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Magnesium is one of the most versatile and vital compounds in the human body. As such, it’s equally crucial to have in your daily regimen and potentially confusing to include in your routine.
Luckily, the market has developed several forms of magnesium, mixing the mineral with specific chemical compounds to target particular problems. And within that broad field, we’ve done the legwork to narrow down the best options for several ailments:
- Best overall magnesium supplement: biOptimizers
- Best for relaxation: Natural Stacks
- Best for athletes: Organixx
- Best for sleep: Akasha Naturals
- Best or digestion: Pure Essence
Keep reading to find out how we determined our winners and why these particular products made the cut.
Top 5 Magnesium Supplements: Our Picks
Magnesium is far from a one-trick pony. This essential mineral is involved in numerous bodily functions, so a number of different magnesium supplements stand out in their particular fields.
For those looking for the ultimate magnesium supplement, biOptimizers have the answer.
Their Magnesium Breakthrough supplement includes 7 vital forms of magnesium (e.g., magnesium citrate, magnesium malate), using some of the best potentials of the mineral to address a number of major needs.
Muscle building and recovery, digestive health and metabolism, chronic pain, depression and anxiety, immune system function, bone health, and heart health are just a few of the benefits offered by the company’s proprietary blend of magnesium, plus vitamin B6, which helps synthesize the mix.
In fact, the product has so many wonderful effects that the company recommends splitting up the dosage, taking one pill in the morning to help support muscle support and stress response throughout the day, and one at night, to help promote healthier, more restful sleep.
- Includes seven major forms of magnesium
- Includes vitamin B6 for maximized absorption
- More general-purpose rather than targeted toward specific needs
How to Take It: Recommended one tablet with your morning meal and one tablet with your evening meal.
Why People Like It: As may be expected with such a versatile product, customer reviews run the gamut, praising Magnesium Breakthrough for everything from promoting better sleep to alleviating morning sickness.
Tapping into the magnesium’s neuro transmitting talents, Natural Stacks’ Magtech Magnesium aims to promote healthy brain activity and create more profound relaxation—and less stress—from the inside.
The company utilizes three specific forms of magnesium to do so:
- Magnesium glycinate, a renowned sleep aid, and anxiety fighter.
- Magnesium taurate, which protects against cognitive aging.
- A proprietary mixture called Magtein, which the company says supports cognitive function and helps stimulate the GABA brain waves that encourage deep relaxation.
The company is also passionate about third-party testing, sending all their products out to the lab to ensure safety and quality and posting all the results on their website, so would-be buyers can see results for themselves before making a purchase.
- Highly bioavailable forms of magnesium
- May cause nausea if taken on an empty stomach
How to Take It: Recommended three capsules a day with your evening meal.
Why People Like It: Most customers applauded the magnesium supplement’s as-advertised abilities to help them relax and release brain fog. A few also raved about bonus effects, like better sleep and help with leg cramps.
For athletes looking to treat their muscles before, during, or after a workout, Organixx’s Magnesium 7 provides the best type of natural boost.
As its name suggests, the supplement packs in 7 different forms of magnesium, many of which are specifically targeted for building muscle strength or helping them unwind. The magnesium orotate found in the product is a boon to heart and blood health (including supporting blood pressure) and overall exercise performance.
Magnesium aspartate helps muscles build strength, and, on the flip side, magnesium chelate is a noted relief for muscle cramps, including those brought on by menstruation.
All of this comes from a company that utilizes USDA-certified organic ingredients and goes out of its way to third-party test its product for safety and quality.
- Third-party tested
- May cause nausea if not taken as directed
How to Take It: It is recommended to take 2 capsules with your evening meal.
Why People Like It: While many of the forms of magnesium used in this supplement are of particular benefit to muscles, several users have also reported getting great sleep after using Magnesium 7, which can lead to even better workouts.
While it’s true that the magnesium citrate included in Akasha Natural’s Muscle Ease P.M. does a lot of heavy lifting when it comes to helping muscles relax and promoting a better headspace for sleep, the company mixed a few other herbal goodies into the mix to make an even more powerful punch.
Among them are valerian root, an ancient herb long used to bring on sleep:
- Passionflower, which is not only a known sleep aid but a natural anxiety reducer.
