Types of Magnesium: Which One Is the Best

What You’ll Learn: In this blog, we discuss the different forms of magnesium and how they each support the body in different ways to help you find the magnesium right for your unique needs.

What is one of the most popular supplements on the market? You guessed it, magnesium. We know magnesium is important for our overall health but choosing the best magnesium supplement may be tricky. There are so many different types of magnesium products available on the market, it can be hard to figure out which one is the right fit. Keep reading to learn more about magnesium, its health benefits and which form of magnesium may be right for you.

What Is Magnesium

Magnesium is an essential nutrient responsible for over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body. It is a mineral that is necessary for the metabolism of macronutrients, supporting energy production and enabling healthy bone metabolism. Magnesium may support relaxation of the muscles in the body while also supporting energy production within the mitochondria. It can also support brain health.

While magnesium is found in a wide range of food sources like leafy green vegetables, nuts, legumes and seeds, many people do not consume enough of it.1 This may lead them to their local pharmacy or online shop to add an extra magnesium to their diet.

We know magnesium is important, but when we head to our local pharmacy and we see the wide variety of different magnesium options on the market, it can be overwhelming. How is someone supposed to choose between magnesium citrate versus magnesium glycinate? What about magnesium oxide versus magnesium sulfate? And what about this magnesium threonate that has been trending online lately?

The Different Types of Magnesium

Pure Encapsulations® offers a variety of highly bioavailable chelated magnesium. One thing you’ll notice is that we don’t offer a standalone magnesium in oxide, sulfate or carbonate forms. Why? Well, oxides, sulfates and carbonates are inorganic chelates and just aren’t as well absorbed by the body. Not to mention, they can be a little challenging for the GI tract to tolerate.2 For this reason, we chose to only provide our minerals, like magnesium, in a fully organic chelate form, like citrates, malates and glycinates. Let’s chat more about which forms offer what specific health benefits.

Magnesium citrate
Magnesium citrate is a very well-known magnesium option available on the market. It offers magnesium bound to the highly researched Krebs cycle intermediate, citrate. The Krebs cycle is the biological process responsible for generating energy in the body.3 Citrate is a very well-researched form of magnesium and for this reason, it’s no wonder why many consumers prefer to use this form for all minerals. For magnesium though, magnesium citrate can have a laxative effect when taking above 350 mg of elemental magnesium. For people prone to constipation, this would be the best choice.

Magnesium citrate/malate
Similar to how it sounds, Magnesium citrate/malate offers magnesium bound to both the highly researched Krebs cycle intermediate citrate and malate. For this form, citrate and malate are bound together and then the whole complex is bound to magnesium. It’s been suggested that this mixed chelate form may be better absorbed than just the citrate form alone. This form also has similar laxative properties of citrate.

Magnesium glycinate
I’m willing to bet you’ve at least heard of this form before. Magnesium glycinate is our bestselling magnesium option. The reason for this is because it offers a wide variety of health benefits. From supporting the breakdown of carbohydrates, amino acids, fats to use as energy, to helping support cardiac health, to providing bone support and aiding in the onset of muscle contractions and relaxation to even being a part of our Sleep Health category, magnesium glycinate is a well-rounded mineral.

This form of magnesium is well-tolerated because it's bound to the amino acid glycine. Unlike citrate and citrate/malate, glycinate does not have a laxative effect and is usually preferred by individuals looking to supplement with higher levels of magnesium.

Our Magnesium is so popular, that we even offer it in a variety of different forms, like our Magnesium (glycinate) newly released Magnesium (citrate) Gummy and Magnesium Glycinate Liquid. We wanted to provide a variety of different options for you to try our bestselling magnesium.

Magnesium aspartate
We also offer Magnesium aspartate. Magnesium aspartate offers magnesium bound to the amino acid aspartic acid. Aspartate is a common mineral chelate with a high bioavailability. Just keep in mind that this magnesium has a lower elemental value. Elemental value refers to the true value of a single mineral. So, when you’re looking at the label, you know exactly how much magnesium is provided in that Pure Encapsulations® product. Magnesium aspartate may be a good choice for individuals whose magnesium intakes are just short of adequate and don't require a large dose.

