Demystifying the Forms of Magnesium

Posted by Tami Gaines on Jul 23, 2018 10:51:07 AM

Demystifying the forms of magnesium

Magnesium is one of the most abundant minerals in the human body, and 50% of magnesium is located in the bones. Magnesium is a necessary cofactor for over 300 biochemical reactions in the human body. These chemical reactions help the body do everything from building muscles, maintaining nerve function, promoting a healthy heart, and sustaining optimal immune system function.

There are many forms of magnesium and understanding what each does can  be tricky.  Here’s a simple guide to the nine types of Magnesium.


  1. Magnesium Amino Acid Chelate

A magnesium amino acid chelate is magnesium connected to an amino acid. This could be a glycine, aspartic acid (aspartate) or arginine (arginate), or another amino acid. Magnesium aspartate and arginate are considered to be the best.

  1. Magnesium Oxide

Magnesium oxide is therapeutically used as a laxative and to provide relief for acid reflux. Because this form of magnesium has poor bioavailability (only 4%), magnesium oxide supplements may contain up to 60% more magnesium than other supplements so that enough can enter the bloodstream and provide the intended effect.[2]

  1. Magnesium Orotate

Magnesium orotate, also called magnesium orotate dihydrate, is the most effective form of magnesium supplement and extremely helpful for addressing deficiencies.[4] Magnesium orotate is a compound that includes both magnesium and orotic acid. Extensive scientific research by Dr. Hans A. Nieper, M.D. shows orotates can penetrate cell membranes, enabling the effective delivery of the magnesium ion to the innermost layers of the cellular mitochondria and nucleus.[5] This is particularly important in heart and nerve cells, which are unable to renew or regenerate when damaged, and hence effective delivery of magnesium is important to the recovery of these tissues.[6] Magnesium orotate has many properties that support your health while providing one of the most readily absorbable forms of magnesium.

  1. Magnesium Chloride

Magnesium chloride has a higher bioavailability than magnesium oxide and magnesium citrate, and a bioavailability equivalent to magnesium lactate.[2] The magnesium concentration in magnesium chloride supplements is low, around 12%, to balance its higher bioavailability. A supersaturated magnesium chloride oil can be applied to the skin for sore muscles and has been recommended by some as a supplement for those who experience an undesired laxative effect from pills.[7]

  1. Magnesium Lactate

This type of magnesium shows higher levels of bioavailability than magnesium oxide. Magnesium lactate is a mineral supplement commonly used to manage digestive issues. Magnesium lactate should be avoided by those with kidney disease or kidney-related problems.

  1. Magnesium Sulfate

Magnesium sulfate is a form of magnesium with an elemental concentration of 10% and lower levels of bioavailability. It contains magnesium, sulfur, and oxygen and is often sold as Epsom Salt, which can be added to baths to relieve sore muscles. Magnesium sulfate has been found to have pain-killing properties during spinal anesthesia, but may cause headaches during the procedure.[8]

  1. Magnesium Carbonate

Also called magnesite, magnesium carbonate is used as a remedy for heartburn and upset stomach. Its bioavailability is about 30% when taken internally. Magnesium carbonate has a strong laxative effect when taken in high amounts. It is also commonly used as chalk used as a drying agent by pitchers, gymnasts, rock climbers, and weightlifters.

  1. Magnesium Glycinate, Malate, & Taurates

These are chelated forms of magnesium which are sold with lower concentrations of magnesium because it is in a highly bioavailable form. These three types of magnesium have a variety of uses.

Which is the best form for you?

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