- Lemon balm, which has anti-anxiety and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as helps promote sleep.
Plus, the concoction includes a dose of calcium, which helps synergize the formula and is another essential mineral to include in a daily routine.
- All-natural ingredients
- Causes drowsiness; not suitable for daytime use
How to Take It: It is recommended to take 3 capsules with your evening meal.
Why People Like It: Customers loved the natural and high-quality sleep the product promoted for them, without any leftover grogginess in the morning. And some credited the daily magnesium boost for an overall brighter mood.
Of its many beneficial uses, magnesium is one of the most potent digestive aids. That goes doubly so for how the mineral is handled in Pure Essence’s Ionic-Fizz Magnesium Plus.
The carbonation created by the fizzy drink immediately helps to alleviate digestive pain. Meanwhile, the orally-ingested magnesium can help keep the digestive tract moving long after the drink is done.
The product also includes several other essential vitamins and minerals, making it a useful and easy way to round out your nutrition while helping your stomach. And even the form of magnesium it includes works double-duty, simultaneously helping promote better sleep.
- Range of flavors and sizes
- Fast-acting effects
- Carbonation may cause burping
How to Take It: Add a scoop of the powder to an 8 oz. drink. Wait for the formula to stop fizzing, then drink.
Why People Like It: People love the way this product tastes and the feel of the carbonated bubbles it creates. And aside from aiding with sleep and digestion, the product has also helped many customers manage their anxiety, according to reviews.
How We Choose the Best Magnesium Products
Vitamin and mineral supplements can add a lot of benefits to a daily routine — but often, these products are only as good as the brands that create them.
From safe sourcing to trustworthy promises, a lot goes into producing an effective magnesium supplement. We’ve waded through the market with several key factors in mind to help us separate the companies that care about their product from those who only want a profit.
Quality Sourcing and Processing
Perhaps the most under-examined aspect of the production of magnesium supplements, sourcing and processing is also one of the most important, playing a massive role in the ultimate overall quality.
From synthetically created to shipped in from overseas, magnesium can be sourced from a number of different places today — some safer and more ethical than others. When determining our top 5 magnesium supplements, we ensure companies put all those pieces together responsibly. And we strive to see brands that manufacture their products in a safe and sterile facility.
It’s an unfortunate truth of the business world that advertising often has little to do with how worthwhile an actual product is.
To avoid falling for brands that put style over substance, we examine the ingredients used and measure that against current scientific data. For example, certain combinations of vitamins and minerals can add a potent punch to magnesium supplementation, and some added ingredients may offer different types of benefits for different kinds of people.
We also comb through verified online reviews to ensure that buyers of these magnesium supplements were happy with their results overall, keeping in mind everything from product quality to customer service.
Most people looking for magnesium supplementation are interested in boosting their overall health. And products made from harmful, unethical, or unnecessary ingredients seem at odds with that motivation.
We search for brands that commit to a safe and healthy product. Outside signs of this ideal include all-natural, organic, ethically-sourced, or healthy botanical ingredients and products that get third-party tested whenever possible.
Unfortunately, vitamin and mineral supplements aren’t regulated in the United States, meaning they aren’t held to the same high government standards imposed on most other food and medical products. And many sneaky-but-savvy businesses will take advantage of this lax environment.
In this world of questionable promises, flashy graphics, and slick ads, we’ve found that the best products usually come from mission-driven brands.
Motivated not by money but by the desire to give back, we’ve found that these companies are more likely to use well-sourced materials and care more, overall, about their product quality and customer satisfaction.
Benefits of Magnesium for Health and Wellness
Making up at least part of every human cell, magnesium is one of the most essential minerals in the body. It’s mostly contained within our bones, but every cell needs adequate magnesium intake to function correctly.
Perhaps unsurprisingly then, the mineral is involved in several crucial processes throughout the body, responsible for more than 600 different types of cellular reactions.
Some of the biggest tasks magnesium helps with include:
- Converting food into energy.
- Helping create and repair DNA and RNA.
- Creating new proteins out of amino acids (e.g., amino acid glycine).
- Helping regulate the neurotransmitters that send messages between the brain and body.
- Aiding in proper muscle function, specifically contraction and relaxation.
