Running on Magnesium Citrate vs Glycinate for Athletes

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Cross Training For Runners
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Written by :

David Dack

In the quest for optimal performance, every runner knows that the devil is in the details—nutrition, recovery, and supplementation play pivotal roles in breaking through personal barriers. Among the myriad of supplements crowding the market, magnesium stands out for its critical function in athlete performance and recovery.

However, with various forms of magnesium available, choosing the right one can be overwhelming. This brings us to a common question among the running community: magnesium citrate vs glycinate—which is better for athletes?

Understanding Magnesium’s Role in Running

The Importance of Magnesium for Athletes

Magnesium is a powerhouse mineral essential for over 300 biochemical reactions in the body, including muscle function, energy production, and the regulation of blood pressure. For runners, magnesium’s ability to improve oxygen uptake and decrease lactic acid buildup can mean the difference between a personal best and a painful cramp.

Why the Type of Magnesium Matters

Not all magnesium supplements are created equal. The body’s ability to absorb and utilize magnesium depends significantly on the form it’s ingested in. This is where magnesium citrate and magnesium glycinate come into play, offering two of the most bioavailable options for athletes.

Magnesium Citrate vs Glycinate

To make an informed decision, let’s dive into the specifics of magnesium citrate and magnesium glycinate, examining their benefits, drawbacks, and optimal uses for runners.

Magnesium Citrate: The Energy Booster

Magnesium citrate is a combination of magnesium and citric acid. Known for its laxative properties, it’s also highly effective in improving digestion and preventing constipation—a common issue among athletes pushing their limits.


  • Enhanced Absorption: Easily absorbed by the body, making it a quick solution for replenishing magnesium levels.
  • Energy Production: Assists in the conversion of food into energy, vital for long-distance runners.


  • Laxative Effect: While beneficial for digestive health, its laxative properties can be a drawback for some athletes, especially before a race.

Magnesium Glycinate: The Recovery Aid

Magnesium glycinate combines magnesium with glycine, a calming amino acid. This form is praised for its benefits on sleep, recovery, and muscle health, making it a favorite among athletes for post-workout supplementation.


  • Muscle Relaxation and Recovery: Helps in muscle repair and recovery, reducing soreness and the risk of cramps.
  • Improved Sleep Quality: The calming effect of glycine aids in achieving restorative sleep, crucial for athlete recovery.


  • Cost: Typically more expensive than magnesium citrate due to its specialized formulation.

Which Magnesium Is Right for You?

Running Performance and Magnesium Citrate

For runners focused on optimizing energy levels and maintaining a healthy digestive system, magnesium citrate can be an excellent addition to their supplementation regimen. It’s especially useful for athletes who struggle with magnesium deficiency or those looking to improve their metabolic efficiency.

Recovery and Magnesium Glycinate

If recovery, muscle health, and sleep quality are your primary concerns, magnesium glycinate might be the better choice. Its ability to promote relaxation and reduce muscle soreness can significantly enhance recovery times, making it ideal for runners in intensive training cycles or those recovering from injury.

Incorporating Magnesium into Your Running Routine

Regardless of the form you choose, integrating magnesium into your supplementation routine requires a thoughtful approach. Here are some tips for getting started:

  • Consult a Healthcare Professional: Before adding any supplement to your regimen, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare provider, especially if you have underlying health conditions.
  • Start Slow: Begin with a lower dose to assess your body’s response and adjust as needed.
  • Monitor Your Body: Pay attention to how your body reacts. If you experience adverse effects, consider adjusting the dosage or trying a different form of magnesium.


The debate between magnesium citrate vs glycinate is not about finding a one-size-fits-all solution but understanding which form aligns best with your specific athletic needs and goals.

Whether you’re looking to boost your energy levels for that marathon or enhance your recovery after a rigorous training session, magnesium can be a game-changer in your running performance and overall well-being.

By making an informed choice between magnesium citrate and glycinate, you empower yourself to run not just harder, but smarter, paving the way for greater achievements on the track and beyond.

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