There are different ways of taking Magnesium (Mg) supplements. It would be preferable to gain all the Mg we need from our food but with modern agriculture, this is not easy. With the incidence of pushing Calcium (Ca) and Ca fortification in many foods, it is very difficult to get a good balance of Ca and Mg in our diet. Ca is much more prevalent to the extent that it can be detrimental to our health. If too much is in our bodies without a balanced amount of Mg, Ca can migrate to parts of our body where it doesn’t belong, causing all kinds of problems. That being the case, Mg must be kept to a level where Ca can be controlled and ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) conversion, the ‘energy currency’ inside our mitochondria which keep us moving, can be produced efficiently. Out of all the problems that can be caused from a deficiency of Mg, the Ca:Mg balance must be the most important. It is this balance within our cardiovascular system and blood vessels that keeps a healthy heart and clear arteries. Ca can be a loose cannon if Mg is not around to keep it under control.
Bioavailability of Magnesium
I’ll give below a list of all the main Mg compounds and their bioavailability, which is critical to the absorption of the mineral. The solubility of the Mg salt depicts how much elemental or ionic Mg can be released. These compounds have a ‘stability constant value’ (SCV) ranging from zero and upwards. Low SCV values mean that the compound is soluble in water and easily detaches leaving the metal ionic form to be used by the body. Any SCV below 3 is considered to be soluble enough to be substantially ionized and therefore available for the body to use. I have given the amount of elemental Mg per gram (1000mg) of salt and the SCVs on those near or under 3.
Different Magnesium Salts/Compounds:
- Dimaganesium Malate – 190mg of elemental Mg per 1 gram of salt
- Magnesium Adipate – I don’t know of any supplements – do you?
- Magnesium Aspartate – SCV 2.43 – Avoid – breaks down to aspartic acid which is neurotoxic
- Magnesium Bicarbonate – used as antacids
- Magnesium Carbonate – used as antacids
- Magnesium Chloride – SCV zero – 120mg of elemental Mg per 1 gram of salt*
- Magnesium Citrate – SCV 2.8 – 150mg of elemental Mg per 1 gram of salt*
- Magnesium Gluconate – SCV 0.70 – 50mg of elemental Mg per 1 gram of salt – used in drips
- Magnesium Glutamate – Avoid – breaks down to glutamic acid which is a neurotoxic
- Magnesium Glycinate – SCV 3.45 – 100mg of elemental Mg per 1 gram of salt
- Magnesium Lysinate – used as food additives
- Magnesium Malate – SCV 1.55 – 150mg of elemental Mg per l gram of salt
- Magnesium Orotate – 60mg of elemental Mg per 1 gram of salt
- Magnesium Oxide – Only 4% bioavailable – 600mg of elemental Mg per 1 gram of salt
- Magnesium Phosphate – laxatives and antacids
- Magnesium Sulfate – Epsom Salts – Laxative – 100mg of elemental Mg per 1 gram of salt
- Magnesium Taurate – 100mg of elemental Mg per 1 gram of salt
* The best and most efficient magnesium supplements in my opinion.
Magnesium Chloride and Magnesium Citrate, are the best compounds to take IMHO. Why? Because of their bioavailability. Generally, when a medication is administered intravenously, its bioavailability is 100%. Mg in the Chloride form is also considered to be 100% bioavailable. Because of this, Mg Chloride largely does not go through the digestive system so there is less likelihood of a laxative affect. Mg Chloride can also be used topically if preferred. Soaking the feet or rubbing the solution onto the skin is another way of administering Mg. Oral Mg Chloride has a bitter salty taste and needs to be taken in water. If you want to disguise the taste completely, a little cordial (no aspartame please) does the job.
Another good supplement is Mega-Mag. This comes with a dropper and is easy to measure out in drops. It is a smaller bottle than the Ionic Magnesium ie 4oz with 30 doses but it is cheaper to buy.
