Last updated: August 27, 2021

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Welcome to our latest article on the best dietary supplements! This guide will give you a better understanding of magnesium, a nutrient that's critical for our well-being. Keep reading to learn about magnesium's primary benefits, how to figure out if you need to take magnesium supplements and which product is best for you.

Magnesium helps the heart muscle relax, thereby preventing the onset of arrhythmia. It also contributes to the production of energy, stabilises DNA and boosts neuronal function. Stressful situations can increase the amount of magnesium lost from the body, and studies have shown that up to 80% of the Western population may experience a deficiency of this critical nutrient.


  • Magnesium is a mineral that's required for more than 300 reactions in your body. Several factors can lead to a deficit, including a bad diet, stress and vitamin D deficiency.
  • There is a wide array of magnesium supplements available on the market, including powders, capsules, tablets and even creams.
  • Depending on the type of magnesium you choose, you'll experience benefits such as relaxing or energising effects, preventing muscle damage and improving cardiovascular health.

The Best Magnesium: Our Picks

When it comes to magnesium supplements, you'll find countless brands and methods of ingestion, so it can be difficult to figure out which one is best. We've picked out the very best options, to help you make the right choice.

Buyer's Guide: Everything You Need to Know About Magnesium

Magnesium has a role in countless chemical reactions that take place in your body. It's a component of bone structure and plays an important role in the formation of energy (ATP), modulating muscular, neuronal and hormonal functions. Magnesium can have activating or relaxing functions, depending on where in the body it's found.

Magnesium regulates muscular, neuronal and humoral functions.
(Source: Gaveyac: 72543518/

What exactly is magnesium?

Magnesium is among the most abundant minerals found in the human body. Large amounts of magnesium are found in bones, teeth, and organs like the heart and kidneys. It's known as a "cofactor," meaning it's a crucial component for hundreds of enzymatic reactions and processes.

Despite its importance, magnesium never received much attention in clinical work. Nonetheless, more recently, a handful of studies have shown a correlation between low magnesium diets and several diseases (obesity, diabetes, hypertension or polycystic ovary syndrome), indicating its importance and encouraging further investigation of its benefits by health professionals.

Dr. Eric BergMedical Doctor
"Imagine that the cells in your body have an engine. Magnesium is the "spark" that ignites that engine and activates the combustion of oxygen to produce energy."

Which bodily functions does magnesium have a role in?

Magnesium serves a crucial function in virtually every system of the body. Here are just a few:

System Function
Musculoskeletal Formation of tooth and bone structure
Cardiovascular Relaxation of muscle fibers, formation of muscle fibres
Nervous Arterial dilation, transportation of cholesterol, relaxation of the heart muscle
Digestive DNA stabilization, raised sensitivity to insulin, ATP synthesis (energy)

Which foods are rich in magnesium?

Chlorophyll, which is the pigment that gives plants their green colour, is packed with magnesium. Green leafy vegetables like spinach, chard and cabbage are therefore all good sources of magnesium.

Magnesium is also commonly found in:

  • Fruits (bananas, oranges, lemons and grapefruit)
  • Dried fruits and vegetables
  • Soy products like tofu and miso
  • Whole grain cereals (rice, whole oats)
  • Corn
  • Linseed and pumpkin seed
  • Quinoa
  • Dark chocolate

Although magnesium is found in a wide variety of foods, studies have indicated that fruits and vegetables grown in impoverished soils offer a much lower concentration of the mineral.

Large amounts of magnesium are found in green leafy vegetables, bananas, nuts and chocolate.
(Source: Mapenoba: 77948774/

What are the signs of a magnesium deficiency?

Magnesium deficiencies occur most often in people with diets lacking in fruits and vegetables, and rich in refined foods (like bread or white rice, which have been through chemical processes that remove most of the magnesium), fatty foods and alcohol.

People who suffer from gastrointestinal disorders, those who have had bad burns and anyone undergoing significant psychological or physical stress may also lose more magnesium than normal, and they may be at risk of a magnesium deficiency. The body's ability to absorb magnesium also declines with age.

