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Best Magnesium Supplements

Updated August 2018
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

  • 23 Models Considered
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  • 1 Experts Interviewed
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    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Why trust BestReviews?
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

    Shopping guide for best magnesium supplements

    Last Updated August 2018

    Magnesium is a mineral in the body that helps with everything from digestion to energy production. It’s essential for your health, but are you getting enough? Certain disorders, illnesses, and conditions can cause a magnesium deficiency. This deficiency can get in the way of normal muscle and nerve functioning, heart health, and bone strength. Plus, without enough magnesium, your metabolism and protein synthesis can suffer, leaving you feeling sluggish and fatigued.

    Most people get the magnesium they need from a well-balanced diet. However, if your physician has recommended a magnesium supplement, you’ve got a lot of options. Magnesium supplements come in many forms. Some supplements are easier for the body to absorb, and some affect your body differently. The search for the right magnesium supplement can feel overwhelming, but you’ve come to the right place.

    At BestReviews, we strive to bring you the information you need to find the products you’ll love. For everything you need to know to find the magnesium supplement that’s right for you, just keep reading our shopping guide.

    Magnesium plays a vital role in circulatory health. Adequate magnesium levels prevent blood clots and heart attacks by dilating blood vessels and improving heart rate.

    Types of magnesium supplements

    Magnesium citrate

    Magnesium citrate is derived from the magnesium salt found in citric acid. This is one of the most common magnesium supplements because it’s easily absorbed by the body. It’s often used in laxatives but also provides a good dose of magnesium.

    Magnesium taurate

    Magnesium taurate is a chelated form of magnesium, which means it’s firmly attached to taurine so the two aren’t separated in the digestive system. This form of magnesium is used to treat cardiovascular issues because it’s known to help prevent arrhythmia. It’s a good source of magnesium if you’re not looking for a laxative effect.

    Magnesium malate

    Magnesium malate is another chelated form of magnesium, but in this form the magnesium is attached to malic acid. Certain enzymes use malic acid in energy production. For this reason, magnesium malate is often used for people with chronic fatigue. This is a highly soluble, easy-to-absorb form of magnesium.

    Magnesium glycinate

    In this form, magnesium is attached to glycine, an amino acid. This is one of the easiest forms of magnesium for the body to absorb without causing diarrhea. It’s often used to correct long-term magnesium deficiencies.

    Magnesium carbonate

    This form of magnesium is also known as magnesite. In the stomach, it combines with hydrochloric acid to make magnesium chloride, making it an excellent antacid and magnesium supplement. When taken in high doses, it can have a laxative effect.

    Magnesium chloride

    Magnesium chloride only contains about 12% magnesium, but it’s easy for the body to absorb. It helps kidney function and is often used as a magnesium supplement for those susceptible to the laxative effects of other forms of magnesium.

    Good absorption and gentle on the stomach

    Zhou Nutrition Magnesium Glycinate 450 mg provides a good dose of magnesium glycinate that doesn’t upset the stomach or cause diarrhea. Users report a noticeable reduction in anxiety and heart palpitations. We love that this magnesium supplement is also soy- and gluten-free, so it works for most people.

    Magnesium oxide

    Magnesium oxide is a common, inexpensive magnesium supplement that’s used as an antacid and laxative. However, it’s not chelated, which makes it harder to absorb. Many magnesium oxide supplements contain more magnesium per pill (sometimes 60% more) to get the same absorption rate as other forms of magnesium. Magnesium oxide is not the best source of magnesium, but it is almost always the easiest on the wallet.

    Magnesium orotate

    This magnesium compound is naturally made in the body to build DNA. Sometimes called magnesium orotate dihydrate, magnesium orotate is used to improve sleep and cardiovascular health. It’s also often promoted as an athletic performance enhancer. However, the scientific evidence on this is sparse. Magnesium orotate is one of the more expensive forms of magnesium, so unless your doctor specifically suggests this form, you might want to try a different supplement first.

    Magnesium sulfate

    Commonly known as Epsom salt, this form of magnesium is inexpensive and readily available but only has about 10% magnesium. Epsom salt is used to relieve sore muscles and is usually put into bath water. It shouldn’t be ingested as it’s easy to overdose.

    Magnesium lactate

    This form of magnesium comes from the magnesium salt of lactic acid. It has a good absorption rate and is used to treat magnesium deficiency, heartburn, and indigestion. However, this form of magnesium should not be taken by those with kidney disease or heart disease.

    Magnesium aspartate

    Magnesium aspartate is a common ingredient in supplements because the body absorbs it well. It’s a chelated form of magnesium that combines magnesium with aspartic acid, an amino acid naturally found in protein-rich foods. Magnesium acetate protects the heart and can be used to treat headaches and muscle cramps.

    DID YOU KNOW?

    There have been some links made between a magnesium deficiency and conditions like depression and attention-deficit disorder. When magnesium is combined with appropriate calcium levels, it can have a relaxing effect that helps with these conditions.

    DID YOU KNOW?

    The recommended daily allowance of magnesium is 420 mg per day for men and 320 mg per day for women. However, your needs may be higher or lower depending on your age, height, and weight.

