Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in your body.
It’s involved in over 300 metabolic reactions that are essential for human health, including energy production, blood pressure regulation, nerve signal transmission, and muscle contraction (1Trusted Source).
Interestingly, low levels are linked to a variety of illnesses, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, mood disorders, and migraines (2Trusted Source).
Although this mineral is present in many whole foods like green leafy vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds, up to two-thirds of people in the Western world don’t meet their magnesium needs with diet alone (1Trusted Source).
To boost intake, many people turn to supplements. However, as multiple varieties of supplemental magnesium exist, it can be difficult to know which one is most appropriate for your needs.
This article reviews 10 various forms of magnesium, as well as their uses.
1. Magnesium citrate
Magnesium citrate is a form of magnesium that’s bound with citric acid.
Magnesium citrate is one of the most common magnesium formulations and can be easily purchased online or in stores worldwide.
Some research suggests that this type is among the most bioavailable forms of magnesium, meaning that it’s more easily absorbed in your digestive tract than other forms (4Trusted Source).
It’s typically taken orally to replenish low magnesium levels. Due to its natural laxative effect, it’s also sometimes used at higher doses to treat constipation.
What’s more, it’s occasionally marketed as a calming agent to help relieve symptoms associated with depression and anxiety, but more research is needed on these uses (5Trusted Source).
Magnesium citrate is one of the most popular types of magnesium supplements and easily absorbed by your body. It’s mainly used to raise magnesium levels and treat constipation.
2. Magnesium oxide
Magnesium oxide is a salt that combines magnesium and oxygen.
It naturally forms a white, powdery substance and may be sold in powder or capsule form. It’s also the main active ingredient in milk of magnesia, a popular over-the-counter medication for constipation relief (6).
This type isn’t typically used to prevent or treat magnesium deficiencies, as some studies report that it’s poorly absorbed by your digestive tract (7Trusted Source).
Instead, it’s more frequently used for short-term relief of uncomfortable digestive symptoms, such as heartburn, indigestion, and constipation. It may also be used to treat and prevent migraines (6, 8Trusted Source).
Magnesium oxide is often used to relieve digestive complaints like heartburn and constipation. Given that the body doesn’t absorb it well, it isn’t a good choice for those who need to raise their magnesium levels.
3. Magnesium chloride
Magnesium chloride is a magnesium salt that includes chlorine — an unstable element that binds well with other elements, including sodium and magnesium, to form salts.
Magnesium chloride is most frequently taken in capsule or tablet form but also sometimes used in topical products like lotions and ointments.
Magnesium chloride is easily absorbed orally and used to treat heartburn, constipation, and low magnesium levels. Also, applying it topically may help relieve muscle soreness but not boost your magnesium levels.
4. Magnesium lactate
Magnesium lactate is the salt formed when magnesium binds with lactic acid.
This acid is not only produced by your muscle and blood cells but also manufactured for use as a preservative and flavoring agent (11).
Indeed, magnesium lactate is utilized as a food additive to regulate acidity and fortify foods and beverages. It’s less popular as an over-the-counter dietary supplement.
Magnesium lactate is easily absorbed and may be a little gentler on your digestive system than other types. This is particularly significant for people who need to take large doses of magnesium regularly or don’t easily tolerate other forms.
In a study in 28 people with a rare condition that required high doses of magnesium daily, those who took a slow-release tablet of magnesium lactate had fewer digestive side effects than the control group (12Trusted Source).
Magnesium lactate is effective as a dietary supplement and possibly gentler on your digestive system. It may be more suitable for those who don’t tolerate other forms or need to take especially large doses.
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5. Magnesium malate
Magnesium malate includes malic acid, which occurs naturally in foods like fruit and wine. This acid has a sour taste and is often used as a food additive to enhance flavor or add acidity.
Research suggests that magnesium malate is very well absorbed in your digestive tract, making it a great option for replenishing your magnesium levels (14Trusted Source).
Some people report that it’s gentler on your system and may have less of a laxative effect than other types. This may be beneficial, depending on your specific needs.
Magnesium malate is occasionally recommended as a treatment for symptoms associated with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. However, there’s currently no strong scientific evidence to support these uses (15Trusted Source).
Magnesium malate is easily absorbed and may have less of a laxative effect than other forms. It’s occasionally recommended for chronic conditions like fibromyalgia, but no current scientific evidence supports this.
6. Magnesium taurate
Magnesium taurate contains the amino acid taurine.
Research suggests that adequate intakes of taurine and magnesium play a role in regulating blood sugar. Thus, this particular form may promote healthy blood sugar levels (16Trusted Source, 17Trusted Source).
A recent animal study revealed that magnesium taurate significantly reduced blood pressure in rats with high levels, indicating that this form may bolster heart health (20Trusted Source).
Keep in mind that human research is needed.
Magnesium taurate may be the best form for managing high blood sugar and high blood pressure, though more studies are necessary.