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Magnesium Oxide vs. Magnesium Glycinate: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on January 2, 2024
Magnesium oxide is a compound with a high magnesium content but low bioavailability, commonly used for relief from acid reflux and constipation. Magnesium glycinate is a highly bioavailable form of magnesium, used for better sleep, anxiety reduction.

Key Differences

Magnesium oxide, a magnesium salt of oxygen, is known for its high magnesium concentration, making it a compact source of this mineral. However, its bioavailability is relatively low, meaning the body does not absorb it well. It's often used for medicinal purposes like treating heartburn and constipation. In contrast, magnesium glycinate, a combination of magnesium and the amino acid glycine, boasts high bioavailability. This form is gentler on the digestive system and is preferred for correcting magnesium deficiencies.
When it comes to gastrointestinal effects, magnesium oxide can sometimes cause discomfort, including diarrhea, due to its laxative properties. This is partly because the body does not absorb much of it, leaving more in the gut. On the other hand, magnesium glycinate is generally well-tolerated and less likely to cause digestive issues. Its combination with glycine makes it easier on the stomach, making it a preferred choice for long-term supplementation.
In terms of mental health benefits, magnesium glycinate is often recommended. Its calming effects, attributed to glycine, help in managing anxiety, stress, and sleep disorders. Magnesium oxide, while effective in some magnesium-related treatments, does not specifically target mental health issues due to its lower absorption rate and different chemical makeup.
For bone health, both forms are beneficial, but magnesium glycinate might offer an edge due to its superior absorption. Magnesium is crucial for bone formation and maintaining bone density. While magnesium oxide can contribute to this, its lower bioavailability might limit its effectiveness compared to magnesium glycinate.
In the context of heart health, both forms of magnesium play a role in maintaining healthy heart function. Magnesium oxide can be helpful due to its ability to alleviate conditions like acid reflux, which can indirectly affect heart health. Magnesium glycinate, with its better absorption, directly contributes to heart health by supporting normal heart rhythms and blood pressure regulation.

Comparison Chart



Primary Uses

Acid reflux, constipation relief
Sleep, anxiety relief, muscle relaxation

Effect on Digestive System

Possible discomfort, laxative effect
Gentler, less likely to cause issues

Mental Health Benefits

Not specific
Calming effect, good for anxiety, sleep

Absorption and Effect on Bone Health

Less effective due to low absorption
More effective, supports bone density

Magnesium Oxide and Magnesium Glycinate Definitions

Magnesium Oxide

Magnesium oxide is a white, odorless powder used as an antacid and laxative.
I took magnesium oxide to relieve my heartburn.

Magnesium Glycinate

It is a compound formed by combining magnesium with the amino acid glycine.
Magnesium glycinate is preferred for its calming properties.

Magnesium Oxide

It's an inorganic compound often utilized in agricultural, industrial, and medical applications.
The factory produces magnesium oxide for various industrial uses.

Magnesium Glycinate

This supplement is often used to improve sleep quality and manage anxiety.
Her nightly routine includes magnesium glycinate to help her sleep.

Magnesium Oxide

It acts as a magnesium supplement in treating deficiencies.
To correct his magnesium deficiency, John started taking magnesium oxide.

Magnesium Glycinate

Magnesium glycinate is a nutritional supplement known for its high bioavailability and gentle effect on the stomach.
He switched to magnesium glycinate for better absorption.

Magnesium Oxide

Magnesium oxide serves as a short-term remedy for constipation.
She used magnesium oxide to alleviate her constipation.

Magnesium Glycinate

Magnesium glycinate supports bone health and muscle function.
Athletes sometimes take magnesium glycinate for muscle recovery.

Magnesium Oxide

This compound is a source of magnesium in dietary supplements.
My doctor recommended magnesium oxide supplements to increase my magnesium intake.

Magnesium Glycinate

It is beneficial for overall heart health and maintaining normal blood pressure.
Magnesium glycinate contributes to his heart health regimen.


Does magnesium oxide cause any side effects?

It can cause gastrointestinal discomfort and has a laxative effect.

How does magnesium glycinate differ from magnesium oxide?

Magnesium glycinate has higher bioavailability and is gentler on the stomach.

What is magnesium oxide?

It's a compound used as a dietary supplement and for treating acid reflux and constipation.

Is magnesium glycinate good for sleep?

Yes, its calming properties aid in improving sleep quality.

Can magnesium oxide help with heartburn?

Yes, it's effective as an antacid for heartburn relief.

Can magnesium oxide be used for bone health?

Yes, but its lower absorption rate may limit effectiveness compared to magnesium glycinate.

Why is magnesium glycinate preferred for long-term use?

Its high bioavailability and fewer side effects make it suitable for long-term use.

Is magnesium glycinate beneficial for anxiety?

Yes, its calming effect is helpful in managing anxiety.

Can magnesium glycinate improve muscle function?

Yes, it's beneficial for muscle health and recovery.

Who should avoid magnesium oxide?

Those with kidney problems or those on certain medications should consult a doctor.

Is magnesium oxide safe for daily use?

Yes, but it's best used for short-term treatment due to potential side effects.

What are the dietary sources of magnesium?

Nuts, seeds, whole grains, and leafy green vegetables.

How does magnesium glycinate support heart health?

It aids in maintaining normal heart rhythms and blood pressure.

Are there any long-term risks of taking magnesium supplements?

Generally safe, but long-term use should be monitored by a healthcare provider.

How does magnesium oxide work as a laxative?

It draws water into the intestines, stimulating bowel movements.

Is magnesium glycinate suitable for children?

Consult a pediatrician, as dosages and suitability may vary.

Does magnesium glycinate interact with medications?

It can interact with some medications, so consult a healthcare provider before use.

Can magnesium oxide be used in pregnancy?

Consult a healthcare provider, as it's generally used for short-term relief.

How does magnesium glycinate compare to other magnesium forms?

It has better absorption and fewer side effects compared to many other forms.

Can magnesium oxide help with magnesium deficiency?

Yes, but magnesium glycinate may be more effective due to better absorption.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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