What Are the Different Types of Magnesium and What Do They Do?

Different Types of Magnesium
We often hear about the importance of magnesium and how most people don’t get enough magnesium in their diet. However, there are many different types of magnesium, and what type of magnesium is the best to take is not as often discussed.



When it comes to taking the correct type of magnesium, it really depends on what your needs are, as different types of magnesium do different things. In this article, we will discuss the different types of magnesium and uses for these different types.



What Is Magnesium?




Magnesium is a mineral that the body needs to stay healthy and function properly. Magnesium is essential for many processes in the body, including regulating muscle and nerve function, supporting healthy blood sugar levels, regulating blood pressure, and making protein, bone, and DNA. (1)



Magnesium is found in many foods, such as legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, dairy, and leafy green vegetables. Most people today, however, do not get enough magnesium in their diet. This is largely because the standard diet for many people today is lacking in foods like leafy green vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Furthermore, as a result of modern industrial agriculture, magnesium and other vital minerals have been stripped from the soil. This has led to low levels of magnesium in many foods, even those that used to be good sources of this important mineral. 



To learn more about the health benefits of magnesium, read our article “What Are the Health Benefits of Magnesium?”



What Are the Different Types of Magnesium?

Types of Magnesium


There are many different types of magnesium. These different types of magnesium are made by combining magnesium with other elements to accomplish certain health benefits. The primary varieties of magnesium include:



1. Magnesium Chloride



This form of magnesium is primarily used to boost magnesium levels in people deficient in this essential mineral. It is one of the best types of magnesium to use for magnesium deficiencies and people with low magnesium levels. This is the type of magnesium that we use in our Ionic Magnesium Tonic, which is formulated with biodynamic hydrosols to enhance bioavailability.

2. Magnesium Citrate



Magnesium citrate is a type of magnesium that is combined with citric acid. It is most commonly used for inducing bowel movements and treating constipation. Citric acid is the acid in citrus fruits that gives them their sour flavor. It also has numerous potential benefits when derived from a natural source—this is important because many citric acids on the market today are derived from GMO corn or a variety of black mold, both of which are highly toxic. (2, 3)



While magnesium citrate can have many benefits for colon health, it is essential to research the companies you buy it from and ensure they source their citric acid from an organic and natural source like tapioca or citrus fruits.  

Magnesium citrate helps to empty the colon and boost magnesium levels in the body. It is also typically very bioavailable. So, if you are looking for a type of magnesium to help with colon cleansing, look no further than magnesium citrate (or magnesium oxide).



3. Magnesium Oxide



Magnesium oxide, like magnesium citrate, is a type of magnesium that is used for colon cleansing and alleviating constipation. It is a magnesium salt that is a mixture of magnesium and oxygen. It can often be found in liquid, tablet, powder, or capsule form. Some people also use magnesium oxide for relief from heartburn or stomach discomfort or to replenish low magnesium levels (magnesium chloride is better for this as it doesn’t have the same laxative effects as magnesium oxide or magnesium citrate do).


4. Magnesium Malate


Magnesium malate is another magnesium salt mixture made of magnesium and malic acid. Magnesium malate is often used for replenishing magnesium levels in people with magnesium deficiency, as well as for calming the nervous system. All forms of magnesium support the nervous system and help to ease stress, but magnesium malate, in particular, is used for conditions that over-excite the neuromuscular system—such as fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. (4)



5. Magnesium Taurate



Magnesium taurate is a magnesium supplement made from a combination of magnesium and the amino acid taurine. One of the primary uses of magnesium taurate is the regulation of blood sugar and blood pressure—both of which play vital roles in heart and circulatory health. (5)



6. Magnesium Glycinate



Magnesium glycinate is another magnesium and amino acid combination, only rather than combining magnesium with taurine, magnesium is combined with the amino acid glycinate. Glycine is an amino acid that has many benefits for supporting sleep, as well as lowering inflammation. Similarly, magnesium glycinate is often used as a supplement for promoting sleep and a good night’s rest.



Many people take magnesium glycinate for stress-relieving and sleep-inducing properties, as well as for reducing mood disorders like anxiety and depression. For this reason, magnesium glycinate is considered to be one of the best types of magnesium for anxiety. (6)



7. Magnesium Lactate


Magnesium lactate is a type of magnesium salt made by combining magnesium and lactic acid. Research also indicates that your blood cells and muscles naturally generate magnesium lactate. Additional research shows that it is easily and effortlessly absorbed by your digestive system. (7)



Because magnesium lactate is so easily absorbed, it is often used for people that need large doses of magnesium, such as in cases of severe magnesium deficiency. It may also provide benefits for muscular health, such as relieving leg cramps, abdominal cramps, and menstrual cramps.



8. Magnesium Orotate


Magnesium orotate is a type of magnesium combined with orotic acid, a substance primarily utilized for developing genetic material. Orotic acid helps to transfer magnesium to the cells and is also known to be an antioxidant. (8)


Antioxidants are molecules that fight free radicals—unstable electrons that can cause oxidative damage to cells. When taken as a supplement, magnesium orotate may support heart health and energy levels—however, it is typically a very expensive form of magnesium to get as a supplement.



9. Magnesium Sulfate



Magnesium sulfate is a combination of magnesium and sulfur dioxide. It is often used to induce bowel movements and alleviate constipation. It may also be beneficial for alleviating flu-like symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and stomach pain.




10. Magnesium Aspartate



Magnesium aspartate is a mixture of magnesium and aspartic acid. It is commonly used as a supplement for boosting magnesium levels and is often combined with zinc as a supplement for boosting testosterone production—however, more research is needed to verify if it is actually effective for this use.



11. Magnesium L-Threonate 



Magnesium L-threonate is formed by combining magnesium with threonic acid, a water-soluble substance that comes from the breakdown of vitamin C. It is a rapidly absorbed form of magnesium that is used to increase magnesium levels in the brain. Because of its neuroprotective effects, it may have benefits for certain age-related cognitive diseases. (9)



How Many Types of Magnesium Are There?



There are 11 different known types of magnesium supplements widely available today. However, magnesium could theoretically be combined with many other compounds to produce new and different types of magnesium supplements.



What is the Best Type of Magnesium Supplement?

Best Type of Magnesium


The best type of magnesium supplement for you really depends on what you are using it for. If you are looking for a magnesium supplement to boost magnesium levels and avoid magnesium deficiencies, then magnesium chloride is the most commonly recommended type of magnesium for this use. If you want to use magnesium to get better sleep, then magnesium glycinate is probably the best option for you. If you want to use magnesium to cleanse the colon, magnesium oxide or magnesium citrate is likely the best option.



Regardless of the type of magnesium supplement that you get, make sure it is from a trusted company and a quality source. Also, be sure that there aren’t any harmful added ingredients in it, like GMO citric acid or other harmful preservatives.



It is also important to try to get magnesium from your diet through foods like leafy greens, nuts, seeds, and legumes. However, since magnesium is less prevalent in foods today due to declining soil health, it is recommended to supplement with magnesium in addition to getting food sources of magnesium in the diet.



Magnesium is a very important mineral that plays a role in thousands of different chemical reactions in the body. It is certainly a mineral you don’t want to be without. If you have low magnesium levels, then you will also likely notice a great improvement in your health by introducing a high-quality magnesium supplement to your diet.





1. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-Consumer/

2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6097542/

3. https://ehjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1476-069X-8-2

4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8371721/

5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6435948/

6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5452159/

7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5652077/

8. https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/Magnesium-orotate

9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7318545/


Products mentioned in this post

Ionic Magnesium Tonic

Ionic Magnesium Tonic


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