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9 Types of Magnesium

What is magnesium?


Magnesium is an essential mineral in our bodies. It is involved in almost all significant metabolic and biochemical processes—from regulation of cardiac rhythm to maintaining electrolyte balance


Do I need to take it?


Unfortunately, magnesium gets depleted as we go through everyday life. Stress has thepotential to increase magnesium loss, as do certain foods and beverages like coffee. Even the way our food is grown can play a role in our magnesium intake.

9 types of Magnesium – which one is right for me?

What is magnesium?

Magnesium is an essential mineral in our bodies. It is involved in almost all significant metabolic and biochemical processes—from regulation of cardiac rhythm to maintaining electrolyte balance.

Do I need to take it?

Unfortunately, magnesium gets depleted as we go through everyday life. Stress has thepotential to increase magnesium loss, as do certain foods and beverages like coffee. Even the way our food is grown can play a role in our magnesium intake.

There’s a whole host of factors and activities that deplete us of magnesium—from physical exercise to alcohol consumption—and so most people could probably benefit from taking a supplement.

But it can be tricky to decide just what type of magnesium supplement you need. A trip to the store or quick online search returns countless options. So which one should you try? We’ve broken down the options here to guide you in your search.

Which type is right for me?

Stressed? Tired? Having trouble sleeping? Review each magnesium type above to see which one might help suit your needs the best. Then check with your doctor to make sure it’s right for you.

Magnesium Glycinate

One of the most popular forms, magnesium glycinate (AKA magnesium bisglycinate) is a combination of magnesium and the amino acid glycine. This organic chelate complex is gentle on the stomach and has good bioavailability.

Glycine has been linked with deep and restorative sleep, and research shows that magnesium glycinate may help promote a steady state of relaxation. In fact, in a clinical trial of older adults, magnesium glycinate supplementation promoted overall sleep quality. This means this form of magnesium is great if a restful night of sleep is what you’re after.

Overall, magnesium glycinate can be a good supplement choice, especially since “this form is well tolerated and well absorbed,”* says Jamie Alan, Ph.D., an assistant professor of pharmacology and toxicology at Michigan State University.

Magnesium citrate

Along with magnesium glycinate, citrate is one of the most popular forms of magnesium; this is one of the most bioavailable of the magnesium supplement.

Magnesium citrate is commonly used as a supplement to address low levels of magnesium. It can also be used to get your bowels moving.

This stimulant gut effect is true of all magnesium supplements at high enough doses, but individual responses vary from one person to another.

Magnesium chloride

Looking for a general magnesium supplement? then this is a good option. This supplement can help replenish magnesium levels if they are low. Also, some people use this topically in a lotion to soothe muscles, but the research on this is low, and there is little to no absorption of the magnesium through the skin.

Magnesium oxide

Magnesium oxide is a common form for supplements. This form has relatively lower absorption (compared to other forms like magnesium citrate), but can still be useful at higher, meaningful doses seen with targeted supplements.

This form of magnesium helps to pull fluid into the intestines to get things moving down there, and like a digestive buffer, magnesium oxide can also be used to reduce stomach acid, Alan says.

Magnesium lactate

While you can take magnesium lactate as a supplement, it actually shows up more as a food additive ingredient to reduce acidity in food formulations.

That said, magnesium lactate is absorbed well by your body and may be used by individuals with specific medical nutrition therapy needs (i.e., with help of a health care practitioner) who need large doses of magnesium.

Magnesium L-threonate

This is touted as the one of the most absorbable form of magnesium. There is also some suggestion that this can be used for brain health.

In animal studies, this supplement has led to a greater deposit of magnesium in brain tissue, however, there is not enough research to determine if this is good or not in the long term.

Magnesium malate

Magnesium malate is thought to be “easier to digest” than some other forms of magnesium and can help regulate you. One preclinical study in rodents published in the journal Biological Trace Element Research found that magnesium malate is easily absorbed by the small intestine and can stay there for an extended period of time.

Magnesium sulfate

Magnesium sulfate is often sprinkled into a bath to help relieve sore muscles. But, while Epsom salt baths are hugely popular, there’s not enough research to support that it soothes muscle tension.

As a supplement, it’s the most potent form of magnesium to encourage bowel movements.

Magnesium orotate

The big draw with magnesium orotate is the claim that it may help you work out harder. Some people use it because it contains orotic acid, which is said to enhance athletic performance. The science, however, doesn’t back this claim up at this point.

Magnesium orotate is also relatively expensive compared to other forms of magnesium. But for most people, it’s not the best option, as it doesn’t seem to offer benefits compared to the other forms.