Magnesium Types

Top 10 Types of Magnesium Supplements (Best vs Worst)

If you’ve been thinking of taking a magnesium supplement, you’ve probably come across lots of different types — magnesium malate, glycinate, taurate, oxide… What do they all do? What’s the difference between the various types? In this article, we’ll compare the different types of magnesium and their benefits so you can choose the best form of magnesium for your specific needs.

What are the different types of magnesium supplements?

Magnesium Glycinate

Magnesium glycinate is a combination of magnesium and an amino acid called glycine. It’s a gentle, well-tolerated form of magnesium with a low risk of side effects, making it ideal for people with sensitive stomachs. It also has very good bioavailability, which means that a higher amount of magnesium is absorbed from the supplement. For those reasons, it’s among the better options for treating a magnesium deficiency. 

Magnesium glycinate is best known for its positive effects on mood and sleep. On its own and with magnesium, glycine has been shown to promote healthy sleep. Both have a relaxing effect on the brain, promoting the action of a calming neurotransmitter called GABA. Magnesium is also required to produce the mood-regulating hormone serotonin, which in turn is required to make the sleep hormone melatonin. 

In a review looking at different cases where magnesium glycinate had been given to people with mental health and mood disorders, it was shown to improve symptoms like depression, anxiety, substance abuse and more. In one case, alongside magnesium taurate, it even helped a patient to recover from a major depressive disorder. 

Magnesium glycinate may also have a positive effect on various types of pain. It’s commonly given to pregnant women to reduce muscle cramps, and there’s some evidence that it can help with chronic muscular pain and premenstrual cramps.

Looking to try magnesium glycinate? Read our in-depth guide to the best magnesium glycinate supplements.

Magnesium Malate

A combination of magnesium and malic acid, magnesium malate is another well-tolerated, highly bioavailable type of magnesium supplement. It’s believed to help with normal energy metabolism thanks to its role in the body’s natural energy production cycle. 

Malic acid acts as a catalyst for the production of ATP, a molecule that carries energy to your cells, and magnesium helps to transport ATP into the cells. Thanks to this synergistic relationship, magnesium malate is a popular supplement of choice for athletes, helping them to meet their extra ATP needs during intense exercise.

Magnesium malate is also commonly used as a natural remedy for fibromyalgia pain. People with this debilitating condition often experience severe muscle pain, but many claim that magnesium malate offers them relief. In studies that have tested this, one found that pain symptoms significantly improved in fibromyalgia patients, and another found that patients had less muscle pain and fewer sore spots around the body. 

Finally, the malic acid in magnesium malate may support healthy levels of iron absorption. Iron is needed to make hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen. A lack of iron can lead to iron deficiency anaemia, a condition that causes tiredness and breathlessness. Malic acid has been shown to boost the absorption of a type of iron mostly found in plant-based foods, making it an essential supplement for those who eat little or no animal products. 

Magnesium Taurate

Magnesium taurate is a combination of magnesium and taurine, an amino acid. It’s well-tolerated and highly bioavailable so it’s perfect for general supplementation, but it also has some important well-being benefits over other types of magnesium.

Both taurine and magnesium play a big role in managing blood glucose, or blood sugar. In fact, both magnesium and taurine are often found to be low in people who have diabetes, a condition where the body is unable to properly regulate blood sugar levels.  

Insulin resistance is a preceding factor in the development of pre-diabetes and diabetes. Magnesium is known to improve insulin resistance (as shown here, here, here, here, here, here, and here), potentially reducing diabetes risk by as much as 47%. If you’re looking to control your blood sugar to prevent or manage diabetes, research suggests that magnesium taurate may support this

Magnesium and taurine also play vital roles in the healthy functioning of the cardiovascular system, with low magnesium levels linked to problems like coronary heart disease. Boosting magnesium levels with a supplement has been shown to lower major heart disease risk factors like “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglycerides (fatty acids), boost protective HDL cholesterol, and reduce heart disease and stroke risk. Meanwhile, taurine also helps to optimize cholesterol and fatty acids and may protect the cardiovascular system from stress, injury, inflammation, and plaque formation

Together, magnesium and taurine are greater than the sum of their parts! This study states that magnesium and taurine can stop atherogenesis in its tracks, prevent an irregular heartbeat, and stabilise blood platelets, potentially reducing blood clot risk. And in this study, participants with the highest levels of both magnesium and taurine were shown to have a better cholesterol profile, a lower atherogenesis risk, and a healthier body weight.

