I started incorporating two capsules of Magnesium Complex in my morning and evening routine, using the maximum recommended dosage of 4 capsules per day. I’d previously been taking a magnesium citrate supplement combined with calcium but based on the research for this review I decided to make an immediate switch to using only Magnesium Complex so that I could properly assess its impact.

I love this product. I think this has had a more drastic impact on anxiety levels for me personally than a number of other nootropics which are known for promoting calmness, and my Oura ring score for restfulness has noticeably improved since using Magnesium Complex.

It’s difficult to review a measurable impact given that so many factors impact on our daily anxiety and restlessness levels, but it would be very difficult to convince me that Magnesium Complex didn’t have a material impact on both my ability to cope with daily stressors as well as improved sleep and a general sense of wellbeing, especially before bedtime.

As with all the PrimeSelf products, the dosages included in the supplement are on top of latest research recommendations and it is very cleverly formulated by including these particular forms of magnesium. They are the quality forms of magnesium and this is so important because nothing is more expensive than an inexpensive supplement that you pee straight out without providing any benefit.


This information does not serve as medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is for informational purposes only and does not provide a comprehensive explanation of the different compounds. Always consult your doctor first when making any changes to medication or supplementation.

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