And since the mineral wears so many hats, getting the correct daily dose of magnesium can help in a number of areas. Proper magnesium levels have been linked to:
- Mood-boosting abilities, specifically help combat depression.
- Supporting healthy blood sugar levels.
- Lower risk of heart disease and stroke.
- Lower blood pressure.
- Anti-inflammatory properties.
- Better bone health.
- Help against migraines.
- Better sleep.
- Improved PMS symptoms.
Essentially, if there’s a process the body performs, magnesium can help the body perform it, making it a central player in all manner of health and wellness.
What to Look For When Buying Magnesium Supplements
While it’s usually a positive step to incorporate vitamin and mineral supplements into your daily routine, there are a number of factors to consider before making this step.
First, you’ll want to look at the ingredients list and weed out any products with unsafe additives. This can be trickier than it seems. For example, while magnesium is what you’re looking for in a good product, magnesium silicate is closer to asbestos than the helpful mineral.
Hydrogenated oils, titanium dioxide, artificial food colorings, and artificial flavors are other common fillers that don’t add anything particularly healthy to the mix.
Type of Magnesium
There are also a number of different types of magnesium, including magnesium citrate, magnesium oxide, magnesium glycinate, magnesium sulfate, and magnesium malate.
Getting the mineral supplement in the proper form is key to ensuring you absorb the substance properly and stay away from any unwanted side effects.
If you have any preexisting health conditions, these should also be considered. In this case, it’s important to always talk to your doctor before starting a magnesium supplement or any type of herbal supplement, as your needs may vary from general recommendations.
Even if you don’t have preexisting health conditions, it’s important to consider just how much magnesium you’ll need on a given day. Exact amounts vary by individual, but as a general guideline, the daily dose of magnesium people should consume includes:
- Men, age 19 and up: 400-420 mg.
- Women, age 19 and up: 310-320 mg.
- Pregnant women: 350-360 mg.
- Lactating women: 310-320 mg.
Remember that magnesium also naturally occurs in a number of common foods, including pumpkin and chia seeds, cooked black beans or edamame, almonds, cashews, cooked brown rice, avocado, salmon, and peanut butter.
Try to consider all these factors when determining how much magnesium you want or need to get out of your supplement. And, if you still aren’t sure about your dietary needs, consult a doctor.
When and How to Take Magnesium Supplements
Studies have shown that magnesium can be safely taken at any time of day. On the other hand, you’ll have to take the supplement consistently for it to be most effective.
This typically means taking your magnesium supplement every day (whether taking magnesium powders or in capsule form). The specific dosage depends on the brand and should be explained on the product’s packaging.
And the method you use to take the supplements also depends on whether you’re taking magnesium citrate, magnesium oxide, magnesium carbonate, or another form of magnesium. Again, further details should be available through the product’s website or packaging.
Still, many experts agree that it’s a more pleasant experience overall to take magnesium either with food or on a full stomach. This can help combat the mineral’s more common — and less comfortable side effects, including nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
Types of Magnesium
Aside from being one of the most common types of minerals in the body, magnesium also comes in many different forms.
Mixed with a number of different ingredients, the versatile mineral can help with any number of bodily functions. Which form of magnesium is best for you may depend on several factors, including the desired effect you’re looking for and your general health.
Some of the most common types of magnesium supplements include:
One of the most widely-used forms of magnesium, magnesium citrate, binds the mineral to salt and citric acid.
Typically used to treat constipation, this combination usually comes in powder form, to be mixed with water and taken orally.
Another type of magnesium salt, magnesium oxide, is usually mixed with oxygen and sold over the counter in capsule, tablet, or powder form.
Magnesium oxide is used to help with heartburn or stomach discomfort. But some people also use this form of magnesium to generally supplement their diet.
Most commonly sold as a tablet, this combination of magnesium and chloride mimics a natural pairing that occurs in seawater.
It’s most typically used by people who have a magnesium deficiency and are generally looking to boost their magnesium levels.
Another magnesium salt, magnesium malate combined with malic acid, this form of magnesium is typically used to treat neuromuscular system conditions, including fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue.
The formula is also particularly easy for the body to absorb, making it a beneficial magnesium supplement for many people.
