The Best Magnesium Supplements

Magnesium is so important and beneficial that many people buy magnesium and take it regularly as a dietary supplement. However, there are many different magnesium supplements on the market. They work differently, contain different magnesium compounds, and are also dosed differently. Which magnesium is the best? Which helps best to meet magnesium needs? So which magnesium should you buy?

Before you buy magnesium, pay attention to the following points

Are you taking a magnesium supplement? Or would you like to buy magnesium in the near future? The following questions are often asked:

  • What is its bioavailability?
  • What is the dosage?
  • Does it suit me and my personal needs?
  • Does it match my complaints?

Only when these questions have been answered can you be sure that you can buy the right magnesium for you and thus achieve the best possible effect.

Magnesium against magnesium deficiency

Many people suffer from magnesium deficiency. Most don’t even know. Because magnesium deficiency does not always manifest itself “just” in calf cramps.

Many other symptoms can indicate a magnesium deficiency. Because magnesium deficiency increases the risk of many diseases (can even trigger heart attacks), aggravates existing diseases, and makes healing unlikely.

No matter what your problem is – whether it is depression, menstrual cramps, cramps, muscle weakness, migraines, sleep disorders, nervousness, gastrointestinal problems, cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure, irritability, chronic pain conditions, vitamin D deficiency (magnesium is involved in activating vitamin D), diabetes or pregnancy problems – take magnesium!

Magnesium deficiency can be involved in the development of all of these ailments. In other words, magnesium can improve all of these ailments, if not completely eliminate them in some cases.

In these cases, there is an increased need for magnesium

If you are also taking medication, you should be aware that some medications increase magnesium requirements. These include antihypertensives, cortisone, birth control pills, laxatives, immunosuppressants, methotrexate (e.g. against rheumatism), and many more. It is best to ask your pharmacist whether your medication is one of the magnesium thieves.

The need for magnesium is just as high

  • during pregnancy and lactation,
  • in competitive sports,
  • in old age,
  • in stressful situations (stress hormones cause increased magnesium excretion in the urine),
  • in kidney diseases,
  • with diabetes,
  • in anorexia,
  • in chronic inflammatory bowel diseases,
  • with an aluminum load (aluminum displaces magnesium),
  • with vitamin B1 and B6 deficiency
  • and during convalescence.

As a result, more and more people are buying magnesium, because the right dietary supplement with magnesium is ideal for bringing the body’s magnesium levels back into shape and quickly alleviating magnesium deficiency-related symptoms.

Pure magnesium isn’t available to the mere mortal, and that’s a good thing, as it’s highly explosive and loves to burst into flames with pop effects.

These magnesium compounds exist

Therefore, when you buy magnesium, you always get a magnesium COMPOUND, i.e. magnesium that is combined with another substance, e.g. B.

  • Magnesium citrate: Magnesium bound to citrate, the salt of citric acid
  • Magnesium carbonate: Magnesium bound to carbonate, the salt of carbonic acid
  • Magnesium glycinate: Magnesium bound to the amino acid glycine
  • Magnesium Orotate: Magnesium bound to orotate, the salt of orotic acid
  • Magnesium sulfate: Magnesium is bound to sulfate, the salt of sulfuric acid.
  • Magnesium sulfate is also known as Epsom salt or Epsom salt. (Not to be confused with Glauber’s salt (= sodium sulfate)).
  • Magnesium oxide: Magnesium bound to oxide, formed when magnesium is burned
  • Magnesium malate: Magnesium bound to malate, the salt of malic acid
  • Magnesium chloride: Magnesium bound to chloride, the salt of hydrochloric acid (= hydrochloric acid)

So if you take one of these remedies, you will not only feel the effect of the magnesium but also the effect of the substance with which your magnesium is connected. You already know why you take magnesium. But what additional effects do, for example, orotate, citrate, or glycinate bring with them? And what about the bioavailability of these magnesium supplements?

Which magnesium has the best bioavailability?

Bioavailability means how much of the magnesium contained can actually be absorbed and used by the organism. And how much – e.g. B. due to poor solubility – is simply excreted with the urine.

Unfortunately, there is no study that would compare the bioavailability of all magnesium compounds. Usually, only two or three compounds are examined and compared. Also, bioavailability is given in terms of the amount of magnesium that is excreted in the urine and not the amount that is actually absorbed. Consequently, the results are not very accurate.

