Forms of Magnesium

Below is a list of many different forms of magnesium with some of the properties and common uses. It should be remembered that all ingested (oral) forms of magnesium are laxatives and not recommended for regular, internal use by Health and Wisdom.

Magnesium acetate is the magnesium salt of acetic acid. It is deliquescent and upon heating, it decomposes to form magnesium oxide.

Magnesium aluminide is an intermetallic compound of magnesium and aluminum. Like many intermetallics, its compounds often have unusual stoichiometries with large and complex unit cells.

Magnesium aspartate, the magnesium salt of aspartic acid, is a mineral supplement.

Magnesium benzoate is a chemical compound formed from magnesium and benzoic acid. It was once used to treat gout and arthritis.

Magnesium bromide is a chemical compound of magnesium and bromine that is white and deliquescent. It is often used as a mild sedative and as an anticonvulsant for treatment of nervous disorders. It is water soluble and somewhat soluble in alcohol. It can be found naturally in small amounts in some minerals such as: bischofite and carnallite, and in sea water, such as that of the Dead Sea.

Magnesium carbonate is a white solid that occurs in nature as a mineral. Magnesium carbonate is also used in flooring, fireproofing, fire extinguishing compositions, cosmetics, dusting powder, and toothpaste. Other applications are as filler material, smoke suppressant in plastics, a reinforcing agent in neoprene rubber, a drying agent, a laxative to loosen the bowels, and color retention in foods. In addition, high purity magnesium carbonate is used as antacid and as an additive in table salt to keep it free flowing. Because of its water-insoluble, hygroscopic properties MgCO3 was first added to salt in 1911 to make the salt flow more freely. The Morton Salt company adopted the slogan “When it rains it pours” in reference to the fact that its salt would not stick together in humid weather.

  • Magnesium carbonate, most often referred to as chalk, is used as a drying agent for hands in rock climbing, gymnastics, and weight lifting.
  • Magnesium carbonate is also used in taxidermy for whitening skulls. It can be mixed with hydrogen peroxide to create a paste, which is then spread on the skull to give it a white finish. This mixture is also used to whiten teeth and the astringent properties tighten gums. Adding magnesium carbonate to any oral hygiene regimen is beneficial.
  • Magnesium carbonate hydroxide is used to form clay in face masks, it has mild astringent properties and helps to smooth and soften (normal and dry) skin.
  • The only known side effect of magnesium as a food additive is that it may work as a laxative in high concentrations.
  • Magnesium carbonate itself is not toxic. However, its excessive use may cause central nervous system depression and cardiac disturbances. It is slightly hazardous in case of skin and eye contact and may cause respiratory and digestive tract irritation in case of ingestion or inhalation.
  • This is Health and Wisdom’s Magnesium Snow.

Magnesium chloride is typical ionic halides, being highly soluble in water. The hydrated magnesium chloride can be extracted from brine or sea water. Magnesium chloride as the natural mineral bischofite is also extracted (solution mining) out of ancient sea beds, for example the Zechstein seabed in northwest Europe and the Permian Period seabed in the central U.S.; wells; oceans; and natural brine lakes, such as the Dead Sea and the Great Salt Lake.

  • Anhydrous magnesium chloride is the principal precursor to magnesium metal, which is produced on a large scale. Hydrated magnesium chloride (hexahydrate) is the form usually used in prescription oral magnesium supplements.
  • Health and Wisdom’s Magnesium Oil (magnesium chloride) is mined as a liquid and is not reconstituted magnesium chloride hexahydrate. This form of magnesium chloride is also the base of our Magnesium Oil with Aloe Vera, Magnesium Gel, and Magnesium Gel with Aloe Vera.

Magnesium citrate, a magnesium salt of citric acid, is a chemical agent used medicinally as a saline laxative and to empty the bowel prior to a surgery or colonoscopy. It is available without a prescription, both as a generic brand or under the brand name Citromag or Citroma. It is also used as a magnesium supplement in pills. The magnesium content of magnesium citrate corresponds to about 11% by mass.

