Understanding Different Types of Magnesium Supplements

What is Magnesium?

Magnesium is an essential micronutrient that is vital for proper body functioning. The mineral is vital for various body processes like energy production, bone health, brain functioning, and much more. A lot has been researched on the importance of magnesium with different nutritionists recommending the mineral.

Regrettably, our bodies cannot manufacture magnesium. The worst part is that the mineral has become so hard to come by, especially with the increasing volumes of processed foods that have filled the market. Topsoil erosion has also contributed to the drop of magnesium in the foods we produce. This, therefore, means that we have to look for supplements. Deficiency of this important mineral can lead to conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease among others. While it is important to understand the importance of magnesium in our bodies, it is also vital to know the types to choose.

Different Types of Magnesium Supplements

There are various forms of magnesium supplements. Some are absorbed by the body more quickly than others. Among the different types of magnesium supplements you can find:

• Magnesium Oxide

• Magnesium Sulfate

• Magnesium Citrate

• Magnesium Malate

• Magnesium Aspartate

• Magnesium Glycinate

• Magnesium Orotate

• Magnesium Taurate

• Magnesium L-Threonate

• Magnesium Pidolate (Picolinate)

Magnesium Taurate

Magnesium Taurate contains amino acid complex molecules. It is composed of both taurine and magnesium. It combines with water and divides into taurine and magnesium ions. The supplement is beneficial in transporting magnesium ions in and out of body cells via the cell membranes. It helps to balance free calcium inside and out of cells and keeps magnesium inside the cells. This free calcium balancing act helps to control heart function and blood pressure.

Depletion of taurine levels in the heart muscles can lead to heart failure. Usually, supplements containing taurine, coenzyme Q-10, magnesium, and carnitine are administered to help increase heart function and chances of survival. The heart will concentrate taurine and maintain high levels of the compound for up to 50% of the amino acid composition.

Magnesium Taurate is not only beneficial to adults. It is also helpful to babies. These supplements play a key role in the development of the eyes and brain. Adults can manufacture taurine in their bodies but infants can’t. As such, it is mostly recommended for young and premature babies particularly during their first three months.

Other benefits of magnesium Taurate include treatment of insomnia, fibromyalgia, magnesium deficiency, spasticity and anxiety disorders.

The common side effects of using the supplement can range from chest pains, tightness, and depression to anxiety attacks.

Magnesium Taurate 1 large

Magnesium Oxide

This is a less bioavailable form of magnesium. When combined with water, it forms magnesium hydroxide. The use of Magnesium Oxide supplements is commonly needed to treat heartburns and constipation. Milk of Magnesia is believed to contain the highest level of magnesium hydroxide (about 500 mg) per tablespoon. However, the challenge with this form of magnesium is that it is difficult to absorb.

Magnesium Oxide supplements are used to prevent or treat magnesium deficiency. It is vital for the promotion of healthy muscles and strong bones. In other cases, it can be used as a laxative, and its other benefits include the treatment of anxiety and migraines. You can get it over-the-counter with no prescription.

When taking magnesium oxide supplement, it is vital to avoid taking it in high doses than what is recommended. This is because these supplements can cause adverse side effects. If you are allergic to laxatives and antacids, then be sure to consult your doctor before using it. People with high blood pressure are recommended to consult their doctors before using the supplements.

Magnesium oxide

Magnesium Sulfate

Magnesium sulfate, also called Epsom salts, is often used to relax tensed muscles and to detoxify the body. It soothes sore muscles and draws toxins from the body when you bathe with it.

The supplements can be taken orally to remedy magnesium deficiency (hypomagnesemia) and to treat sporadic constipation just like magnesium oxide. The drop in magnesium levels is often attributed to severe diarrhea, alcoholism, high calcium levels, and malnutrition.

It may also be used intravenously to alleviate seizures, particularly in expectant women. The supplement has also been known to help treat low blood pressure and to slow labor contractions.