Nevertheless, for years researchers agreed that magnesium citrate had the best bioavailability, followed by magnesium chloride and the chelated magnesium compounds (magnesium bound to amino acids (e.g. magnesium glycinate)), while magnesium oxide always brought up the rear.

Interestingly, however, a relatively recent study by Shechter et al. from 2012 found that magnesium oxide performed better than magnesium citrate in terms of both bioavailability and health effects. In this study, magnesium oxide was more clearly able to lower LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol levels while increasing magnesium levels better than magnesium citrate.

In terms of bioavailability, there is currently no clear evidence that one or the other magnesium supplement is more or less bioavailable than another. The selection is therefore made according to the personal requirements of the preparation.

The best magnesium supplements

Below we present the most common magnesium preparations and explain their properties. You will then be able to buy the magnesium that is best for you.

Magnesium Citrate – Against constipation and kidney stones

Magnesium citrate is considered to be the magnesium compound with the best bioavailability. However, as explained above, this doesn’t really mean anything. Although magnesium citrate is absorbed quickly, the question arises as to whether this is actually desired and useful or whether slow, continuous absorption – as is usual with carbonates – would make more sense.

In any case, magnesium citrate helps to accelerate intestinal movements, which promotes digestion and leads to easy bowel movements, so magnesium citrate is often suitable in small doses (from 150 mg per day) for everyone with somewhat sluggish digestion or chronic constipation.

In addition, citrate helps to prevent or even dissolve kidney stones.

Magnesium Carbonate – For heartburn

Magnesium carbonate is very commonly sold as a magnesium supplement. Magnesium carbonate is said to have a low bioavailability of only 30 percent, but this may be due to the measuring methods (excretion via the urine) since carbonates are slowly absorbed over hours and not quickly like citrates.

Since magnesium carbonate has an acid-inhibiting effect, it is ideal for people with heartburn. So if you are taking antacids for heartburn and want to take magnesium carbonate now, you can reduce the antacids.

Magnesium carbonate only has a laxative effect in higher doses and can therefore be used by people who either have good digestion or already have loose stools.

The Sango Sea Coral is a wonderful source of particularly easily absorbable and very natural magnesium carbonate.

Magnesium Bisglycinate (Magnesium Chelate) – For better sleep

Magnesium bisglycinate is sometimes simply called magnesium glycinate or also chelated magnesium or magnesium chelate.

Magnesium bisglycinate is an organic magnesium compound, which means that the magnesium is bound to an amino acid (glycine). The amino acid protects the sensitive mucous membranes in the digestive tract from irritation caused by the magnesium – which can lead to stomach pressure or other complaints with other magnesium preparations so the magnesium bis-glycinate is considered to be particularly well tolerated.

In addition, the magnesium bis-glycinate is very well absorbed because – bound to the amino acid – it does not have to go through the usual absorption pathways and therefore does not have to compete with other minerals for absorption into the bloodstream. In the same way, chelated magnesium cannot be bound by so-called anti-nutrients (e.g. phytic acid).

Magnesium bisglycinate also has the lowest risk of causing diarrhea and therefore does not appreciably affect stool clearance and intestinal motility. It is therefore the safest and best option for the body to correct a long-term magnesium deficiency.

Glycine also has interesting effects on the central nervous system. There, glycine has a calming and relaxing effect through its influence on the N-methyl-D-aspartate and glycine receptors. Magnesium bisglycinate brings relaxation and better sleep into your life.

In two human clinical studies, 3 grams of glycine taken before bedtime has been shown to improve sleep and reduce daytime sleepiness. If you want to take glycine in this dose, however, we recommend taking pure glycine (e.g. glycine capsules or glycine powder).

Because even a high-quality magnesium bisglycinate capsule only provides approx. 600 mg of glycine, so you would need five capsules, which in turn could result in a magnesium-dose that is too high. (Magnesium (bis)glycinate is about 12 percent magnesium and 88 percent glycine).

Nonetheless, magnesium glycinate in the usual doses of 3-4 capsules taken 30 minutes before bedtime can help calm and relax.