  • Magnesium citrate works by attracting water through the tissues by a process known as osmosis. Once in the intestine, it can attract enough water into the intestine to induce defecation. The additional water helps to create more feces, which naturally stimulates bowel motility. This means it can also be used to treat rectal and colon problems. Magnesium citrate functions best on an empty stomach, and should always be followed with a full (eight ounce) glass of water or juice to help the magnesium citrate absorb properly and help prevent any complications. Magnesium citrate is generally not a harmful substance, but care should be taken to consult with a health professional if any adverse health problems are suspected or felt.
  • Magnesium citrate, as a supplement in pill form, is also cited as useful for the prevention of kidney stones.

Magnesium diboride is a simple ionic binary compound that has proven to be an inexpensive and useful superconducting material.

Magnesium diglutamate is a magnesium acid salt of glutamic acid. It is used in foods as a flavor enhancer.

Magnesium diuranate is a compound of uranium. It is known in the uranium refining industry as “MDU” and forms the major part of some yellowcake mixtures. Yellowcakes are an intermediate product in the uranium refining process.

Magnesium fluoride is a white crystalline salt and is transparent over a wide range of wavelengths, with commercial uses in optics.

Magnesium gluconate is the magnesium salt of gluconic acid. There are data on the pharmacological properties of magnesium gluconate. Gluconic acid is the initial substrate for the reactions of pentose phosphate path of oxidation of glucose, so it was suggested that it may affect the energy metabolism of mitochondria. In Ukraine, magnesium gluconate, together with potassium gluconate in the drug “Rhythmocor” is used to treat heart disease. Pilot studies have shown efficacy in various cardiac arrhythmia. There is evidence that magnesium gluconate improves physical performance. This is possible due to the fact that structural gluconic acid is a component of pangamic acid, previously widely used in sports.

Magnesium hydride contains 7.66% by weight of hydrogen and has been studied as a potential hydrogen storage medium.

Magnesium hydroxide when suspended in water, it is often called milk of magnesia because of its milk-like appearance. The solid mineral form of magnesium hydroxide is known as brucite.

  • Magnesium hydroxide is a common component of antacids and laxatives; it interferes with the absorption of folic acid and iron. Magnesium hydroxide has low solubility in water; all of magnesium hydroxide that does dissolve does dissociate. Since the dissociation of this small amount of dissolved magnesium hydroxide is complete, magnesium hydroxide is considered a strong electrolyte. Its low solubility makes it a weak base.

Magnesium iodide is typical ionic halides, being highly soluble in water. Magnesium iodide has few commercial uses but can be used to prepare compounds for organic synthesis.

Magnesium lactate, the magnesium salt of lactic acid, is a mineral supplement and is added to some food and beverages as an acidity regulator.

Magnesium levulinate, the magnesium salt of levulinic acid, is a mineral supplement.

Magnesium L-threonate is a magnesium salt of L-threonic acid.

  • Researchers have found that magnesium L-threonate administered to rats significantly boosts their cognitive abilities, and suggest that the same effect may occur in humans, although further testing is required.

Magnesium malate, the magnesium salt of malic acid, is a mineral supplement.

Magnesium nitrate is very soluble in both water and ethanol. Magnesium nitrate occurs in mines and caverns as nitromagnesite. This form is not common, although it may be present where guano contacts magnesium-rich rock. It is used in the ceramics, printing, chemical and agriculture industries. Fertilizer blends containing magnesium nitrate usually have ammonium nitrate, calcium nitrate, potassium nitrate and micronutrients; these blends are used in the greenhouse and hydroponics trade. Since magnesium nitrate has a high affinity for water it is occasionally used as a desiccant.

Magnesium nitride is an inorganic compound of magnesium and nitrogen. At room temperature and pressure it is a greenish yellow powder. Magnesium nitride was the catalyst in the first practical synthesis of borazon (cubic boron nitride).

Magnesium orotate, the magnesium salt of orotic acid, is a mineral supplement.

Magnesium oxide, or magnesia, is a white solid mineral that occurs naturally as periclase and is a source of magnesium. It is formed by an ionic bond between one magnesium and one oxygen atom. Magnesium oxide is hygroscopic in nature and care must be taken to protect it from moisture.

