085: Picking The Right Type of Magnesium Supplements For Your Skin Rash Protocol

Magnesium supplements are probably one of the most common supplements that people take. As I shared in Part 1 of this conversation, magnesium is critical for over 300 biochemical reactions in your body!

It is important to convert Vitamin D to its active form.

It also activates ATP (your body's energy currency) that I've discussed in a previous episode HERE.

So yes, magnesium is critical to the proper functioning of your body. It's one of the most common nutrient depletions that I discover in clients.

But when it comes to picking the right form of magnesium, that's where things can get tricky!

In today's episode, I'm going to break all that down for you so you know what the best type is for you!

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In this episode:

  • 5 different types of magnesium to choose from
  • Differences between each form of magnesium (based on your symptoms)
  • The most absorbable magnesium supplements to take
  • Best test to check your magnesium levels
  • What can block magnesium absorption
  • When to avoid taking magnesium supplements


There are five forms that are most commonly available on the market — magnesium glycinate, magnesium citrate, magnesium oxide, magnesium threonate and magnesium malate. The type of magnesium that you take does matter, especially if you're more diarrhea or constipation prone, or if you want to go to sleep at night.

Absorption can be hindered in cases of celiac disease and IBD. And if you have gut dysbiosis, some unfriendly bugs hanging out in your gut can essentially steal magnesium from you before it's absorbed.

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Picking The Right Type of Magnesium Supplements For Your Skin Rash Protocol (Full Transcript)

Welcome back to episode #85 of the Healthy Skin Show! This is a continuation of the conversation we had in episode 83 about magnesium.

This episode's going to focus specifically on oral magnesium, so the stuff that you take by mouth and that you hope gets absorbed in your gut.

One interesting point to make is that absorption can be hindered due to diseases of the gut that also reduce the absorption of nutrients. Those would include celiac disease and IBD (Crohn's or Colitis).

The other piece that can impact absorption is if you have gut dysbiosis. This is where certain bugs that may have taken up residence in your gut have the capacity to essentially steal magnesium from you. They're snatching it up in your gut preventing you from absorbing it.

The way that you would know if that was happening is by looking at an organic acid panel test from your urine. You would look to see if there is an elevation in a very specific organic acid called Tricarb.

And one last critical piece to this puzzle is that the form you take matters. It must be in alignment with your health and with your symptoms. And there are different reasons why you might want to try a different form.

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Different Types Of Magnesium

So with that said, let's talk about the different forms of magnesium that you will find on the market.

There are five forms that are most commonly available on the market —  magnesium glycinate, magnesium citrate, magnesium oxide, magnesium threonate and magnesium malate.

They are not created equal. Some have effects that others will not.

The type of magnesium that you take does matter, especially if you're more diarrhea prone or if you want to go to sleep at night.

So let's start with magnesium glycinate.

Magnesium glycinate means that the magnesium is bound to glycine. You might also see it being sold as reacted magnesium, magnesium diglycinate or magnesium bisglycinate. But they're all the same thing and this particular form of magnesium is my go-to. (I've lately been loving MagSoothe powder.)

If a client shares with me that they struggle with loose stools or diarrhea, it is a very absorbable form and it does not cause the same type of bowel disturbances (AKA diarrhea) that some of the other forms can trigger.

Another form that is also highly absorbable is magnesium threonate. The one interesting thing about magnesium threonate is it is the one type of magnesium that can actually cross the blood-brain barrier.

So it said that it can help improve memory, sleep, and brain function. However, I have not found a single client yet who has seen an improvement in their sleep from taking this type of magnesium.

The next more absorbable form is called magnesium malate. Though it's a great option, you can't take it at night. It will increase energy that which is obviously not a good thing right before bedtime.

In my clinical practice, I recommend that magnesium malate isn't taken after 2:00 PM so that you do not disturb your sleep.

The final two forms of magnesium are much less absorbable, so they are better if you tend towards constipation.

Those two forms are magnesium citrate and magnesium oxide.

They can be really helpful if you have harder stools that end up like little pebbles, outright constipation, and difficulty and straining going to the bathroom. The reason is that they are not well absorbed in the gut so they can get things moving.

Out of the two, I prefer magnesium citrate (typically clients will get Natural Calm).

jack russel puppy with toilet paper

Which Type Of Magnesium Supplements Are Best For You

Here's the thing — the type of magnesium supplements that you choose are really personal.

It can also be situational. Allow me to share a very personal experience with this.

So you guys know that I talk about poop a lot, so I'm sure you won't mind me sharing this. You probably already know from my story that I am also way more diarrhea-prone. As a result, I typically take magnesium glycinate.

But if I get on a plane, I'm going to end up really constipated.

I know that pattern, so I'm always prepared and I bring magnesium citrate with me. Once I land, I will take magnesium citrate so that I can get things moving. Otherwise, it could take two to three days before I will start to go to the bathroom and it's very uncomfortable.

So in this instance, magnesium citrate is a really big help to address constipation due to air travel. And then once things are back to normal, I go back to magnesium glycinate.