Both magnesium and taurine have also been shown to lower blood pressure (see this study, this study, this study, and this one), with the effects even greater when they’re taken together. According to this study, the higher the taurine and magnesium levels, the healthier the blood pressure.

Magnesium L-threonate

Magnesium L-threonate is made up of magnesium and threonic acid, a by-product of vitamin C metabolism. Some types of magnesium are not all that effective at passing through the protective blood-brain barrier, but magnesium L-threonate was specifically designed by MIT researchers to solve this problem. Studies comparing magnesium L-threonate to other magnesium supplements, it has proven to be the most effective at boosting brain concentrations. 

Thanks to its ability to reach the brain, magnesium L-threonate has demonstrated some pretty impressive effects on cognitive performance and brain health. It’s been shown to increase the number of neural stem cells in the hippocampus, an area of the brain involved in learning and memory. It may also improve other cognitive functions like recall, focus, attention, and executive function (planning, starting, and carrying out tasks).

These functions depend on the density and adaptability of the synapses, or transmission sites, between brain cells. Magnesium L-threonate has been shown to improve both, leading to enhanced learning abilities and better long-term, short-term and working memory. And in a landmark human study, people taking magnesium L-threonate showed significant improvements in visual attention, task switching, processing speed, and executive function.

In that same human study, magnesium L-threonate was also shown to turn back the clock on brain aging. In the beginning, participants had an average age of 57, but their functional brain age was almost 70. By the end, their functional brain age was almost nine years younger! This may be due to the same protective effect we’ve seen in animals given magnesium L-threonate. It’s been shown to: 

Magnesium Citrate

Magnesium citrate is a combination of magnesium and citric acid, the substance that gives citrus fruits their tangy flavor. It’s often used to treat migraines and is a common ingredient in over-the-counter and prescription migraine remedies. When taken as a preventative remedy, three studies showed that magnesium citrate led to a reduction in migraine attacks (42% and 41.6% in two of the studies), with many participants reporting that their headaches were less intense when they did occur. 

In one of the migraine studies, however, some participants dropped out because of uncomfortable gastric side effects. That’s because magnesium citrate is also a very effective laxative! It’s often used to treat constipation as it relaxes the bowels and pulls water into the stool, helping to move things along. 

Magnesium citrate is reasonably bioavailable, but because of the laxative effect, we would recommend taking it in lower doses for anything other than constipation. 

Magnesium Orotate

Magnesium orotate is a combination of magnesium and orotic acid, a natural ingredient in genetic material like DNA. While more expensive than most types of magnesium, it is very well-tolerated and may have some benefits for those who are particularly interested in maintaining a healthy heart

We already know how important magnesium is for heart health, and orotic acid plays a major role too. One of its most important jobs is to support energy production in the heart and blood vessels, keeping your cardiovascular tissues healthy. It’s also been shown to help people with serious heart problems, repair injured cardiac muscle, improve heart function after a heart attack, and improve the survival rates of those with congestive heart failure. 

Magnesium Sulfate

You may know magnesium sulfate by its more common name: Epsom salts. People often dissolve these salts in the bath before a long soak to relieve sore muscles. You might also find magnesium sulfate in personal products like body lotions or balms. 

While people swear by magnesium sulfate to ease aches, pains, and stress, it’s not the best way to boost your overall magnesium levels. Limited amounts of magnesium will enter your system via the skin, so if you have a magnesium deficiency or you want to experience other benefits, then you’re better off choosing oral magnesium supplements instead. 

Magnesium Lactate

Magnesium lactate is a combination of magnesium and lactic acid, an acid produced by your muscles and blood cells. It’s a gentle form of magnesium that is easy on the stomach, well-absorbed, and doesn’t require stomach acid to work. That makes it especially beneficial for people who produce less stomach acid due to, for example, age or medications. 