Pregnant and breastfeeding women, athletes, students preparing for tough exams and those recovering from a medical operation are also likely to need higher levels of magnesium.

Magnesium deficiency can impact the entire body. Here are some of the most common symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Lack of energy
  • Apathy
  • Constipation
  • Menstrual issues
  • Muscle cramps (particularly in the legs, at bedtime) and muscle weakness
  • Frequent muscle injuries, trouble concentrating and trembling

Some studies indicate that deficient magnesium may play a role in the following medical issues: cardiac arrhythmias, obesity, diabetes, kidney stones, increased cholesterol, anxiety and depression.

Dr. Sanjay GuptaNeurosurgeon and Medical Reporter
"I believe that many diseases that have become more frequent today are related, at least in part, to magnesium deficiency."

Why are magnesium supplements recommended?

Considering that a number of studies show that the majority of the population has some degree of magnesium deficiency, supplemental magnesium intake is advised to boost your overall health, limit fatigue and even slow down the aging process.

The following groups are likely to benefit from magnesium supplements:

  • Students preparing for tests
  • People who suffer from insomnia
  • Athletes
  • People with frequent muscular or joint pain
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women
  • People over age 40
  • People facing physical or emotional stress
  • People on weight loss diet
  • People diagnosed with pre-diabetes
  • People with alcoholism

How can magnesium supplements improve my health?

Magnesium supplements offer the following benefits:

  • Improved memory and concentration
  • Relief of insomnia and fatigue
  • Faster recovery following a workout or from muscle injuries
  • Decreased bone and joint pain
  • Relief from dysmenorrhoea (menstrual cramps), impotence and low libido
  • Boosts insulin sensitivity and cholesterol control, making it easier to control weight and blood glucose
  • Improved mood, with higher ability to deal with stress
  • Improvement of cardiovascular health
  • Wrinkle prevention, better skin and hair appearance

Magnesium can slow down the effects of ageing.
(Source: Victor: 110647383/

What kinds of magnesium are available and which is best for me?

Always remember that the body needs to break down magnesium to its ionic form, regardless of how it's consumed. Laboratories focused on magnesium consumption associate this nutrient with various preparations that give the supplement special characteristics.

The table outlines the most common preparations, to help you pick the supplement that best suits your needs:

  • Magnesium oxide: This is the most common and cheapest form. Its taste can be unpleasant (try taking it with fruit juice) and it is best consumed in small doses several times each day to ensure proper absorption.
  • Magnesium glycinate: This preparation binds magnesium to glycine, which is an amino acid that boosts absorption capacity. The effect is fast and mostly relaxing, so it's recommended to take it in the evening. It is unlikely to result in a laxative effect.
  • Magnesium citrate: This is an acid formulation that is used as a laxative. Some studies blame this formulation for interfering with copper metabolism, so people with liver disorders should be cautious.
  • Magnesium threonate: This form is among the most modern options. Threonate helps magnesium directly enter the mitochondria (the part of a cell responsible for producing energy), and it is therefore especially useful for dealing with fatigue.
  • Magnesium sulfate: This form is not commonly used as a supplement, but instead as a medicine to treat seizures in pregnant women. Don't take this kind without a doctor's prescription.
Were you aware that magnesium threonate is useful for improving concentration and fighting off anxiety and depression?
  • Magnesium taurate: This form offers the benefits of magnesium without the laxative effects as its impact on the gastrointestinal system is limited.
  • Magnesium chloride: Chloride strengthens magnesium absorption and helps achieve high mineral concentrations with just a small amount of the supplement.
  • Magnesium malate: This formulation combines magnesium with malic acid, which is often found in fruits. It offers a high absorption capacity and those who take this supplement report a reduction in joint and muscle pain, as well as increased energy for sports.
  • Magnesium carbonate: This cheap supplement has laxative effects and is commonly used for constipation and heartburn.

What is the recommended magnesium dosage?