  • Magnesium oxide was historically known as magnesia alba (literally, the white mineral from magnesia), to differentiate it from magnesia negra, a black mineral containing what is now known as manganese.
  • Magnesium oxide has a variety of uses. A refractory material is one that is physically and chemically stable at high temperatures. By far the largest consumer of magnesia worldwide is the refractory industry, which consumed about 56% of the magnesia in the United States in 2004, the remaining 44% being used in agricultural, chemical, construction, environmental, and other industrial applications.
  • Magnesium oxide is one of the raw materials for making Portland cement in dry process plants and is an efficient moisture absorbent used by many libraries for preserving books.
  • In medicine, magnesium oxide is used for relief of heartburn and sour stomach, as an antacid, magnesium supplement (although only about four to ten percent of the label dosage is reportedly absorbed by the body), and as a short-term laxative. It is also used to improve symptoms of indigestion. Magnesium oxide should not be taken with other antacids or acid reflux medication that limit or reduce stomach acid. Side effects of magnesium oxide may include nausea and cramping. In quantities sufficient to obtain a laxative effect, side effects of long-term use include enteroliths resulting in bowel obstruction.
  • Other uses of magnesium oxide include:
    • As an insulator in industrial cables, as a basic refractory material for crucibles and as a principal fireproofing ingredient in construction materials. As a construction material, magnesium oxide wallboards have several attractive characteristics: fire resistance, moisture resistance, mold and mildew resistance, and strength.
    • As a reference white color in colorimetry, owing to its good diffusing and reflectivity properties. It may be smoked onto the surface of an opaque material to form an integrating sphere.
    • Used extensively in electrical heating as a component of “CalRod”-styled heating elements. There are several mesh sizes available and most commonly used ones are 40 and 80 mesh per the American Foundry Society. The extensive use is due to its high dielectric strength and average thermal conductivity. It is usually crushed and compacted with minimal air gaps or voids. The electrical heating industry also experimented with aluminum oxide, but it is not used anymore.
    • Pressed magnesium oxide is used as an optical material. Crystalline pure magnesium oxide is available commercially and has small use in infrared optics.
    • It is packed around transuranic waste at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, to control the solubility of radionuclides.
    • It is also used as a protective coating in plasma displays.
    • Magnesium oxide treats water by decreasing surface tension, and creating smaller molecular water clusters. This treated water is beneficial for drinking, teas, cooking, watering plants, and increases the effectiveness of surfactant soaps and detergents used in laundry washing machines and in the bath – anyplace you use water, water treated by magnesium oxide is beneficial.
  • This is Health and Wisdom’s Magnesium Prills.

Magnesium perchlorate is a powerful oxidizing agent. It is sold under the trade name anhydrone. It was used as a desiccant to dry gas or air samples, but is no longer advised due to hazards inherent in perchlorates. It is dried by heating at 250 °C under vacuum.

Magnesium peroxide is a fine powder peroxide with a white to off-white color. It is similar to calcium peroxide because magnesium peroxide also releases oxygen by breaking down at a controlled rate with a hydrous fluid. Besides this it can be used in bleaching, disinfecting, and deodorizing.

  • Magnesium peroxide, being environmentally benign, and its stable oxygen release are used widely in the cosmetic, agricultural, pharmaceutical, and environmental industries. It is used to reduce contaminant levels in groundwater. Magnesium peroxide is used in the bioremediation of contaminated soil and can improve the soil quality for plant growth and metabolism. It is also used in the aquaculture industry for bioremediation.
  • Commercially, magnesium peroxide exists as a form of compound of magnesium peroxide and magnesium hydroxide. One medical use is as a mild laxative.

Magnesium phosphate is a general term for salts of magnesium and phosphate appearing in three forms with various forms used as laxatives and antacids.

  • Magnesium phosphate monobasic
  • Magnesium phosphate dibasic
  • Magnesium phosphate tribasic

Magnesium pidolate, the magnesium salt of pidolic acid (pyroglutamic acid), is a mineral supplement.

Magnesium salicylate is a common analgesic and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) used to treat mild to moderate muscular pain. It is also used to treat headaches, general back pain, and certain joint pains like arthritis.