One study found that people taking high doses of magnesium lactate experienced fewer digestive side effects than those taking other types of magnesium. If you need to take high doses due to, say, a magnesium deficiency, then magnesium lactate could be helpful in raising your levels without causing an upset stomach. 

Magnesium Chloride

Magnesium chloride is a combination of magnesium and chlorine. It’s perhaps best known for its positive effect on mood. In one study, magnesium chloride improved symptoms of depression and anxiety when taken alongside conventional treatments. In another, it was found to be just as effective on its own as a commonly prescribed antidepressant. 

Some people also take magnesium chloride to manage pain. It was found to reduce nerve pain significantly in one study, and it relieved muscular pain associated with fibromyalgia in another. 

Like magnesium sulfate, magnesium chloride is often found in topical skin products like lotions and balms. It’s reported to hydrate the skin, help repair its protective barrier, and ease inflammation. However, because magnesium is not absorbed well through the skin, it’s best to choose oral magnesium supplements if you’re looking for general benefits. 

Magnesium Oxide

Last on our list is magnesium oxide, a combination of magnesium and oxygen. This type of magnesium is very commonly used in supplements, but unfortunately, we can’t say that we recommend it. 

There are some evidence-based benefits, such as a reported positive effect on blood pressure and the ability to prevent or relieve migraines. However, magnesium oxide has a very poor absorption rate and is also the most likely to cause digestive side effects, even in lower doses.

That means you couldn’t take enough to treat a deficiency, for example, without risking a very upset stomach. Unless you’re looking for constipation treatment, then there are much more effective types of magnesium supplements for pretty much every need and benefit!

How to choose the best magnesium supplement for you?

If you’ve decided to take a magnesium supplement, it’s always best to purchase products from trusted brands that have their products tested by 3rd party labs to verify potency and purity, this helps to improve supplement safety and ensures you are receiving a high-quality product.

Below are our product suggestions based on various needs:

Best All-Round Magnesium Supplement

BioEmblem Triple Magnesium Complex

Experience the pinnacle of magnesium supplementation with BioEmblem Triple Magnesium Complex. Crafted for superior absorption, this unique blend of 300mg of Magnesium Glycinate, Malate, and Citrate is meticulously designed to support your muscles, nerves, and energy levels without compromise. Each form of magnesium in this formula is chelated, ensuring maximum bioavailability and efficacy. Ideal for those seeking a potent, vegan, and non-GMO magnesium supplement, this complex is gentle on the stomach and free from less absorbable and inexpensive fillers like magnesium oxide. At just $27.99 for 90 capsules, it’s an investment in your health that delivers real value and results.

BioEmblem’s commitment to quality and purity is unparalleled, with every batch made in the USA in an NSF-registered cGMP facility and rigorously third-party tested. This Triple Magnesium Complex not only supports healthy nerve and muscle function but also promotes heart health and energy production, playing a critical role in hundreds of enzymatic reactions in the body. Additionally, it aids in regulating essential nutrients such as calcium and zinc for strong bones and post-exercise muscle recovery. Choose BioEmblem for a clean, effective approach to magnesium supplementation, ensuring you receive all the benefits of magnesium without any artificial ingredients or preservatives.

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Best Magnesium Supplement for Sleep

Elevate your mind and body with MagTech Magnesium Supplement, your ultimate source for enhanced relaxation and brain health. At $36.95 for 90 capsules, this chelated magnesium complex brings together 200mg of the most clinically-tested forms of magnesium: Magtein Magnesium L-Threonate, Glycinate, and Taurate. Designed to maximize absorption and efficiency, MagTech is the key to unlocking improved sleep quality, memory enhancement, and cognitive function. Each capsule is a step towards supporting your brain’s health, boosting cell connectivity, and increasing synapse density, making every serving an investment in your well-being.

Crafted by the trusted, open-source company Natural Stacks, MagTech stands apart with its commitment to transparency, purity, and quality. With full label disclosure, third-party lab testing, and ingredient traceability, MagTech transcends generic supplements, offering you peace of mind alongside health benefits. Whether you’re looking to enhance cognition, support brain health, or simply improve your sleep quality, MagTech’s unique blend of magnesium forms provides targeted support for both relaxation and brain function. Make MagTech a part of your daily routine and feel the difference between a premier magnesium supplement tailored to your needs.

