Magnesium Types and The Differences Explained

What do you need to have a good day? A good cup of tea? Likely! Sunny weather? Always! Dinner prepped? Yes, please! How about magnesium? Let’s share why!

Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in our bodies, and we cannot make it on our own or store it, which means, yes, it needs to be part of our daily routine. At this point, you may be wondering whether getting enough magnesium is really significant enough to make or break the day. It depends on how much you like your body doing what it’s supposed to do, like keeping a regular heart rhythm. 😉

This mineral, which is also one of the body’s electrolytes, is required for over 600 chemical reactions in the body. Regulating muscle contraction, so your heartbeat remains strong, is just one of the numerous benefits of magnesium. You name it, and magnesium is probably involved. It helps with protein synthesis and muscle function. It is essential for the functioning of the thyroid. It helps in the manufacturing of steroid hormones which include progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone. It also helps to normalize the action of progesterone on the central nervous system deeming it helpful in PMS, migraines, and menopause. It may lower blood pressure, decrease your risk of heart disease, and improve sleep quality and cortisol levels. Magnesium may even prevent inflammation that’s associated with certain cancers, a 2017 study found.

Let’s not forget the symptoms of magnesium deficiency, which range from general fatigue, muscle weakness, premature aging, obesity, to osteoporosis and personality changes. Yikes. We think these are severe enough to ruin a good day.

Unfortunately, magnesium deficiency is a widespread problem. Research shows that 1 in 7 of us are experiencing low-magnesium health issues right now! Luckily, people who already are eating or choose to start a diet low in processed foods are probably already coming close to hitting the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of 400–420 mg of magnesium for adult men and 310–360 mg for adult women. However, research also shows that this RDA may be too low considering the American diet and the fact our bodies tend to only absorb 50% of the magnesium we ingest through our food sources. This would explain why so many of us are still exhibiting low magnesium related health issues and for some of us, supplements are simply necessary to no longer be deficient or suffer from symptoms of magnesium deficiency—and that’s where it might start to get a little complicated.

If you’ve looked into magnesium supplements, you probably noticed pretty quickly that there are a lot of different types of magnesium. There is actually a total of TEN different kinds of magnesium! However, if it makes you feel better, there is really only seven you should consider out of the ten…makes this learning process a bit easier. And to make matters even better, we are always in store ready to help you with a few of our favorite go-to’s in mind!

The Types and Uses

Magnesium citrate — Magnesium citrate is the most popular magnesium supplement, probably because it is inexpensive and easily absorbed. Since citric acid is a mild laxative, magnesium citrate functions as a constipation aid as well as a magnesium source. It is a great choice for individuals with rectal or colon problems but is unsuitable for those with loose bowel movements.

Magnesium taurate — Magnesium taurate is the best choice of magnesium supplement for people with cardiovascular issues, since it is known to prevent arrhythmias and guard the heart from damage caused by heart attacks. Magnesium taurate is easily absorbed and it contains no laxative properties.

Magnesium malate — Magnesium malate is a fantastic choice for people suffering from fatigue, since malic acid — a natural fruit acid present in most cells in the body — is a vital component of enzymes that play a key role in ATP synthesis and energy production. Since the ionic bonds of magnesium and malic acid are easily broken, magnesium malate is also highly soluble.

Magnesium glycinate — Magnesium glycinate (magnesium bound with glycine, a non-essential amino acid) is one of the most bioavailable and absorbable forms of magnesium, and also the least likely to induce diarrhea. It is the safest option for correcting a long-term deficiency.

Magnesium chloride — Though magnesium chloride only contains around 12 percent elemental magnesium, it has an impressive absorption rate and is the best form of magnesium to take for detoxing the cells and tissues. Moreover, chloride (not to be confused with chlorine, the toxic gas) aids kidney function and can boost a sluggish metabolism.

Magnesium carbonate — Magnesium carbonate is another popular, bioavailable form of magnesium that actually turns into magnesium chloride when it mixes with the hydrochloric acid in our stomachs. It is a good choice for people suffering from indigestion and acid reflux, since it contains antacid properties.

Here is a list of whole foods, most of which are in store, that offer a good quantity of magnesium:

  • Pumpkin seeds, 168 mg per ounce
  • Almonds, 80 mg per ounce dry roasted
  • Cashews, 74 mg per ounce dry roasted
  • Peanuts, 63 mg per ounce oil roasted
  • Spinach, 78 mg per ½ cup boiled
  • Black beans, 60 mg per ½ cup cooked
  • Edamame, 50 mg per ½ cup cooked
  • Dark chocolate, 50 mg per ounce serving of 60–69 percent cocoa
  • Whole-wheat bread, 46 mg per 2 slices
  • Avocados, 44 mg per cubed cup

The following are in our opinion the worst forms of magnesium and should not be considered, but it’s smart to have all the information!

Magnesium oxide — Magnesium oxide is the most common form of magnesium sold in pharmacies, but it is non-chelated and possesses a poor absorption rate compared to those listed above.

Magnesium sulfate — Magnesium sulfate, also called Epsom salt, is a fantastic constipation aid but an unsafe source of dietary magnesium, since overdosing on it is easy. So go ahead, take your bath, but please DO NOT CONSUME!

Magnesium glutamate and aspartate — Avoid these two forms of magnesium completely. Glutamic acid and aspartic acid are components of the dangerous artificial sweetener aspartame, and both of them become neurotoxic when unbound to other amino acids.

Potential side effects

When you eat a lot of food sources of magnesium, your body is able to excrete the excess through urine. We only absorb roughly 50% of the magnesium content of the foods we eat. That isn’t the case with supplements, which is why following medical advice about dosing is crucial. High doses may lead to magnesium poisoning, though this is usually caused by a combination of kidney insufficiency and excess magnesium intake. For that reason, people with kidney disease are at a greater risk of hypermagnesemia (too much magnesium.)

Although some forms of magnesium have a more pronounced effects than others, all of them may cause digestive issues or gastrointestinal discomfort from bloating and gas to loose stools.

As always, listen to your body, read the ingredients, and get plenty of water!

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