With Magnesium Citrate, the bioavailability is slightly less but still it is a worthy supplement which can be helpful, particularly if there’s a problem with constipation, a common side-effect of Mg deficiency, especially in the elderly. It is a gentle laxative with doses that can be easily controlled when using Mg Citrate powder. It is often found that Mg citrate tablets are rather chunky and some people often have trouble swallowing large tablets. This is why the powder is preferable and it is usually tasteless but is a little gritty. I myself, use a dose of Mg Citrate powder sprinkled on my food, plus 2-3 doses of Mg Chloride each day, depending on what I’ve eaten. As I mentioned earlier, Mg Citrate is a bit gritty and goes better in soups, porridge etc.. It will not readily dissolve in water so if put in liquid, it needs to be shaken or stirred regularly while you drink it.
Just a quick word about Magnesium Oxide. This is one of the cheapest forms of Mg and consequently it’s often used in supplements. Trouble is, it has a very high SCV so it is very poorly absorbed, with only 4% being available to the body. Although it has a high magnesium elemental level of 600mg per 1 gram of salt, this only equates to 24% bioavailability at most, for each gram of salt. Mg Oxide will mainly go straight through you, so not much help there at getting your Mg levels up!
As previously mentioned, Magnesium Gluconate is commonly used in drips in hospitals, when rehydration and/or electrolyte balance is needed. Many elderly patients arrive at hospital in a dehydrated condition and if you’re visiting a relative or friend who is on a drip, just have a quick look at the bag which usually displays the electrolytes being administered.
Thank you for reading this post and I would be very interested to hear your comments and questions about this amazing mineral. Good health to you all. Ches
12 thoughts on “Best Magnesium Supplements To Take”
Thank you for suggesting affordable brands. It seems like there are many overpriced magnesium products on the market and not affordable for a retired person. By the way, your link to the Magnesium Citrate is broken. What is the brand you are now suggesting for the citrate? thank you, Phil
Thanks for your comment Philip, Yes, many of my links will be broken but there is a reason for it. I came to the conclusion that if my website is monetized in any way, then possible readers would infer I was “in it for the money” which it untrue. So I decided to take all links to products off and stop all adverts.
As for the brand, I always use a powder of citrate because you can easily adjust your dose. It’s especially good for kids because it is usually tasteless. I find the powder version is often sold by fitness companies who sell all the vits and minerals for their customers. But if you search magnesium citrate powder you will find loads of outlets. Please remember to get pharmaceutical or food grade.
Wonder if you could help me on something. I’ve seen a Magnesium Citrate product on sale and it says:
Serving size: 2 tablets
Magnesium Citrate 1480mg
Providing 444mg Elemental Magnesium per Serving
Now this seems way to high elemental for just 1480mg of Magnesium Citrate?
What do you think?
Hi Scott, seems a bit light on elemental to me. Magnesium citrate dibasic comes out at 168mg elemental and magnesium citrate comes out at 239mg elemental with the dose of 2 tablets. Perhaps you should get onto the supplier and query it! Otherwise, you would have to take 4 tablets to get 478mg of elemental if it’s not the dibasic. Why not use Magnesium Chloride?
The RDA of 400mg is, as I understand it… the MINIMUM amount to prevent Mg deficiency and disease. I have MG Chloride in liquid and oil form… and Mg Citrate in pill form. I have been taking around the 400mg RDA, it is not helping the BPH much… Should I be taking up to 2000mg until symptoms of BPH go away?
What is the OPTIMAL dosage of MG daily, 6’1″ male, 190lbs.
Thanks all! Appreciate any knowledgeable responses!
Hi JJ and thanks for your input. The optimal dosage for you is difficult to define exactly. All of us are so different and you may be be a ‘Mg waster’ which means your body absorbs less than others. Someone of your exact weight and height may need a different dosage than you.
For example hubbie takes 300mg of Mg Chloride daily whereas 1 take upwards of 700mg. I do think that the RDA is too low anyway. Records have shown that most people 100 years ago had around 500mg in their diet. Agricultural practices now have massively reduced the soils nutrients and Mg is one of the most depleted minerals.
How long have you been taking Mg? It can take some time to attain total repletion. If you’re not getting the laxative effect, perhaps you should try upping your dose. If you are getting a laxative effect at the dose you’re taking now, regular foot soaks with Mg sulphate will up your intake as well as a quality skin lotion like Dr Dean’s.