The recommended dosage of magnesium will vary depending on sex, age, and other factors:

Population group Recommended daily dose
Babies 0-6 months 30 mg
Babies 7-12 months 75 mg
Children 1-3 years 80 mg
Children 4-8 years 130 mg
Children 9-13 years 240 mg
Boys 14-18 years 410 mg
Girls 14-18 years 360 mg
Adult males 400-420 mg
Adult females 310-320 mg
Pregnant women 350-360 mg
Men over 40 420 mg
Women over 40 420 mg

How much do magnesium supplements cost?

Supplements made out of the most common formulations, such as magnesium oxide or magnesium carbonate, are usually the most affordable. Newer supplements like magnesium threonate are naturally more pricy, but result in fewer side effects and a smaller amount is needed for to be effective.

Can I take too much magnesium?

Normally, any excess magnesium will be excreted in the urine and feces. Hypermagnesemia (excess magnesium) is very rare and is usually linked to a malfunction in the kidney or gastrointestinal tract. If you suffer from any sort of kidney disease or gastrointestinal issue, you should consult your doctor before taking a magnesium supplement.

Hypermagnesemia can result in dizziness, heart rate disturbances and muscle weakness. If you experience any of these symptoms, visit the nearest hospital.

Shopping Criteria

We have gathered information on the most important purchasing factors to help you choose the magnesium supplement that best suits your needs:

Desired Effect

As you now know, magnesium affects over 300 reactions in the body. Still, the impact of the various preparations are more or less potent depending on the specific part of the body. Magnesium glycinate or taurate are the best options if you're hoping to ward off stress and anxiety.

Magnesium threonate, meanwhile, will help you boost your intellectual capacity, and citrate or magnesium carbonate have laxative effects. If you can tolerate the taste of magnesium oxide multiple times each day, it's also a great option, both balanced and affordable.

Absorption Capacity

Cheaper supplements are often more difficult to absorb, and you'll need to consumer higher doses to achieve the same benefits found in the more expensive supplements. This is a key factor influencing the value for money of the different supplements.


Most magnesium supplements are suitable for gluten-intolerant individuals, vegans, diabetics and those with nut allergies. Always check the labelling, and don't be afraid to ask a doctor or pharmacist if you have any doubts.

Allergic reactions to magnesium chloride do occur, with the following symptoms: nausea, dizziness, general redness of the body and respiratory distress. If any of these symptoms appear, go to the nearest emergency room and stop supplementation immediately.

Some consumers prefer a product free of cruelty, transgenics and allergens.
(Source: Gomolach: 49310677/

Side Effects

The laxative effect of magnesium is one of the primary side effects, an issue for many people. In case of diarrhoea, you should limit your intake of magnesium until your body adjusts. You can then gradually increase the dose to the recommended amount.

Those suffering from diabetes, hypertension or heart disease should also discuss potential side effects that can result from mixing magnesium with other medications (especially insulin) with their healthcare provider.

Last but not least, even though studies have indicated that magnesium can help fight depression and anxiety, antidepressant medication should not be replaced by magnesium supplementation.

Method of Ingestion

Magnesium supplements are sold in various forms:

  • Powder: Easy to mix, and it lets you easily adjust dosage. It may have a bitter or "earthy" flavour.
  • Tablets: These can be divided to adjust dosage, and they can be crushed to mix in with a drink or meal. Magnesium oxide makes tablets taste bad.
  • Hard capsules: These are easy to take, except for those who have trouble swallowing pills.
  • Softgels: These offer the same benefits, but are often easier to ingest than hard capsules.


Now you're familiar with how important magnesium is for proper bodily functions. Today, society moves at an ever faster pace, and our diets are increasingly lacking in fruits and vegetables. Meanwhile, people want to remain active and competitive at increasingly older ages. Magnesium supplements are designed to give you the extra energy and health you need to enjoy life to the fullest.

We hope that the information we've gathered in this article will help you pick the best supplement for your needs, at a price that you find reasonable.

If you liked this guide on magnesium, please feel free to leave a comment and share this article with your friends and family via social media.

(Source of featured image: Siamphotos: 25480935/