Is Magnesium A Miracle Supplement? Tim Ferriss with Charles Poliquin

Doctor's Best Magnesium
Doctor’s Best Magnesium

After listening to world-class Olympic strength-trainer, Charles Poliquin, tell Tim Ferriss (during the “Charles Poliquin on Strength Training, Shredding Body Fat, and Increasing Testosterone and Sex Drive” podcast) that the supplement he most recommends for Americans is Magnesium, I went researching.*

I already get Magnesium in my daily multi-vitamin/multi-mineral. But Poliquin explained that he takes three different forms of chelated Magnesium. Poliquin was also emphatic about staying away from Magnesium oxide (which is the most common Magnesium product on store shelves) and instead use Chelated Magnesium (which I discovered is much tougher to find). Charles Poliquin details 21 reasons why you need a good Magnesium supplement.

Of course, I didn’t know what the hell Chelated meant. And I didn’t know why oxide was bad. Enter Google…

Chelated magnesium is the best

Livestrong’s article, Differences Between Magnesium Chelates and Magnesium Citrate, is a great resource:

“Chelated” basically means the magnesium is pre-attached to an amino acid carrier. Glycine is the smallest amino acid commonly found chelated to magnesium, making magnesium glycinate easiest to absorb and thus the ideal form of the nutrient for those attempting to correct a deficiency. Other forms of chelated magnesium include magnesium lysinate, magnesium orotate and magnesium taurate.

Why you don’t want magnesium citrate

Magnesium Citrate Laxative
Magnesium Citrate Laxative

If you have trouble pooping, you want Magnesium Citrate. As Livestrong further points outMagnesium citrate is magnesium with citric acid. This version of the mineral is useful due to its laxative effect. Sure enough, this is the exact form of magnesium that my Gastroenterologist instructed me to drink to clean out my intestines before for my colonoscopy.

Licensed pharmacist and functional medicine practitioner, Suzy Cohen, RPh, also mentions that Magnesium Citrate is great for constipation.

For our purposes here, we definitely do not want this commonly-available Magnesium Citrate.

Why magnesium oxide sucks

Dr. Weil states: look for magnesium citrate, chelate, or glycinate, and avoid magnesium oxide, which can be irritating to the digestive tract. (My note: I now know to stay away from the citrate form unless I want a laxative).

Read the supplement label

Always check the fine-print on the back of the supplement bottle. Many of the Chelated Magnesium products included Magnesium Oxide, Magnesium Citrate and amino acid chelate. NOT what I’m looking for. I want JUST chelated.

What I found at health food stores

Doctors Best Magnesium
Doctors Best Magnesium

At Sprout’s Farmers Market in Sacramento, I found KAL brand had separate bottles for: Magnesium Glycinate and Magnesium Taurate. These look pretty cool!

After further research online, I ended up purchasing Doctor’s Best High Absorption 100% Chelated Magnesium. The label states: Magnesium as glysinate/lysinate chelate. It’s gluten-free, non-GMO, vegetarian, and vegan. Doctor’s Best uses a patented, organic, chelated delivery form of magnesium to optimize bioavailability and GI tolerance. At all the health food stores, this was one of the few Magnesium products that is actually chelated – unlike the commonly-available oxide or citrate forms of Magnesium.

What Magnesium does Charles Poliquin sell on his site?

GabaMag Magnesium capsules from Trilogy Nutritional Supplements in Australia. Poliquin mentions taking GabaMag during his Tim Ferriss podcast.

Ubermag Px (which combines four different chelates of magnesium glycinate, fumarate, taurate, and orotate). As Poliquin’s website states: Chelates are far better absorbed than the inexpensive magnesium salts.

Where does Charles Poliquin talk about Magnesium?

In Tim Ferris’s podcast, Poliquin answers the question about Magnesium (starting at the 2:14:20 timestamp). He also mentions what type of Magnesium to look for: Threonate, Glycinate, Orotate, Lysinate. Poliquin likes to use all chelates, and mentions Threonate the most. He recommends a whopping 4g per day for men, and 2.4g per day for women.

Here’s what I found on Charles Poliquin’s website regarding Magnesium: The Best Replenishment Protocol for Low Magnesium. It includes dosages, as well as info on low-quality vs high-quality forms of Magnesium.

What other supplements does Poliquin recommend?: A really good Fish Oil, like OmegAvail™ Ultra with Vitamin D3, K1 & K2 from Designs for Health; and Zinc (glycinate, orotate, etc).

*As usual, ask you doctor about all this shit before going crazy with Magnesium.

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  1. Hi Reid,

    I found this article after a quick search online – thank you for taking the time to post this, it’s very useful.

    I recently listened to the podcast (and yesterday discovered to my dismay that Poliquin is no longer with us) and was about to revisit it to be reminded of Poliquin’s points and directions on magnesium.

    While magnesium is part of my daily vitamin supplement I’m looking to boost intake to help up my testosterone levels.



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