Hi, I take flecainide 100mg twice a day and apixaban 5mg twice a day after an af episode last October. I’m 58 and have no obvious trigger. I’ve lost weight as I’d like to battle this naturally and so need to take supplements to help as much as possible. Can I take magnesium and potassium and taurine whilst I take the above meds? Your advice would be appreciated. Thanks.
Hi Carole, are you familiar with Dr Carolyn Dean? She has been championing Magnesium (Mg) for 30 years. I’ll quote from her book: …”yet my least favorite anti-arrhythmia drug is flecainide, with six fluorine atoms. How ironic, a drug that is supposed to suppress arrhythmia may actually be destroying your Mg, which can only make your arrhythmia worse”. If you check the leaflet that comes with flecainide, there are numerous side effects from the drug that you may be suffering from. If you ask your doctor about Mg, he will likely say don’t take it. Not because Mg is dangerous to take with the drug but because he knows nothing of the mineral and what it does for the heart, unless he is an ND as well as an MD (doctors of the future in my mind).
The left ventricle needs large amounts of Mg and without it, you could have a sudden arrhythmia which stops the heart. This is what happens to many athletes who forget their Mg levels, do excessive strenuous workouts and push themselves in their events. This can cause a sudden serious arrhythmia because the heart keeps contracting but cannot relax.
I’m talking from experience, my late husband had atrial fibrillation and was prescribed flecainide. Whilst speaking to a friend who was also on the same drug, the friend said that those taking this drug do not present with heart attack. It was something that puzzled us for quite awhile until another doctor told us that those who have a heart attack do not recover. This is what happened to my husband. In my mind, that drug was the death of him.
I don’t want to frighten you, I want you to know the facts from someone who has lived with AFib. As for potassium (K), it is important for heart health but without Mg being replete, K will appear deficient. You may even have enough K already but being low in Mg may mask it. Get your Mg levels up and then check your K.
Taurine is very important for the heart but Mg more so. You could take a Mg taurine but therapeutic doses would mean taking quite a few tablets a day. For some, taurine will give the laxative effect. I really would advise for you to try Dr Dean’s ReMag which is a Mg Chloride. (I don’t get a percentage to recommend this product). This is the most absorbable form of Mg I know. My partner makes Mg Chloride solution here at home. I take 600mg – 800mg daily. Incidently, I used to have arrhythmia but don’t suffer from it any more.
Please make sure your Mg levels are up and perhaps see if your doctor can prescribe a different drug. You may find that you don’t need to take drugs once you are replete in Mg. If you had just one episode of AFib, it could have been as I described above, very low Mg and K levels causing an arrythmia that affected the function of your heart. If you do change your drug, ask for one without fluoride. Try educating your doctor… good luck with that!
What are your thoughts on Magnesium Malate and its effect on blood-glucose levels. Also, what are your thoughts on Magnesium Taurate and its effect on reducing heart attacks and blood glucose in type 2 diabetes. Many thanks!
Hi there Rose and thanks for your questions. As for Mg Malate, it has a low stability constant value (SCV) of 1.55 and is mostly bio-available but some people suffer the laxative effect with this salt. All Mg is good for us but IMHO bio availability is most important and with an SCV of zero Mg Chloride gets into the cells efficiently without causing the laxative effect, as long as it is taken sensibly ie. throughout the day and not all at once. Malic acid is thought to be useful for the treatment of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome and is involved in the 7th step of the Krebs cycle that produces our ATP (adenosine triphosphate) but it’s not a co-factor like Mg which is necessary in 6 of the 8 steps of the Krebs cycle. Again, Mg Taurate can cause the laxative effect which is counter productive. You want as much of your elemental Mg to be absorbed and not lost through the digestive system. Taurine is important for the heart but therapeutic amounts of Mg more so. If you want your blood glucose levels stablilized and want to reduce the risk of heart attacks, I would and do choose Mg Chloride.
Very interesting article. I never knew that magnesium was so important. I got some supplements a while ago, but I don’t think it was a very good brand. I appreciate the supplement suggestions.
I also found interesting the discussion on calcium vs. magnesium. I agree calcium is introduced into way too many foods artificially today.
Hi Abdullah and thanks for reading the post. If you do decide to buy a magnesium supplement, go for either Mg Citrate powder or Mg Chloride liquid. Good health to you and yours. Ches