Sometimes I'll mix in a little bit of magnesium citrate with my magnesium glycinate if I find that, for whatever reason, I've gotten a bit constipated.

This whole magnesium thing is like navigating a sailboat. You have to pay attention to the wind, the current and the speed of the water in order to determine what's going to be the best option for you and how much to take.

If you take too much magnesium citrate or oxide, it will cause diarrhea. Especially if you take it at night before bedtime, you will wake up and likely have to make a mad dash to the bathroom.

As you know, magnesium is really important, so if you have health concerns that I would spot on an intake with a client, like muscle cramps or muscle twitches, restless legs syndrome or having that kind of energy at night in your legs that won't allow you to go to sleep.

You're more constipated, have trouble falling asleep, struggle with energy crashes in the middle of the day, or if you're feeling anxious… Those can all be signs that you need more magnesium.

And if you're looking for a more lab-based reason why magnesium might be good for you, you can request that your doctor run a Red Blood Cell or erythrocyte magnesium level. That level tells you how much magnesium your red blood cells have to work with.

If you just take the magnesium level that's found floating around in the blood, that's not the most helpful form looking at it from a nutrition perspective.

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What's The Most Absorbable Type Of Magnesium Supplements

This might surprise you, but the way your magnesium is delivered matters.

Despite what people often think, there is a difference in absorption between capsules, tablets and effervescent powdered forms.

Effervescent powders are generally better absorbed than tablets or capsules.

It's not to say that you won't absorb tablets or capsules, but if you're looking to get the most bang for your buck, stick with the effervescent powder.

This is also my preference because you have way more control over how much you're taking. And you also have the option to blend different forms of magnesium together to get just the right combo for you.

I cannot leave this conversation where it is without explaining how to find the appropriate amount of magnesium for you.

If you decide to add magnesium into your routine, always check with your doctor first. Make sure that there are no contraindications with any medications you're taking or health conditions that you have.

Start with about one-half teaspoon (or a quarter of the total serving) of a powder form that contains in total serving size of 300 to 350 milligrams in two teaspoons.

Take that for a few days and see how you feel. If you haven't made any improvements to your bowel or sleep symptoms, increase it up to one teaspoon.

Again, stay there for a few days, see how you make out. If there is no change or improvement, try a teaspoon and a half.

You can see the pattern here of how you're slowly increasing the amount of magnesium that you take. But don't go crazy.

I recommend that you do not go above 450 to 500 milligrams of magnesium in a day on your own. If you need more, discuss your situation with your doctor or a nutritionist.

This is a good way to slowly titrating up and seeing how much your body actually needs as opposed to just taking what's suggested on the bottle and ending up with all sorts of gut problems like diarrhea.

By following this very simple pattern. It allows you to be better in touch with your body and it helps to keep things moving.

Once you figure out how much you need, you'll then have to adjust it based on what's going on with your body. For example, if you normally take say two teaspoons of magnesium citrate (300-350mg) and you start to get diarrhea, you would want to back off the amount that you're taking.

If you end up more constipated, you may have to increase the amount. But a significant change in symptoms means it's time to start questioning what's driving this change unless it's just a situational episode like my example of flying on planes.

Family doctor examination, young wife talks with specialist.

When Should You Avoid Taking Magnesium Supplements

Despite what you might think, everything has potential side effects and drug interactions that you should be aware of. That's why it's critical to discuss starting any supplement with your doctor first to make sure that you're not going to end up causing more health problems.

Most of the contraindications that I found for taking magnesium supplements are based on magnesium citrate.

Certain conditions warrant concern and potential avoidance of magnesium supplements including:

  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Bleeding disorders
  • Kidney issues and reduced function (such as kidney failure)
  • Seizures
  • Imbalances of magnesium (elevated) and sodium (low levels) in the blood
  • Appendicitis

If you are taking the following medications, discuss magnesium supplementation with your doctor:

  • Specific antibiotic classes (such as Aminoglycoside, Quinolone, Tetracycline)
  • Bisphosphate medications (ie. Fosamax, Actonel)
  • Calcium channel blockers (for high blood pressure)
  • Muscle relaxant medications
  • Water pills / diuretics (that are potassium-sparing)

With all this said, I really hope it's helpful because magnesium is a critical part of every single one of my clients' protocols. Finding the right form of magnesium for you or the right blend can be a game-changer!

If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below!

As always, please share this episode with someone you know who really needs to hear this information. Let's pass along that flame of inspiration and hope and spread the word together.

Thank you so much for tuning in and I will see you in the next episode!



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Absorption can be hindered in cases of celiac disease and IBD. And if you have gut dysbiosis, some unfriendly bugs hanging out in your gut can essentially steal magnesium from you before it's absorbed.

Jennifer Fugo, MS, CNS

Jennifer Fugo, MS, CNS is an integrative Clinical Nutritionist and the founder of Skinterrupt. She works with women who are fed up with chronic gut and skin rash issues discover the root causes and create a plan to get them back to a fuller, richer life.

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