Magnesium malate
Magnesium malate, like that offered in our Cal/Mag malate 2:1 offers magnesium bound to the Kreb’s cycle intermediate malate. Since malate is like citrate it is very similar in bioavailability, or use, in the body. Malate is unique in the fact that it binds two molecules of magnesium to every molecule of malate, many individuals appreciate the efficiency of this product and that this form contains slightly higher levels of magnesium. But, beware! Like citrate, magnesium malate can also have a laxative effect if dosing above 350 mg of elemental magnesium.

Magnesium threonate
Magnesium threonate has been trending lately for its targeted brain support ability. Magnesium threonate is found in our CogniMag product. This form has been shown to cross the blood-brain barrier better than other forms of magnesium, so offers targeted support for brain health.4 The only catch is that magnesium threonate tends to naturally have a low elemental value. This means that generally people tend to also supplement with another form of magnesium to meet their needs.

Sucrosomial magnesium
Here at Pure Encapsulations® we also offer a unique form of magnesium, called sucrosomial magnesium in our UltraMag Magnesium. The difference with this form of magnesium is that it uses a technology that creates a phospholipid bilayer around the mineral that is similar to a liposome. The magnesium ion becomes a new “form” of the mineral. This liposome, or phospholipid bilayer, microencapsulation technology protects the mineral in the gastrointestinal tract, increasing its ability to easily dissolve and cross the cellular membrane for utilization in the body.

How Much Magnesium Should You Take

Now that you know the different types of magnesium, the next logical question is: how much magnesium should I take? Not to worry, we’ve got you covered there too. Simply put, magnesium requirements vary from person to person. This is because if someone already has sufficient magnesium levels in their body, they may not absorb as much magnesium as someone who is mildly deficient in magnesium.

In general, the RDA, or Recommended Dietary Allowance, of magnesium for women ages 19-30 is 310 mg per day and for women ages 31 and older is 320 mg per day. For men, the RDA is slightly higher at 400 mg of magnesium for ages 19-30 and 420 mg of magnesium for ages 31 and older.5

Since magnesium needs are individualized based on age and health condition, we suggest checking with your healthcare provider to determine which dosage is right for you as they know your health history best.

Health Benefits of Magnesium

Now that you know the different types of magnesium and some general guidelines surrounding its suggested dosing, it’s important to know why magnesium matters. Magnesium is an essential and an abundant mineral in the body. Let’s highlight some of the important health benefits magnesium has to offer:

  • It has the unique ability to regulate biochemical reactions in the body, including protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function.6‡
  • Magnesium can even influence glucose metabolism and cardiometabolic health.7‡
  • This mineral also helps support healthy bones and helps with bone mineralization.8‡
  • It even plays a role in our neurological system by supporting both muscle contraction and muscle relaxation.8‡

Magnesium for Overall Wellness

Thanks for staying with me as I walked you through the various forms of magnesium and which one might suit you best. Since everyone’s nutritional needs are unique, it’s important to realize that each type of magnesium has its own distinct benefits. Now that you know what they are, you should be able to make the right decision for yourself regarding which magnesium is the most suitable for your needs. Here at Pure Encapsulations, we offer a variety of different types of magnesium options for you to choose from. Check them out today!

  1. Magnesium, Fact Sheet for Professionals (Accessed November 11, 2021) https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/
  2. Blancquaert L, et al. Predicting and Testing Bioavailability of Magnesium Supplements. Nutrients. 2019 Jul 20;11(7):1663. doi: 10.3390/nu11071663. PMID: 31330811; PMCID: PMC6683096.
  3. Alabduladhem TO, et al. Physiology, Krebs Cycle. [Updated 2022 Nov 23]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2024 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK556032/
  4. Slutsky I, et al. Neuron. 2010 Jan 28;65(2):165-77.
  5. National Institutes of Health. (2016). Office of Dietary Supplements - Magnesium. National Institutes of Health. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/
  6. Institute of Medicine (IOM). Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary Reference Intakes: Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Vitamin D and Fluoride. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1997.
  7. Rude RK. Magnesium. In: Coates PM, Betz JM, Blackman MR, Cragg GM, Levine M, Moss J, White JD, eds. Encyclopedia of Dietary Supplements. 2nd ed. New York, NY: Informa Healthcare; 2010:527-37.
  8. Rude RK. Magnesium. In: Ross AC, Caballero B, Cousins RJ, Tucker KL, Ziegler TR, eds. Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease. 11th ed. Baltimore, Mass: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2012:159-75.