It is easy to overdose magnesium sulfate, especially when you’re taking it orally. One dose of magnesium sulfate supplement contains 104 mg of active magnesium, which accounts for 28% of the required daily magnesium intake. When taking magnesium sulfate orally, it is advisable to take one dose with 8-ounces of water. Just dissolve it and drink right away. Alternatively, you can get the supplements in an injectable form at the hospital, clinic or doctor’s office along with the medical advice.

Some of the common side effects of magnesium sulfate are stomach upsets and diarrhea. If you experience cases like allergic reactions, rashes, dizziness, fatigue, sweating, and drowsiness, then don’t hesitate to ask professional medical advice.

Mgnesium sulfate

Magnesium Citrate

This is a popular magnesium supplement that is known to provide natural calmness. Magnesium citrate helps to promote relaxation of the mind and muscles and also eliminates muscle cramping.

Magnesium citrate contains citric acid and magnesium carbonate. The citric acid in this supplement also promotes digestion and is beneficial when you feeling a bit backed up. The supplement is often sold as a remedy to low magnesium levels. It is a readily absorbable form, but when taken in large doses, it can cause a laxative effect.

Medical practitioners occasionally use this supplement to clean out colons of patients before undergoing diagnostic treatments such as colonoscopy. It works by absorbing water into the colon thus helping to clean out the contents in the system. It may also be used to reduce indigestion symptoms.

Magnesium citrate is safe and can be taken by anyone with no health issues. It takes half an hour to start functioning in the body. Those who are on a sodium-restricted diet are not recommended to take magnesium citrate. You should also not use it if you regularly experience constipation as long-term use can lead to other complications. The common side effects of taking magnesium citrate may include stomach and intestinal problems like gas and diarrhea, electrolyte imbalance, and stomach cramping.

magnesium citrate

Magnesium Malate

As the name suggests, magnesium malate contains malic acid which is beneficial to body cells and health in general. It aids in both the production and use of energy in the body. The formulation is commonly used to curb over-stimulation of the neuromuscular system. People with conditions such as fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue can use this supplement.

The presence of malic acid and magnesium in this supplement aids in the formation of cellular energy (adenosine triphosphate or ATP). Those who experience chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia often have low levels of ATP. This puts them at risk of excitotoxicity that can lead to overstimulation of cells and even cell death.

Other benefits of magnesium malate are peaceful night sleep, optimal bone and dental health, strong and lean muscle development, stress reduction, boosted mood, and smooth skin among others.

Magnesium malate supplements can be taken with meals. The National Institute of Health (NIH) recommends that magnesium malate should be prescribed based on gender and age. Men from 19-30 years can take 400 mg daily while older ones can take 420 mg of the supplements. Women aged 19-30 should take 310 mg while those above 31 should take 320 mg.

The side effects of the supplements may vary according to individuals and can include cases such as bloating, diarrhea, and stomach cramping. When taken in high doses, magnesium malate can cause fluid retention in the colon.

magnesium malate

Magnesium Aspartate

According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, magnesium aspartate is a readily absorbable and the most bioavailable magnesium supplement compared to both oxide and citrate. It contains aspartic acid and is recommended for those who don’t meet the required intake of magnesium. The required dosage of magnesium aspartate is 400 mg for men and 310 mg per day for women.

This type of the supplement also aids to regulate the quality of your sleep. It not only makes you sleep but also makes you fall into a deep and restful night sleep.

Several clinical studies have also confirmed that aspartate has a positive effect on muscle fatigue and is beneficial in reducing muscle hyper-stimulation.

Unfortunately, magnesium aspartate is a potent neuron stimulator. These supplements should not be consumed in high doses as they can cause serious side effects. Some of them are neuroendocrine disorders, brain lesions and many more.