Magnesium Orotate – For the cardiovascular system

Magnesium orotate has a very good effect on the cardiovascular system. Orotate is the salt of orotic acid, which, among other things, can boost energy production in the heart.

Magnesium orotate has been prescribed as a cardiovascular drug in Russia since the 1970s. Various studies now more than support this tradition, since magnesium orotate can improve exercise tolerance and vascular functions in patients with coronary vascular diseases. In addition, magnesium orotate increases the survival rate in people with heart failure, improves their quality of life, and reduces their symptoms.

It is ideal for the heart if magnesium orotate is taken in combination with potassium. Because potassium strengthens the effect of magnesium and improves its absorption into the cell. However, the specific doses of magnesium and potassium should be discussed with the cardiologist.

Magnesium Sulfate – The Laxative

Magnesium sulfate, also known as Epsom salts or Epsom salts, is a powerful laxative and is therefore often recommended in fasting regimens, but is not suitable for daily magnesium supplementation.

Conversely, magnesium sulfate, dissolved in ampoule form and administered intravenously, has the highest absorption rate and is therefore preferred to all other compounds in internal medicine and emergency medicine.

Magnesium Oxide – Used as a laxative and antacid

Magnesium oxide is one of the most common forms of magnesium sold in pharmacies. Its bioavailability is controversial – see above – it was considered poor for years, but then a study found very good bioavailability.

Magnesium oxide is also used as a laxative or as an antacid (to neutralize the acid in the stomach). Otherwise, this magnesium compound has no particular advantages.

Magnesium Malate – Uplifts and relieves pain

Magnesium malate is an interesting option for people who are consistently tired and exhausted. Malates are the salts of malic acid and this in turn is a vitalizing component of enzymes that play a key role in ATP synthesis and thus in energy production in our cells. Since the compound of magnesium and malic acid can be easily broken down, magnesium malate is very soluble and very bioavailable.

dr G.E. Abraham also once hypothesized that fibromyalgia was the result of a disruption in cell metabolism. The ATP production is too low here and would consequently lead to chronic fatigue. Furthermore, an excessively high level of organic acids would build-up, which could then lead to diffuse muscle pain.

According to Abraham, a dietary supplement with magnesium malate now supplies magnesium for acetyl-CoA synthesis (an intermediate product in the provision of energy in the cell) and the malic acid promotes malate dehydrogenase activity, which in turn reduces the acid load. Fatigue is combated and pain is relieved.

In Abraham’s study with oral administration of 300 to 600 mg magnesium and 1200 to 2400 mg malate daily over 6 months, a clear alleviation of fibromyalgia symptoms was shown. Of course, further measures should be implemented in the case of fibromyalgia, but dietary supplements with magnesium are definitely the order of the day.

Magnesium malate consists of 15.5 percent magnesium and 84.5 percent malate. Based on e.g. B. the magnesium malate capsules of effective nature, this means that with a dose of 5 capsules you would take 375 mg magnesium and 2125 mg malate.

You now know the individual properties of each magnesium supplement. How high should the daily magnesium dose be?

Magnesium chloride – also available for external use

Magnesium chloride is often available from the Zechstein Sea, i.e. from local mines. It is usually obtained as a powder that is stirred into water and drunk. Anyone suffering from constipation can use this form of magnesium to relieve it since magnesium chloride has a mild or strong laxative effect – depending on the dosage. In any case, start with very small doses (100 mg).

“Magnesium from the Dead Sea” is also mostly magnesium chloride.

Foot baths can also be carried out with magnesium chloride (100 g per foot bath is sufficient, although up to 400 g is often recommended elsewhere, this is not necessary). Because of these external uses, magnesium chloride comes in large buckets.

Magnesium chloride is also available in liquid form, which is often referred to as magnesium oil because it feels oily on the skin. But there is no oil film. The “oil” can be applied diluted or undiluted to the skin, for example in the case of chapped and dry skin, pain, cramps, etc. After a contact time of 20 minutes, it is washed off.

Magnesium chloride can burn sensitive skin and cause itching. Therefore, test it carefully first. Magnesium oil can also be used for footbaths (25 ml per footbath).

It is often said that magnesium can be absorbed through the skin, i.e. also through foot baths or full baths. However, it is not clear to what extent this is possible. When it comes to magnesium supply, we would therefore recommend not just relying on external use, but always taking magnesium internally as well.

