the apathecary

Magnesium Supplementation: Which is the best?

Dec 11, 2022
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With so many Magnesium supplements on the market, which one is the best? Let's take a look at what magnesium is used for, along with some of the best ways to get it. Also, the top 4 magnesium supplements based on their ability to be absorbed.

Magnesium is the 4th most abundant mineral in your body and 2nd most abundant intracellularly. It is used in over 300 metabolic processes in the body and helps in a variety of disease states such as migraines, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, high cholesterol, and cardiac issues, just to name a few1.

The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of magnesium is around 310-320mg/day for females and 400-420mg/day for males.

Now, if you know me, I always stress getting your nutrients through the diet, as this is the way it was originally designed. Some of the top foods for this are: Spinach (157mg/cup), Squash & Pumpkin Seeds (156mg/cup), Tuna (109mg/6oz. fillet), Brown Rice (86mg/cup), and Avocados (58mg/avocado). So, eating a variety of these foods could get you to your daily allowance. But, unfortunately, even today, this isn’t even enough. Firstly, because the Western Diet doesn’t foster healthy eating and secondly, the nutrient content of our foods have diminished due to poor soil and over-cooking2.

So, this leaves us to supplement as our next option to make up the difference. But, with so many magnesium supplements (and salts) on the market, this leads us to into a dilemma:


Which Magnesium supplement is the best to take?


Let’s break down a few of my favorite magnesium supplements, along with what they might be best for.

  • Magnesium Citrate- This magnesium is hooked to citric acid, an organic compound which is used in the Krebs Cycle (or Citric Acid Cycle) to produce energy. This mainly occurs in the mitochondria. So, this supplement helps feed the mitochondria as well. It also has good absorption. But watch out, too much can be a laxative (Ever seen the Glass bottles of Mag Citrate you use for constipation)! Now, it would take a lot to cause this, more than what’s found in a supplement, so staying in the recommended RDA would not cause this.


  • Magnesium Malate- This magnesium is hooked to malic acid, another organic compound used in the Krebs Cycle. This helps the mitochondria as well. This supplement has one of the highest absorption rates along with staying in the bloodstream the longest, thereby allowing your body to use the magnesium and get it to where it needs to go3.


  • Magnesium Glycinate- This magnesium is hooked to glycine, which is an amino acid that is involved in many biological processes. This supplement has excellent absorption. Some of the main functions that glycine helps with are neurological, such as for sleep and depression4. Along with increasing the magnesium, this supplement could promote a better sleep cycle, although I would dose it at bedtime.


  • Magnesium Taurate- This magnesium is hooked to taurine, an essential amino acid (meaning that you must get it from the diet and your body doesn’t make it) that has many beneficial uses found throughout the body. Some of these are antioxidant, energy metabolism, neuromodulation (decreases neuron firing), and cardioprotective5. This supplement has some of the best absorption, with the highest found in the brain and second to malate in the blood3,4.


Wrapping it all up:

Magnesium is an important mineral for our bodies. While there are many ways to get magnesium into the body, diet is best, followed by supplementation. Now, not all supplementations are created equal. The 4 salts that I recommend all have great absorption, along with potentially helping in other areas as well. I would choose one (or a combo of them) based on my secondary needs, while avoiding the other supplements on the market that don’t have great absorption, like magnesium oxide.



  1. Schwalfenberg, Gerry K, and Stephen J Genuis. “The Importance of Magnesium in Clinical Healthcare.” Scientifica 2017 (2017): 4179326. doi:10.1155/2017/4179326
  2. Ates, Mehmet et al. “Dose-Dependent Absorption Profile of Different Magnesium Compounds.” Biological trace element research 192,2 (2019): 244-251. doi:10.1007/s12011-019-01663-0
  3. Uysal, Nazan et al. “Timeline (Bioavailability) of Magnesium Compounds in Hours: Which Magnesium Compound Works Best?.” Biological trace element research 187,1 (2019): 128-136. doi:10.1007/s12011-018-1351-9
  5. Schaffer, Stephen, and Ha Won Kim. “Effects and Mechanisms of Taurine as a Therapeutic Agent.” Biomolecules & therapeutics 26,3 (2018): 225-241. doi:10.4062/biomolther.2017.251