    Features to consider for magnesium supplements

    Purpose

    Before you decide on a magnesium supplement, consider why you need it. Do you have a condition or take a medication that limits magnesium absorption? Does your condition cause you to lose magnesium at a higher-than-average rate? Do you need a magnesium supplement with a laxative effect? Are you suffering from fatigue or headaches? These questions can help you narrow down which magnesium supplement will work best for you.

    Your physician can help you determine if you’re at risk for magnesium deficiency and will also monitor your medications for those that could affect your magnesium levels.

    Absorption rate

    Some forms of magnesium are easier for the body to absorb than others. For example, while magnesium oxide is inexpensive and one of the most readily available supplements, it has a low absorption rate because it is not a natural substance. Chelated forms of magnesium are generally the easiest for the body to absorb, as well as those forms naturally found in the body like magnesium lactate.

    CAUTION

    A small percentage of people may have an allergic reaction to some magnesium supplements. If you experience difficulty breathing, a tight feeling in your chest, hives, itching, or a swollen tongue, lips, mouth, or face, contact a medical professional immediately.

    Price

    For $0.05 or less per pill, you’ll find magnesium oxide supplements. While the label may claim the supplement provides 100% or more of your daily magnesium needs, the oxide form is difficult for the body to absorb, and much of it will be flushed out before it’s absorbed. You can also find magnesium glycinate supplements at this price, a form of magnesium that is much easier for the body to absorb and does not have a laxative effect.

    At $0.06 to $0.15 per pill are supplements with higher doses of magnesium glycinate and supplements that use a combination of magnesium oxide, citrate, and malate. Others may also include magnesium aspartate. Some of these supplements also provide vitamin B6. Supplements with vitamin B6 and magnesium are often used to treat autism.

    Magnesium supplements that cost $0.16 to $0.25 per pill often include other vitamins and minerals like vitamin D, vitamin B6, and vitamin E. However, the magnesium in these supplements may still be magnesium oxide, which isn’t the most readily absorbed form. You’ll also find supplements that combine magnesium malate with magnesium glycinate. Magnesium chloride, which does not have a laxative effect, is also common at this price.

    At over $0.25 per pill are magnesium supplements that often include many other vitamins and minerals and are marketed for sports enhancement or other specific purposes. Most of these supplements contain the same amount of magnesium as less expensive options.

    Small, easy-to-swallow pills

    While magnesium oxide isn’t the best source of magnesium, Nature Made Magnesium Oxide 250 mg tablets are easy to swallow and work if you’re looking to add a little extra magnesium to your diet. Many users find that this magnesium supplement effectively treats migraines and muscle cramps.

    Tips

    • Magnesium supplements may come with some side effects, including diarrhea, abdominal cramping, and vomiting. However, with the right dosage, many of these side effects can be reduced or eliminated.

    • Magnesium has a central role in cell energy production. That’s why magnesium deficiency can often lead to chronic fatigue. Magnesium supplements with a high absorption rate can help counteract fatigue.

    • Too much calcium can get in the way of magnesium absorption. Talk to your doctor if you are already taking a calcium supplement to make sure that you’ll be able to absorb a magnesium supplement.
    Magnesium occurs naturally in foods like almonds, nuts, seeds, soybeans, whole-grain cereals and bread, and dark, leafy vegetables. However, even if you eat a well-balanced diet, if you have a condition that doesn’t allow for proper absorption of magnesium, you still might need a supplement.

    FAQ

    Q. Who needs magnesium supplements?

    A. In general, healthy adults who eat a varied diet don’t need magnesium supplements. You may need a magnesium supplement if you have a medical condition or issue that causes you to lose too much magnesium or not absorb enough from your diet. Certain medications can also cause excess loss of magnesium. Conditions like diabetes, if not managed properly, can cause the loss of magnesium through urine. Alcohol abuse can also lead to a magnesium deficiency. Absorption problems can occur after surgery or abdominal procedures, as well as with conditions like Crohn’s disease. If you think you might be at risk for a magnesium deficiency, talk to your doctor.

    Q. Are there any magnesium supplements that aren’t in pill form?

    A. Magnesium also comes as Epsom salt or magnesium flakes, which aren’t technically supplements. In this form, the magnesium is used to treat sore muscles or injuries by soaking in a bath with the salt or flakes. Topical magnesium-infused creams are also used to treat sore or cramped muscles.

    Q. Are all forms of chelated magnesium better than non-chelated magnesium?

    A. Most chelated forms of magnesium are absorbed better by the body. However, some chelated forms of magnesium are combined with magnesium oxide when in supplement form. This combination can be misleading since magnesium oxide is difficult for the body to absorb. Be sure to read the label of any magnesium supplement carefully.

    The team that worked on this review
    • Devangana
      Devangana
      Web Producer
    • Eliza
      Eliza
      Production Manager
    • Katherine
      Katherine
      Editor
    • Linsay
      Linsay
      Editor
    • Melinda
      Melinda
      Web Producer
    • Stacey
      Stacey
      Writer