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Best Magnesium Supplement for Constipation

nbpure Mag O7

Discover the transformative power of nbpure Mag O7, the ultimate oxygenating digestive system cleanse. Priced at $41.50 for 180 capsules, Mag O7 offers a unique combination of magnesium oxide compounds, ozonated and stabilized to release oxygen throughout your digestive tract for over 12 hours. This powerful formula is designed not just as a stool softener but as a comprehensive detoxification tool, working overnight to cleanse and detoxify your colon. By taking 3 capsules at bedtime with water on an empty stomach for 7-10 days, you can achieve a full digestive cleanse, creating a healthier environment for beneficial probiotics and ensuring the removal of unwanted waste and harmful bacteria.

The benefits of Mag O7 extend beyond just cleansing; it supports oxygen supply, relieves occasional constipation, and promotes a healthy probiotic environment, all in an easy-to-use capsule form. With ingredients like magnesium, potassium, and certified organic rice flour, Mag O7 is gentle yet effective, breaking down and cleansing the digestive tract while removing old debris. Whether you’re looking to kickstart a detox regimen or maintain a clean, well-functioning digestive system, Mag O7 provides a reliable, all-natural solution tailored to your body’s needs.

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Best Magnesium Supplement for Kids

Natural Vitality Calm Kids Magnesium Gummies

Introducing Natural Vitality Calm Kids Magnesium Gummies, a delightful way to promote calmness and support healthy development in children. For just $22.78, you receive a bottle of 120 sweet citrus-flavored gummies designed to replenish magnesium levels, support a balanced mood, and aid in the healthy functioning of muscles, hearts, brains, and nervous systems. Made with magnesium citrate for better absorption and gentleness on the stomach, these chewable supplements are a kid-friendly solution for fostering a full body calm.

Crafted with organic cane sugar, organic tapioca syrup, and natural flavors, Natural Vitality’s gummies are not only tasty but also allergy-friendly, vegan, gluten-free, and free from artificial flavors or synthetic colors, ensuring a worry-free supplement for parents. Suitable for children ages 4 to 12 to take one gummy per day, and for teens and adults up to four gummies daily, these gummies are a part of Natural Vitality’s commitment to promoting calmfulness and reducing stress through the power of magnesium sourced from the ocean. Choose Natural Vitality Calm Kids for a holistic approach to stress relief and healthy development, backed by the brand’s long-standing reputation in the natural products market.

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Best Magnesium Supplement for Memory and Cognitive Function

Life Extension Neuro-Mag

Elevate your cognitive health with Life Extension Neuro-Mag, the premium brain health supplement designed to enhance memory, focus, and cognitive function. For just $30.75, you receive 90 vegetarian capsules of a highly absorbable, bioavailable magnesium that’s specifically formulated to cross the blood-brain barrier. This unique form of magnesium supports vital brain cell communication and signaling pathways, making it essential for learning, memory retention, and concentration.

Life Extension understands the importance of maintaining optimal magnesium levels for brain performance, recognizing that most diets fall short in providing enough magnesium. Supplementing with Neuro-Mag Magnesium L-Threonate complements your healthy lifestyle choices, keeping your brain functioning at its peak. The supplement is sourced from the finest raw ingredients, ensuring purity, potency, and suitability for vegetarians, gluten-free diets, and non-GMO preferences. Embrace over 40 years of dedicated research and live your healthiest life with a supplement that supports the crucial connections between your brain cells, so your memory remains sharp and your focus clear.

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Should I take a magnesium supplement?

In theory, you should be able to get all the magnesium you need from a diet with lots of magnesium-rich foods, such as: 

  • Spinach and other leafy greens 
  • Dark chocolate
  • Nuts 
  • Whole grains 

However, it’s generally agreed that many people don’t get the magnesium they need from their diets. Thanks to declining food standards, even foods that are supposed to be rich in magnesium don’t have as much as they used to.

In addition, certain health conditions and medications can also affect how your body absorbs, uses, or gets rid of magnesium.

So given that the consequences of magnesium deficiency are potentially very dire – many people opt to take a magnesium supplement.

Always remember to consult with a medical professional for personalised advice regarding a health condition and or before starting any new supplement regime.