Blog Posts

What is the Best Magnesium Type?

(Magnesium: The King of Minerals)


One of the most commonly used supplements in the world, magnesium acts in 300 enzymes in the human body, including cell-to-cell communication and production of ATP, DNA, RNA, and proteins.

These include protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, and blood pressure.

Serving a crucial role in calcium balance, magnesium keeps calcium in the bones, preventing arterial plaque buildup.

The amount of magnesium, even in a quality multi-vitamin, is insufficient.

Most notably, coronavirus, COVID-19 reminds us we need sufficient magnesium to absorb vitamin D supplements.

A recent study shows the modern diet provides only 50% of our 320 mg to 420 mg magnesium intake needs.

This makes supplementation essential for all health optimizers.

While outright deficiency rates are low, studies show magnesium insufficiency rates are as high as 80% in some populations.

Because of the modern diet and lifestyle, humans are consuming less magnesium than ever before.

Magnesium: The Heart Mineral

Central to heart health, magnesium keeps our heart beating. In fact, this electrical action preventing a sudden cardiac arrest might be more important than its management of blood pressure and heart disease.

Containing properties of a natural Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme ACE Inhibitor, Beta Blocker, Calcium Channel Blocker, Diuretic, and Vasodilator, magnesium performs well in studies lowering blood pressure, most notably in those with magnesium deficiency. It’s worth noting some believe potassium also plays a role in blood pressure regulation and should receive further attention. [R,R,R,R,R]

Magnesium: The Brain Mineral

As a key neurotransmitter signaling regulator, we increasingly view magnesium as a mood and cognition mineral. Enabling activation of NMDA glutamate and GABAA receptors, magnesium plays the role of a heavyweight champion.

Besides anxiety and depression, we can view magnesium as a sleep and anxiety supplement, as we know it is both a key cofactor in dopamine production and providing the brain neuroprotection. While managing serotonin toxicity, magnesium deficiencies can also result in lower acetylcholine levels. [R,R,R,R,R]

The #1 Magnesium Issue: Absorption

The best forms of magnesium are “bioavailable” in amino acid form. Chemistry calls these magnesium salts as they bind an acid with a basic, such as magnesium. Common examples of these include magnesium citrate, magnesium glycinate, magnesium malate, magnesium taurate. These “chelated” magnesium supplements are slightly more expensive. And instead of low absorption water solubility, amino acid chelates deliver high bioavailability, because of the use of protein pathways.

It’s important to remember only a small percentage of a magnesium supplement is elemental magnesium. Magnesium malate, containing 15.42% magnesium, means a 1,000 mg only offers 154.20 mg of magnesium. Even with this increase in absorption, we only achieve 30–40% absorption, so 140 mg would amount to a much lower amount of magnesium in the body. [R,R,R]

Magnesium Oxide: (Not Suitable for Increasing Magnesium Levels)

(Elemental Magnesium: 61%)

Magnesium oxide is a magnesium salt combining magnesium and oxygen. This form, being only 1% absorbable, is thus not suitable for anything other than constipation relief. Because of this, we find it as the primary active ingredient in milk of magnesia, a constipation reliever. [R,R,R]


  • Constipation
  • Heartburn
  • Indigestion


Magnesium Chloride — Multi-Purpose

(Elemental Magnesium: 12%)

Magnesium chloride is a magnesium supplement using chlorine, a naturally occurring mineral element. Popular for constipation, heartburn, low magnesium levels, and sore muscle topicals, magnesium chloride offers a multi-purpose magnesium supplement. Even though individuals use magnesium chloride topically for sore muscles, there is no evidence it boosts magnesium levels. [R,R,R]


  • Constipation
  • Heartburn
  • Indigestion
  • Sore Muscles in Topical Form


Magnesium Citrate — Constipation and Mood

(Elemental Magnesium: 11.23%)

Magnesium citrate is a magnesium supplement using citric acid as its acid-binding salt. Naturally occurring in citrus, this acid produces its sour, tart flavor. We also see commercial citric acid as a common food industry flavor preservative and enhancer.

Easily absorbed, magnesium citrate is one of the most popular magnesium supplements. It’s mainly used to raise magnesium levels and treat constipation. [R,R,R]


  • Constipation
  • Antioxidants
  • Depression


Magnesium Glycinate: (Anxiety and Sleep)

(Elemental Magnesium: 14.1%)

Magnesium glycinate is a magnesium supplement using the amino acid glycine as its binding acid. We use this naturally occurring and calming amino acid as a building block of protein, specifically collagen. It remains the top choice for those with anxiety issues.