Colloidal Magnesium Oil

While magnesium chloride just feels oily on the skin, but is not a real oil and can irritate the skin, there is also a “real” magnesium oil, a *colloidal magnesium (1000 ppm) in sunflower oil that the skin is not irritated. Just a few drops of this highly concentrated oil should suffice (applied externally) to have a soothing effect on tension, cramps, and pain.

Magnesium from plants

If you want to take an all-around holistic and as little processed magnesium supplement as possible, then supplements made from magnesium-rich plants are ideal. Such a plant or alga is the so-called sea lettuce or sea lettuce, which is also available in a certified organic form, which is generally not the case with other magnesium supplements.

Just three capsules with an extract from the sea lettuce provide over 330 mg of natural magnesium compounds. The magnesium from the sea lettuce is said to be as bioavailable as magnesium citrate or chelate.

Since sea lettuce is a seaweed, it also contains iodine – 135 µg per daily dose, which is more than half of the daily requirement (the daily iodine requirement for adults is given as 180 to 200 µg). So if you still need iodine anyway, sea lettuce is a good choice. On the other hand, if you have to/want to avoid iodine, you should use another magnesium supplement.

The right magnesium dosage

In general, you take between 300 and 600 mg of magnesium daily as a dietary supplement – ​​depending on your personal needs. To determine your needs, look at your life situation (stress, sport, etc.), your symptoms, and the magnesium content of your food (possibly in cooperation with a holistic health and nutritionist) and then decide (in consultation with your doctor). ), how much magnesium you need.

Then the higher the daily magnesium dose you have decided on, the better it is to split the dose into two or more daily intakes. Because the lower the single dose, the more magnesium can be absorbed.

Above we mentioned situations in which the need for magnesium increases. For example, stress or high sporting demands can lead to daily consumption of 800 mg of magnesium.

Clear improvements in health should be observed after three to four months at the latest with a magnesium supplement. However, the effect of magnesium is usually evident after just a few days, and in the case of cramps even immediately.

Potassium improves magnesium absorption

In any case, make sure you are getting enough potassium, as potassium promotes magnesium absorption. Good sources of potassium are green leafy vegetables (e.g. lamb’s lettuce, cress, parsley, kale, etc.), but also fennel, parsnips, and radishes, as well as nuts and seeds (e.g. pumpkin seeds, almonds, etc.).

Dairy products may inhibit magnesium absorption

However, magnesium should not be taken with dairy products, since their high calcium content could lead to an inhibition of magnesium absorption. Milk has a calcium-to-magnesium ratio of 10:1, and it is even worse in dairy products such as cheese.

Magnesium diarrhea?

Soft stool is a typical accompanying symptom of magnesium intake. For people who are more likely to suffer from constipation, this is wonderful as constipation seems to have gone away.

However, if diarrhea occurs, this is a sign that either the wrong magnesium preparation has been chosen for you or that the magnesium has overdosed.

Change the preparation here or start with smaller doses, which you divide into several portions daily and which you slowly increase again until you have reached the required dose.

Diarrhea can also occur when magnesium is taken with fatty meals. It is therefore better to take the magnesium with a low-fat meal.

If there has been a magnesium deficiency in combination with diarrhea for a long time, diarrhea can be caused by a magnesium deficiency. Here, the magnesium deficiency has led to an over-excitability of the intestines, which should now be improved by taking magnesium regularly. Of course, here you buy a magnesium supplement that does not have a laxative effect, e.g. B. chelated magnesium (magnesium glycinate).

Magnesium – when to take it

Taking magnesium in the evening is ideal, as its slightly calming effect is very pleasant here. High-dose magnesium supplements are better tolerated if they are taken with meals (not too high in fat) and not on an empty stomach.

Which magnesium to buy?

Now that you know the properties of each magnesium compound and the dose you need, it should be easy for you to buy the magnesium that is right for you.

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Written by Bella Adams

I'm a professionally-trained, executive chef with over ten years in Restaurant Culinary and hospitality management. Experienced in specialized diets, including Vegetarian, Vegan, Raw foods, whole food, plant-based, allergy-friendly, farm-to-table, and more. Outside of the kitchen, I write about lifestyle factors that impact well-being.

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