7 Types of Magnesium & Their Benefits

Oct 14, 2022 Vitamins & Supplements

7 Types of Magnesium & Their Benefits

Quick Health Scoop

  • As an essential mineral, Magnesium plays an important role in more than 300 enzymatic reactions in the body.†
  • Magnesium helps support muscle relaxation; supports essential muscle, nerve, and heart function; helps convert food into cellular energy; and helps support essential bone and teeth health.†
  • When considering Magnesium supplementation, know that different kinds of Magnesium exist with various uses ranging from replenishing low Magnesium levels to helping relax the body.†
  • Some of the different types of Magnesium include Magnesium Citrate, Magnesium Glycinate, Magnesium Oxide, Magnesium Malate, Magnesium Chloride, Magnesium Sulphate, and Magnesium Lactate.

You’re familiar with the vitamin and mineral superstars, like Vitamin D and Calcium, but you might not be as familiar with another key nutrient—Magnesium. Did you know, for example, that Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the human body? Or that it plays a key role in many bodily functions?

While you can get Magnesium from a variety of food sources (ranging from whole grains and dark green leafy vegetables to nuts and beans), you can also get it from dietary supplements.

You might be surprised to learn that there are different kinds of Magnesium with different levels of Magnesium absorption. Read to learn more about the various types of Magnesium and what they’re used for? Read on.

What Is Magnesium?

Commonly identified as an electrolyte, Magnesium is touted for its role in maintaining mineral balance because it works hand-in-hand with Calcium. In fact, 50 to 60% of Magnesium is stored in our bones, while the rest is stored in blood, cells, and tissues.[1]

However, it is estimated that 10-30% of people have a Magnesium deficiencyand 54% of the U.S. population consumes less than the recommended amount of Magnesium from their diet alone.[1,8] That’s more than ½ of the U.S. population!

As a key nutrient vital to good health, Magnesium is an essential mineral the body requires for more than 300 enzymatic reactions.[2] It delivers a variety of health benefits, including the following: [2,3,4]

  • Supports muscle relaxation
  • Supports essential muscle, nerve, and heart function
  • Helps convert food into cellular energy
  • Helps support essential bone and teeth health

What Are The Different Types of Magnesium?

Since dietary supplements can help fill innutrition gaps, you might be thinking about taking a Magnesium supplement. But since Magnesium exists in multiple forms, you might be wondering, “What type of Magnesium should I take?” It really depends on your individual needs and health goals. Let’s break down the different types of Magnesium.

  1. Magnesium Citrate

As one of the most common types of Magnesium, this is a chelated form of magnesium and highly bioavailable, which means it’s easy for the body to absorb. Magnesium Citrate is an organic Magnesium salt. It’s held together with citric acid , which allows Magnesium Citrate to be better absorbed in the body than Magnesium Oxide.[5] It’s a good choice if you want to increase your magnesium levels.

  1. Magnesium Glycinate

Another one of the chelated types of Magnesium is Magnesium Glycinate (sometimes called Magnesium Bisglycinate), which is created from elemental magnesium and glycine (an amino acid). It’s also more easily absorbed by the body, and has better gastrointestinal tolerance than other Magnesium forms such as Magnesium Oxide. Because Magnesium Glycinate istypically   gentle on the stomach, it’s a good choice if you want to increase your Magnesium levels.†

  1. Magnesium Oxide

Magnesium Oxide is a Magnesium salt that consists of Magnesium and oxygen ions. Magnesium Oxide is commonly found in multivitamins and is generally less expensive than chelated forms of magnesium, but may cause some individuals to experience gastrointestinal issues.

  1. Magnesium Malate

This type of Magnesium contains malic acid . This form of magnesium is also chelated and therefore has higher bioavailability than forms such as Magnesium Oxide. Because the digestive tract can easily absorb Magnesium Malate, it may help restore low Magnesium levels. [7]

  1. Magnesium Chloride

As another type of Magnesium salt, Magnesium Chloride contains chlorine. The body absorbs this form more easily than some other forms, which is why it is often used in capsules and tablets to help Magnesium intake.[9]

  1. Magnesium Sulfate

If you’ve ever taken an Epsom salt bath, then you’re familiar with Magnesium Sulfate. When Magnesium, sulfur, and oxygen combine, they form Magnesium Sulfate, which looks similar to table salt.  Instead, it’s often used to relax muscles to help relieve stress. As a salt, it can be dissolved in bathwater, but it’s also added to topical treatments, such as Magnesium oil and body lotions.