  • It is found in a variety of over-the-counter (OTC) medications as an anti-inflammatory, primarily for back-pain relief.
  • Magnesium salicylate can be an effective OTC alternative to prescription NSAIDs, with both anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects. Though the recommended dosage is 1160 mg every six hours, per package directions of the Doan’s OTC brand (580 mg magnesium salicylate tetrahydrate, equivalent to 467.2 mg anhydrous magnesium salicylate), effective pain relief is often found with a half dosage, with reduced anti-inflammatory results. Note: Doan’s extra strength OTC dose is 2 x 580 mg magnesium salicylate tetrahydrate every 6 hours, equivalent to 934.4 mg of anhydrous magnesium salicylate.
  • While magnesium salicylate is an alternative for pain relief, it still is an NSAID like others in its category, without any proven superiority over other over the counter type pain relievers (NSAID).
  • Doan’s specifically, and the company producing it, Novartis, have been tried over their claim that the product is superior in providing pain relief. In June 1996, The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) charged the company with violating federal law with its unsubstantiated claim. In March 1998, the court ruled in favor of the FTC but there was no stipulation about how the company should or would have to mend its advertising/packaging. Thus, Doan’s is still marketed as a “superior treatment for back pain”.

Magnesium silicide is an inorganic compound consisting of magnesium and silicon. As a powder magnesium silicide is dark blue or slightly purple in color. Silicon dioxide found in sand and glass, when heated with magnesium forms magnesium silicide. Magnesium silicide is used to create aluminum alloys of the 6xxx group, containing up to approximately 1.5% magnesium silicide. An alloy of this group can be age-hardened to form Guinier-Preston zones and a very fine precipitate, both resulting in increased strength of the alloy.

Magnesium stearate, also called octadecanoic acid, magnesium salt, is a white substance which is solid at room temperature.

  • Magnesium stearate melts at about 88 °C, is not soluble in water, and is generally considered safe for human consumption at levels below 2500 mg/kg per day. In 1979, FDA’s Subcommittee on GRAS (generally recognized as safe) Substances (SCOGS) reported, “There is no evidence in the available information on … magnesium stearate … that demonstrates, or suggests reasonable grounds to suspect, a hazard to the public when they are used at levels that are now current and in the manner now practiced, or which might reasonably be expected in the future.”
  • Magnesium stearate is often used as a diluent in the manufacture of medical tablets, capsules and powders. In this regard, the substance is also useful, because it has lubricating properties, preventing ingredients from sticking to manufacturing equipment during the compression of chemical powders into solid tablets; magnesium stearate is the most commonly used lubricant for tablets. Studies have shown that as little as 1% of added magnesium stearate may affect the release time of the active ingredients in tablets, etc., but whether it reduces the over-all bioavailability of those ingredients is unpredictable.
  • Magnesium stearate is also used to bind sugar in hard candies and is a common ingredient in baby formulas. It is curious that society accepts the dangers of hydrogenated oil in foods but ignorance abounds when no one considers the addictive properties of this product. When babies are fed this from the start there should be little wonder obesity is more prevalent in children and young adults.
  • Magnesium stearate is manufactured from both animal and vegetable oils, often hydrogenated. Some nutritional supplements specify that the magnesium stearate used is sourced from vegetables.
  • Magnesium stearate is a major component of “bathtub rings”. When produced by soap and hard water, magnesium stearate and calcium stearate both form a white solid insoluble in water, and are collectively known as “soap scum”.

Magnesium sulfate (or magnesium sulphate) is commonly called Epsom salt, from the town of Epsom in Surrey, England, where the salt was distilled from the springs that arise where the porous chalk of the North Downs meets non-porous London clay. Another hydrate form is kieserite.