Tapping into magnesium’s connection to neurotransmitters, magnesium glycinate combines the mineral with the amino acid and known sleep aid, glycine.
Combined, the formula can help bring on quality sleep and help alleviate anxiety and physical signs of stress.
You’re likely more familiar with this form of magnesium’s brand name: Epsom salt.
Combining the mineral with sulfur and oxygen, the final product can have a number of beneficial effects on the muscles, relieving soreness and inducing stress release. When taken orally, this form of magnesium can also help with constipation.
Other Products to Try
Magnesium is a pretty miraculous mineral, but it’s far from the only helpful herbal supplement on the market.
If you’re interested in getting as many benefits as possible out of natural products, some of these options may be a great choice, especially if you’re looking for:
- More well-rounded nutrition: A daily multivitamin may be a great option to help ensure you’re getting proper levels of a number of vital vitamins and minerals.
- Prenatal help: Prenatal vitamins are often specifically formulated, incorporating all of the most essential nutritional needs for pregnant women—including magnesium—into a single pill.
- Help with poor sleep: Melatonin supplements provide a natural and effective way to increase quality sleep time.
- Help with joint pain pain and/or stress relief: CBD is one of the rare nutritional supplements that can actually live up to all the claims about it. Products that include CBD—including a number of multivitamins — can help in these or a number of other areas.
The world of dietary supplements can be a particularly confusing one, leaving many grey areas and unanswered questions. Here are some of the most common answers about magnesium supplements that people seek out.
What are the benefits of magnesium?
Magnesium is one of the most plentiful and essential minerals in the body. The common compound helps with more than 600 bodily functions but is particularly helpful when it comes to:
- Boosting your energy and mood.
- Supporting blood sugar.
- Relaxing sore muscles.
- Relieving constipation.
- Increasing quality sleep.
What are the signs of a magnesium deficiency?
Magnesium deficiencies are rare but may be linked to several external conditions, including alcoholism and taking certain medications.
Signs of a magnesium deficiency include:
- Loss of appetite.
- Nausea or vomiting.
- Muscle spasms.
- Fatigue or weakness.
- A feeling of pins and needles.
- Abnormal heart rhythms.
If left unchecked, low magnesium levels can contribute to a number of detrimental health effects, such as:
- Heart disease.
- High blood pressure.
Can I take magnesium supplements every day?
It’s usually safe to take daily magnesium supplements, and some studies have found this to be the most efficient way to intake magnesium.
However, you should always follow the recommendations of any particular product’s packaging, and it’s also important to consult with your doctor before starting any daily supplement regimen.
When is the best time to take magnesium?
Magnesium can be safely taken at any time of day. However, it’s recommended to take a magnesium supplement with food or on a full stomach to avoid potential side effects like nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
Do magnesium supplements cause gas?
Magnesium supplements can have a number of impacts on the digestive system. Some forms of magnesium can cause gas, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, bloating, and upset stomach.
Choosing the Best Magnesium Supplement for You
Magnesium is one of the most important minerals found within the body, making a helpful difference in every human cell. Therefore, it’s important to ensure you have enough of this vital mineral in your daily diet.
Still, not all magnesium supplements are created equal. When choosing the best magnesium supplement, it’s important to keep in mind several critical factors, including:
- The effect you hope to achieve from the supplement.
- Any preexisting health conditions or future health goals.
- How much magnesium you already get in your diet.
- Your age, gender, and stage of life.
And when seeking out the best brand of magnesium, you should also keep in mind:
- Ingredient integrity—how clean is the supplement you’re taking?
- Brand reputation.
- Customer reviews.
Keep in mind, too, that magnesium is incredibly adaptable. The mineral is included in a number of different chemical combinations formulated to target specific bodily functions.
It’s important to double-check that the form of magnesium you’re choosing best matches your desired result, whether that be digestive help, muscle relaxation, better sleep, lower blood pressure, or less anxiety. Understand the differences that each type of magnesium provides, including:
- Magnesium citrate
- Magnesium oxide
- Magnesium glycinate
- Magnesium bisglycinate
But with a bit of research — and the approval of your doctor — a magnesium supplement may be just the thing you need to bring all the best out of your body.
This story was originally published June 10, 2022 3:00 PM.