  1. Magnesium Lactate

When Magnesium binds with lactic acid (naturally produced by your muscle and blood cells), it forms a salt called Magnesium Lactate. It’s often added to fortify foods with Magnesium.

Additional types of Magnesium exist as well, including:  

Magnesium Taurate, Magnesium L-Threonate, Magnesium Orotate, Magnesium Phosphate, Magnesium Carbonate, and Magnesium Aspartate.

Can You Have Too Much Magnesium?

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for Magnesium varies, but in general, most adult women need 310-320 mg/day and most adult men need 400-420 mg/day.[4]

It’s unlikely that you’ll consume too much Magnesium from food, especially since your kidneys get rid of any excess through the urine.

However, it’s possible to get too much Magnesium from high doses of supplements or medications. .[2] And Magnesium toxicity can occur from taking mega-doses of antacids or laxatives (typically containing more than 5,000 mg/day Magnesium).  .[2]

Turn To Research-Backed Supplements

While eating a healthy, balanced diet is always the best way to get nutrients, supplements can help provide close the nutrient gap and for Magnesium approximately 54% of us are not eating enough magnesium from food alone. Whether you need a Magnesium supplement or another dietary supplement, look to a trusted brand that uses quality ingredients. Since 1971, Nature Made has relied on research to serve as the foundation for our high-quality, science-backed products.

Bottom Line

Magnesium plays an important role in more than 300 enzymatic reactions and provides a variety of health benefits ranging from supporting muscle relaxation to supporting heart health to converting food into cellular energy. Many kinds of Magnesium exist, such as Magnesium Citrate, Magnesium Glycinate, and Magnesium Oxide. The body more easily absorbs certain Types of Magnesium better than others. Magnesium’s benefits include supporting essential muscle and heart function, supporting nerve function, and helping to support bone and teeth health. Magnesium also helps relax the body. The best magnesium supplement really depends on what you’re using it for. Whether you’re considering a calcium magnesium supplement or magnesium glycinate capsules, always talk with your doctor to discuss which supplement would best meet your needs.†

Continue to check back on the Nature Made blog for the latest science-backed articles to help you take ownership

† These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.


  1. “Inadequacy of Immune Health Nutrients: Intakes in US Adults, the 2005-2016 NHANES.” June 2020. Accessed on: September 1, 2022. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7352522/
  2. National Institutes of Health. “Fact Sheet for Professionals: Magnesium.” June 2, 2022. Accessed on: September 2, 2022. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/
  3. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “Magnesium.” 2022. Accessed on: September 6, 2021. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/magnesium/
  4. Oregon State University’s Linus Pauling Institute. “Magnesium.” February 2019. Accessed on: September 6, 2022. https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/minerals/magnesium
  5. Magnesium Research. “Mg citrate found more bioavailable than other Mg preparations in a randomised, double-blind study.” September 2003. Accessed on: September 6, 2022. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14596323/
  6. Current Nutrition & Food Science. “Intestinal Absorption and Factors Influencing Bioavailability of Magnesium-An Update.” November 2017. Accessed on: September 10, 2022. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29123461/
  7. Biological Trace Element Research. “Timeline (Bioavailability) of Magnesium Compounds in Hours: Which Magnesium Compound Works Best?” January 2019. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29679349/


Lisa Beach

NatureMade Contributor

Lisa Beach is a seasoned journalist whose work has been published in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, Eating Well, Parents, AARP’s Disrupt Aging, Optimum Wellness, and dozens more. She also writes for a variety of health/wellness-focused brands. Check out her writer’s website at www.LisaBeachWrites.com.

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Melissa Dorval Pine, RD

Senior Manager, Medical and Scientific Communications

Melissa is a Registered Dietitian and provides leadership to Pharmavite’s Medical and Scientific Education team. She has over 20 years of experience educating consumers, healthcare professionals, retailers and employees about nutrition, dietary supplements, and overall wellness. Prior to joining the Medical and Scientific Communications team, Melissa launched and managed Pharmavite’s Consumer Affairs department and worked as a clinical dietitian throughout Southern California. Melissa received her Bachelor of Science degree in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona, and completed her dietetic internship at Veteran’s Hospital in East Orange New Jersey.

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