It also interacts with various drugs like HIV medications, alfacalcidol, alendronic acid, amiodarone, apramycin among others. However, be sure to consult your doctor before using this supplement and remember to ask for a professional advice  in order to prevent any further problems with your health.

magnesium aspartate

Magnesium Glycinate

Magnesium Glycinate is an absorbable supplement that can be taken in capsules form. In case you’ve experienced disaster pants with other types of magnesium supplements, this one can help raise your magnesium levels quickly. The glycine content is quite beneficial for use when going to bed as it contains an amino acid that has a calming effect and soothes you to fall asleep quickly. If you’re battling with stress, insomnia, and excessive nervousness, then the use of Magnesium Glycinate supplements can help you. It is considered one of the best and most popular type of relaxation minerals.

The mineral supplement also restores neuron functioning when you are asleep. It repairs them when they are in a relaxed state or in a downtime mode.

Clinical studies have revealed that Magnesium Glycinate plays a key role in serotonin production. Serotonin is a hormone that helps to regulate your mood. High levels of this supplement lower your risk of developing chronic inflammatory stress.

Women are advised to take 320 mg of Magnesium Glycinate per day while men should take 420 mg daily. The supplement can be taken along with food or with vitamin B complex to help promote absorption rate.

magnesium glycinate

Magnesium Orotate

This is a complex form of magnesium that contains orotic acid. Some use these supplements to increase magnesium levels and to treat magnesium deficiency while others use them for orotic acid benefits. It is a powerful supplement that helps to improve athletic performance, heart health, and endurance.

Magnesium Orotate is regarded as the best source of magnesium compared to other forms. It has the highest absorption rate and studies have confirmed that it can transport magnesium effectively throughout various cell membranes.

Although magnesium Orotate supplements are considered a great option in alleviating magnesium deficiency, it is not a viable option as they are very costly compared to other forms of supplements.

Dosage information varies depending on gender and age, and adults can take 310-420 mg per day. Its side effects can be diarrhea and stomach upsets. Allergic reactions rarely occur.

magnesium orotate

Magnesium L-Threonate

Magnesium L-Threonate is a formulation of the magnesium salt of L-Threonic acid. Unlike other  types of magnesium, this supplement can cross the brain barrier, where it is quickly absorbed. This is why it is referred to as a brain booster. It improves cognitive functioning by increasing synaptic density in regions that are responsible for memory functions. Synaptic density is the measure of how synaptic connections change with changes in stimuli. Adults who have problems with cognitive functioning are often advised to use the supplement.

Due to its ability to naturally relax muscles, Magnesium L-Threonate is a great sleep booster. The supplements make you fall asleep faster and better and treat symptoms of insomnia and restless leg syndrome.

Apart from boosting brain functioning, medical research has shown that MgT also delays its aging. It reverses the signs of aging by up to 9 years, and it makes it easy for you to learn and retain new information. Other benefits are treatment of conditions such as migraines, headaches, and Parkinson’s disease.

L Threonate

Magnesium Pidolate (Picolinate)

Often referred to as The Guardian at the Gate’, Magnesium Pidolate is a potent shield that protects the body in many ways. The supplement helps in the regulation of the flow of electrically-charged ions acting on cell membranes. The regulation of these ions helps to control different functions such as muscle cell contraction and nerve firing.

The use of Magnesium Pidolate supplements also helps to lower hyperexcitability of the brain which is common in migraine-prone individuals. Other studies reveal that it helps to curb the severity and frequency of menstrual migraines. It can also be used to promote proper systolic pressure.

Even though it is very beneficial, Magnesium Pidolate is relatively expensive. It is sold on the mg-for-mg basis and most people get quickly pissed off by the price.

magnesium pidolaat


Magnesium is an essential mineral that plays a great role in keeping the body healthy and in a proper functioning state. It is advisable not to miss a dose of magnesium every day to stay healthy. Magnesium supplements can help you get sufficient amounts of this mineral in the body. Among the various types to consider include Magnesium citrate, L-Threonate, Taurate, Sulfate, Malate, Aspartate, Orotate, Pidolate, Oxide, and Glycinate. Each of them has their unique benefits for health.