  • Anhydrous magnesium sulfate is used as a drying agent. Since the anhydrous form is hygroscopic (readily absorbs water from the air) and is therefore difficult to weigh accurately, the hydrate is often preferred when preparing solutions, for example in medical preparations. Epsom salt has been traditionally used as a component of bath salts.
  • Magnesium sulfate is the primary substance that causes the absorption of sound in seawater. Absorption, in this case, means the conversion of acoustic energy to heat energy. The conversion is a strong function of frequency. Lower frequencies are less affected by the salt, so that the acoustic energy travels much farther in the ocean. Boric acid also contributes to absorption; but the most abundant salt in seawater, sodium chloride, has no known effect on sound absorption.
  • Magnesium sulfates are common minerals in geological environments. Their occurrence is mostly connected with supergene processes. Some of them are also important constituents of evaporitic potassium-magnesium (K-Mg) salts deposits.
  • In agriculture and gardening, magnesium sulfate is used to correct magnesium deficiency in soil, since magnesium is an essential element in the chlorophyll molecule. It is most commonly applied to potted plants, or to magnesium-hungry crops, such as potatoes, roses, tomatoes, peppers and cannabis. The advantage of magnesium sulfate over other magnesium soil amendments (such as dolomitic lime) is its high solubility.
  • Magnesium sulfate is used in bath salts, particularly in flotation therapy where high concentrations raise the bath water’s specific gravity, effectively making the body more buoyant. This property is also used to restore some Lava lamps damaged by being shaken by exchanging the water and adding drops of a concentrated solution until sustainable buoyancy is reached. Traditionally, it is also used to prepare foot baths, intended to soothe sore feet. The reason for the inclusion of the salt is partially cosmetic: the increase in ionic strength prevents some of the temporary skin wrinkling (“pruning” – partial maceration) which is caused by prolonged immersion of extremities in pure water. However, magnesium sulfate can also be absorbed into the skin, reducing inflammation. It is also sometimes found in bottled mineral water, and accordingly is sometimes listed in the contents thereof. It may also be used as a coagulant for making tofu.
  • Magnesium sulfate heptahydrate is also used to maintain the magnesium concentration in marine aquaria which contain large amounts of stony corals as it is slowly depleted in their calcification process. In a magnesium-deficient marine aquarium calcium and alkalinity concentrations are very difficult to control because not enough magnesium is present to stabilize these ions in the saltwater and prevent their spontaneous precipitation into calcium carbonate.
  • Magnesium sulfate is often taken orally as a saline laxative. Epsom salt is also available in a gel form for topical application in treating aches and pains.
  • Indications for its internal use are:
    • Replacement therapy for hypomagnesaemia.
    • Magnesium sulfate is the first-line antiarrhythmic agent for torsades de pointes in cardiac arrest under the 2005 ECC guidelines and for managing quinidine-induced arrhythmias.
    • As a bronchodilator after beta-agonist and anticholinergic agents have been tried, e.g. in severe exacerbations of asthma. Recent studies have revealed that magnesium sulfate can be nebulized to reduce the symptoms of acute asthma. It is commonly administered via the intravenous route for the management of severe asthma attacks.
    • A 2004 research study showed that both magnesium and sulfate are absorbed through the skin when bathing in 1% w/v solution.
    • Magnesium sulfate can be used to treat eclampsia in pregnant women.
    • Magnesium sulfate can also delay labor in the case of premature labor, to delay preterm birth.
    • Intravenous magnesium sulfate may be able to prevent cerebral palsy in preterm babies.
  • Indications for topical use are:
    • Magnesium sulfate paste has been used as an agent for dehydrating (drawing) boils, carbuncles, and abscesses.
    • Magnesium sulfate solution has also been shown to be an effective aid in the fight against blemishes and acne when applied directly to problematic areas, usually in poultice form. If combined with water and made into a cream, it can be applied to the face to remove blackheads.
    • Soaking in a warm bath containing Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) can be beneficial to soothe, relax, and relieve herpes outbreak symptoms, such as itching and lesions relating to genital herpes and shingles. Beware of the contagious nature of herpes and do not touch the eyes or mouth when bathing.

Magnesium sulfide is a white crystalline material but often is encountered in an impure form that is brown and non-crystalline powder. It is generated industrially in the production of metallic iron.

Magnesium sulfite is the magnesium salt of sulfurous acid and is used in the manufacture of paper.

Magnesium taurate is a supplement that contains both magnesium mineral and the amino acid taurine. This combination provides better absorption in the intestines.

Magnesium trisilicate is an inorganic compound that is used as a food additive. The additive is often employed by fast food chains to absorb fatty acids and remove impurities that form in edible oils during the frying process.

  • On March 12, 2007, Chinese health authorities seized and halted the use of magnesium trisilicate at Shaanxi Province KFC franchises, suspecting it to be a possible carcinogen.
  • Magnesium trisilicate can be used as an antacid in the treatment of peptic ulcers. It increases the pH of gastric juice via a neutralization reaction. It also precipitates colloidal silica, which can coat gastrointestinal mucosa conferring further protection.
  • It can also be used in oral pharmaceutical formulations and food products as a glidant. It is also used therapeutically as an antacid, and also for the treatment of ciprofloxacin overdose or toxicity.

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