Your guide to magnesium supplements: types and benefits

Your guide to magnesium supplements: types and benefits

Health-conscious consumers are constantly bombarded with supplement options promising to clear their skin, help them lose weight, soothe their minds, and cure virtually any ailment. With so much noise in the wellness space, it can be challenging to determine which supplements are truly worth investing in for optimal health. While the benefits of many supplements are questionable, one that remains a firm favourite is magnesium – and for a good reason. In this article, we’ll explore why magnesium is vital for health maintenance, why supplementation is beneficial for everyone, and the various types of magnesium supplements available, highlighting their differences and unique benefits.

Why magnesium?

Magnesium is an essential mineral required for over 3700 proteins in the body and plays a crucial role in various bodily functions. Some of these include[1]:

  • Energy Production: It aids in converting food into energy
  • Nervous System Regulation: Magnesium helps maintain nerve function and supports muscle health
  • Bone Health: It is essential for the structural development of bones
  • DNA Synthesis: This mineral is involved in the synthesis of DNA and RNA
  • Enzyme Reactions: It acts as a cofactor in over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body

Given its multifaceted role, ensuring adequate magnesium intake is key to maintaining good health. It is recommended that adults consume 270-300mg of magnesium per day, which can be obtained from foods like spinach, wholemeal bread, nuts, seeds and soy products[2]. Despite being present in a wide range of foods, research suggests that magnesium intakes across all adult age ranges are significantly below recommendations[3]. Furthermore, due to soil degradation over the years, magnesium levels in our soils have decreased, leading to reduced uptake by plants and animals through the food chain[4]. Subclinical (undiagnosed) deficiencies of magnesium may result in symptoms such as low mood, poor sleep quality, muscle cramps and low energy (to learn more about magnesium deficiency, click here). As such, supplementation can be a useful tool for many people to boost magnesium levels and support overall health.

Supplementing magnesium

There are various types of magnesium supplements currently available on the market and as a consumer, it can be confusing to understand how they differ. Mainly, they vary based on the carrier they are bound to; nutrients in food supplements need to be in a form that the body can absorb and effectively use and the carrier can heavily impact its bioavailability. Minerals need to be bound to a carrier to ensure they are in a stable state, can be absorbed and are effective at the required site(s) of action around the body. Some supplemental forms of magnesium may also increase the risk of unwanted side effects; for example, it is well known that magnesium oxide can neutralise stomach acid and produce laxative effects[5]. Therefore, choosing the right form of magnesium is particularly important to reduce the risk of side effects and increase the bioavailability of the mineral. Three effective forms of magnesium include magnesium bisglycinate, malate and taurate. Each of these boasts high bioavailability and plays important roles in essential metabolic processes, with each exhibiting its own unique health benefits. Let’s explore…

Magnesium Bisglycinate

Magnesium Bisglycinate is one of the most absorbable forms of magnesium available. Containing glycine, it enhances magnesium’s absorption through the intestinal wall making it highly effective at increasing magnesium levels in the body[6]. Due to its fast absorption, magnesium bisglycinate may be particularly beneficial for short-term effects, such as promoting relaxation and sleep, and may also promote better mood by reducing anxiety and depression[7].

Magnesium Malate

Magnesium Malate combines magnesium with malic acid; like the bisglycinate form, magnesium malate is well absorbed by the body and studies suggest that this form may also increase serum magnesium levels for an extended period of time[8]. Due to its extended presence and absorption efficiency, Magnesium Malate is often recommended for the support of chronic ailments and conditions, such as alleviating muscle cramps and addressing specific muscle conditions such as fibromyalgia[9].

Magnesium Taurate

Unlike some other forms of magnesium, research suggests magnesium taurate is less likely to cause gastrointestinal issues, making it a preferred option for individuals with sensitive stomachs. The taurine the magnesium is bound to may produce mild diuretic effects, but otherwise appears to be well tolerated without adverse effects. Magnesium Taurate has been shown to have a high antioxidant capacity, and as such has demonstrated both antihypertensive and cardioprotective properties in animal models[10]. Combining magnesium with taurine appears to have a synergistic effect in some health complaints, and may help to lower blood pressure, improve insulin resistance and slow the progression of atherosclerosis[11].


It is important to note that research into the specific effects of each form of magnesium in humans is currently lacking, with most used animal models, and it is certainly an area of study which requires expansion. That being said, there are a plethora of studies demonstrating magnesium’s multifaceted and essential role in almost all areas of human health, and the increasing need to boost intake across populations. Due to decreasing magnesium supplies within the food chain and a clear disparity between recommended and true intakes, it would be wise to recommend supplementation of the mineral for the majority of adults, before subclinical and clinical deficiencies can manifest.

Our new Magnesium Powder provides 120mg of elemental magnesium per serving, in the forms of bisglycinate, malate and taurate, to promote absorption and combine the potential benefits of each of these forms of magnesium in at least an additive way, if not synergistically.


[1] Gröber, U., Schmidt, J. and Kisters, K. (2015) ‘Magnesium in prevention and therapy’, Nutrients, 7(9), pp. 8199–8226. doi:10.3390/nu7095388.

[2] NHS (2020) Vitamins and Minerals, NHS choices. Available at: (Accessed: 24 May 2024).

[3] Derbyshire, E. (2018) ‘Micronutrient intakes of British adults across mid-life: A secondary analysis of the UK national diet and nutrition survey’, Frontiers in Nutrition, 5. doi:10.3389/fnut.2018.00055.

[4] Chaudhry, A.H. et al. (2021) ‘Current understandings on magnesium deficiency and future outlooks for Sustainable Agriculture’, International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 22(4), p. 1819. doi:10.3390/ijms22041819.

[5] National Institutes of Health (2022) Office of dietary supplements – magnesium, NIH Office of Dietary Supplements. Available at: (Accessed: 24 May 2024).

[6] Yin, L.-H. et al. (2017) ‘Structural characterization of calcium glycinate, magnesium glycinate and zinc glycinate’, Journal of Innovative Optical Health Sciences, 10(03), p. 1650052. doi:10.1142/s1793545816500528.

[7] Eby, G.A. and Eby, K.L. (2006) ‘Rapid recovery from major depression using magnesium treatment’, Medical Hypotheses, 67(2), pp. 362–370. doi:10.1016/j.mehy.2006.01.047.

[8] Uysal, N. et al. (2018) ‘Timeline (bioavailability) of magnesium compounds in hours: Which magnesium compound works best?’, Biological Trace Element Research, 187(1), pp. 128–136. doi:10.1007/s12011-018-1351-9.

[9] Boulis, Michael, Boulis, Mary and Clauw, D. (2021) ‘Magnesium and fibromyalgia: A literature review’, Journal of Primary Care & Community Health, 12, p. 215013272110384. doi:10.1177/21501327211038433.

[10] Shrivastava, P. et al. (2019) ‘Magnesium taurate attenuates progression of hypertension and cardiotoxicity against cadmium chloride-induced hypertensive albino rats’, Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, 9(2), pp. 119–123. doi:10.1016/j.jtcme.2017.06.010.

[11] DiNicolantonio, J.J., Liu, J. and O’Keefe, J.H. (2018) ‘Magnesium for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease’, Open Heart, 5(2). doi:10.1136/openhrt-2018-000775.

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Elisabeth Philipps

Karen Devine

Karen Devine

Shelley Harvey

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