Occurring in protein-rich foods, glycine might help in reducing anxiety, depression, insomnia, and stress. This form might assist in inflammatory conditions, including diabetes, and heart disease. [R,R,R]


  • Collagen
  • Relaxation
  • Mood
  • Sleep


Magnesium Lactate — Easy on Stomach and Calm

(Elemental Magnesium: 12%)

Magnesium lactate is a magnesium supplement using lactic acid as its binding acid. We see this acid as a blood and muscle byproduct and also made for use as a preservative and flavoring agent.

We see magnesium in use as a food additive for acidity and fortification. While a less popular supplement, magnesium lactate is easier on the stomach than other types. This makes magnesium lactate useful for weaker guts and those needing large doses. [R,R,R]


  • Easier on Stomach
  • Stress and Calm


Magnesium Malate — ATP, Cellular Energy, and Fibromyalgia

(Elemental Magnesium: 15.42%)

Magnesium malate is a magnesium supplement with malic acid as its binding acid. ATP is the body’s central energy source and malic acid can assist the body in creating and using energy more efficiently. This becomes a critical goal as we age.

Malic acid is naturally occurring in foods such as fruit and wine. With its sour taste, it is a food additive for enhancing flavor and adding acidity.

Highly absorbable, magnesium malate is gentle on the gastrointestinal system. We also witness magnesium malate recommended for fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue symptoms. [R,R,R]


  • Heavy Metal Detox
  • Natural Cellular Energy
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Easy on the Stomach with High Absorption


Magnesium Orotate — Cardiovascular Support

(Elemental Magnesium: 6.5%)

Magnesium orotate is a magnesium supplement using orotic acid, a natural substance involved in the creation of genetic material, such as DNA. It’s easily absorbed and doesn’t have the strong laxative effects characteristic of other forms

It may support heart health because of orotic acid’s involvement in blood and heart energy production pathways. This makes it a popular choice amongst athletes and active individuals, along with those with heart disease. However, with such little supporting evidence, it doesn’t justify the cost for most. [R,R,R]


  • Heart
  • Blood Vessels


Magnesium Sulfate — Constipation

(Elemental Magnesium: 10%)

Magnesium sulfate is a magnesium supplement using sulfur and oxygen as its binders.

Commonly referred to as Epsom salt, it is better absorbed than magnesium oxide but much less than the rest.

Much like magnesium oxide, we see it in use for constipation. Users dissolve magnesium sulfate in warm water baths for muscle relief. Sometimes included in skincare products, such as body oils and lotion, much like magnesium chloride, there is not much evidence supporting the topical use of magnesium. [R,R,R]


  • Constipation
  • Calm


Magnesium Taurate — Blood Sugar, Cardio, and Calm

(Elemental Magnesium: 8.9%)

Magnesium taurate is a magnesium supplement using the amino acid taurine as its binding agent. Research shows magnesium along with taurine play a big role in blood sugar regulation.

While not proven for blood pressure itself, taurine offers notable beneficial effects on blood flow. [R,R,R]


  • Blood Sugar
  • Blood Flow
  • Calm


Magnesium Threonate — Cognition

(Elemental Magnesium: 7.2%)

Magnesium L-threonate is a magnesium supplement using threonic acid as its binding acid. It is easily absorbed and a nootropic supplement growing in popularity. Threonic acid is a vitamin C metabolite.

We recognize it as the only magnesium form which crosses the blood-brain barrier, (BBB). Because of this, memory loss and depression are the top brain benefits.

While we need more research to support these claims, magnesium L-threonate appears to be a promising nootropic supplement. [R,R,R]


  • Depression
  • Memory
  • Nootropic


Final Thoughts

The need for a daily magnesium supplement within the top 5 essential core supplements, remains obvious. Even with a perfect diet, it is difficult to get enough magnesium, making supplementation essential for every health optimizer.

Our Top 5:

Best for Energy/ ATP/ Fibromyalgia: Magnesium Malate (My Choice)

Best for Calm: Magnesium Glycinate

Best for Cognition: Magnesium Threonate

Best for Constipation: Magnesium Citrate

Best for Metabolic Issues: Magnesium Taurate


What is your favorite magnesium supplement?


Your Friend in Health

Mark Stein