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The Best Form of Magnesium

Question:
Which is the best form of magnesium to take - one that contains the most magnesium and is best absorbed?

Answer:
While different magnesium compounds vary in the amount of magnesium they contain (for example, just 16.2% of magnesium citrate is actual magnesium -- the rest is citric acid, while 14.1% of magnesium glycinate is magnesium), manufacturers are required to list the amount of actual, or "elemental" magnesium on labels so you can compare the actual amount of magnesium provided by supplements, even if they contain different forms. However, be aware that ConsumerLab.com has found some magnesium supplements in the past which were not labeled properly. 

Absorption and even certain side-effects can vary by form, as can cost. You can read more about this in the "What to Consider When Buying" section of the Magnesium Supplements Review. In addition, we identify products which contain a form of magnesium with good absorption, and which specific product was the most economical way to get this type of magnesium.

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Learn More About Magnesium Supplements:



What is the difference between forms of vitamin K2? >>

What is the benefit of magnesium orotate compared to other forms of magnesium? >>

How can the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for magnesium be higher than the Upper Tolerable Intake Level (UL)? That is, how can an amount which is healthful also put you at risk for harm? >>

Is it true that I should not keep magnesium supplements in a daily pill pack mixed with other supplements and medicines? >>

Help! How do I know how much magnesium I am actually getting from my supplement? The label says it contains 500 mg of magnesium "as magnesium citrate" -- but how much of that is magnesium and how much is citrate? >>

Are there drug interactions with magnesium supplements? >>



See other recent and popular questions >>
Comments
Add Comment

alaa15111   June 16, 2017
greetings
thanks for the great work
the one thing I've always wanted to get right is the actual amount of Magnesium
( elemental ) in a product, how to know that ?
thanks

ConsumerLab.com   June 16, 2017
Thanks for your kind words. On a properly labeled supplement, the amount of elemental magnesium should be the amount shown. The label should also indicate the form of magnesium used. More details are in the Magnesium Review, including an example of an incorrectly labeled product. See https://www.consumerlab.com/reviews/magnesium-supplement-review/magnesium/#buying.

Katherine11051   July 6, 2016
I was hoping this article would include information about magnesium stearate, the form of magnesium found in Prelief, which I have used for my interstitial cystitis (to reduce the acidity of some foods). In fact I wish you would review Prelief itself, as I can't find any impartial/independent reviews of its efficacy.

Amy11085   July 18, 2016
Hi Katherine - Please see our CL Answer about Prelief here: https://www.consumerlab.com/answers/_/Prelief-heartburn-bladder-pain/. You can also find information about magnesium stearate in this CL Answer: https://www.consumerlab.com/answers/_/magnesium_stearate_toxicity/

Barbara11612   January 18, 2017
I was diagnosed with interstitial cystitis a year and half ago. I have no scientific info but my personal experience is that for the past year I have stopped feeling like I was always on the verge of a UTI since I drastically cut out sugar and high carb foods from my diet. When I recently told this to my GI doctor he nodded like he wasn't surprised to hear this. I know it is hard for most people to avoid sugar, but for me it has been worth it to be free from the pain! Maybe you could give it a try.

Robin15090   June 12, 2017
It angers me when doctors merely nod mutely without comment when informed by their patients that diet miraculously healed ailments. Your doctor doesn't necessarily WANT you to know. It isn't good for his financial bottom line. Western medicine and its focus upon pharmaceutical sales is unacceptable.

Lyn15137   June 18, 2017
I second your opinion!

LINDA9778   June 7, 2016
just received a notice of a class action lawsuit involving chelated magnesium. Do not understand the issue. less than was listed..do you know

ConsumerLab.com   June 11, 2016
Hi Linda - We've just posted more information about this here: https://www.consumerlab.com/recall_detail.asp?recallid=12962

Louise8568   March 28, 2016
I have a question on a new product BioTrust Nutrition just introduced. It is called BRAIN BRIGHT and I'm wondering if it works, is ok to eat/take, and is it APPROVED BY YOU. I apologize if this is on the wrong page but I couldn't figure out where else to get my question in. If so, sorry.

ConsumerLab.com   April 4, 2016
Thank you for your question, Louise. We've now answered it, here: https://www.consumerlab.com/answers/_/BrainBright_memory/

Doug8238   December 31, 2015
What about topical Magnesium sprays?

ConsumerLab.com   January 1, 2016
Hi Doug - You can find information about magnesium cream and sprays in the Magnesium Supplements Review, here: https://www.consumerlab.com/reviews/magnesium-supplement-review/magnesium/#spray

Don8226   December 31, 2015
I have found that magnesium Malate does not cause diarrhea no matter how much one takes. Remember not to take magnesium and calcium at the same time. For the reasons see Dr. Nan Kathryn Fuchs articles on Osteoporosis. I take my calcium in the AM and my magnesium in the PM. I alternate magnesium malate from source naturals with a complex of magnesium Magtein, taurate and glycinate called MagTech from Natural Stacks.

ConsumerLab.com   December 31, 2015
Hi Don - Thank you for sharing your experience with magnesium malate; there are two other forms of magnesium that are less likely to cause diarrhea, which are discussed in the Magnesium Supplements Review: https://www.consumerlab.com/reviews/magnesium-supplement-review/magnesium/#buying. Please be aware, however, that there are other concerns with taking too much magnesium: https://www.consumerlab.com/reviews/magnesium-supplement-review/magnesium/#cautions

Barbara8221   December 30, 2015
I am also hoping you will consider soon adding information about Dimagnesium Malate sold by Jigsaw Health ~ w/SRT.

ConsumerLab.com   December 31, 2015
Hi Barbara - You can see the test results for this product in the Magnesium Supplements Review: https://www.consumerlab.com/reviews/_/magnesium/#results

harold jitschak8219   December 30, 2015
you wrote:
for example, just 16.2% of magnesium citrate is actual magnesium -- the rest is citric acid

If it states: each capsule contains :
magnesium [as magnesium citrate] 70 mg
does this then means 70 mg elemental magnesium??[if i understood you well] ?
thanks

ConsumerLab.com   December 31, 2015
Hi Harold - Yes, on a properly labeled magnesium supplement that states "magnesium (as magnesium citrate) 70 mg", this should mean it contains 70 mg of elemental magnesium -- although the only way to know for sure is to confirm this through testing.

The "What to Consider When Buying" section of the Magnesium Supplements Review provides more information about reading labels, as well as an example of an improperly labeled magnesium supplement: https://www.consumerlab.com/reviews/magnesium-supplement-review/magnesium/#tips

Lisa8215   December 30, 2015
Also agree, with need to see more "higher" end brands, e.g. New Chapter, Rainbow Light, BlueBonnet...with Green Matcha Tea..what about GreenFoods...brand..

ConsumerLab.com   January 1, 2016
Hi Lisa - We do test products from these brands. You can find these by typing in the brand name in Search box at the top of every page, or using our brands index (http://www.consumerlab.com/results/brands_vitamins_supplements_list.asp). However, please see our reply to Sally375 below, for more about choosing products based on brand (as well as quality and price).

Anisa378   January 8, 2015
Iv'e found that loose powder Magnesium Citrate in half teaspoon to one teaspoon measure in 8 ounces of water is a very good digestive for the next morning. Take before bed and you will feel great to start your day when you get up.

JOHN11067   July 10, 2016
started taking calcium gluconate-magnesium citrate powder (1 tsp.=100 mg) from Natural Vitality (CalMag) and been sleeping like a log since.


ConsumerLab.com   January 8, 2015
Hi Michael and Kim - You can read more about Magnesium-L-threonate and Magtein here: https://www.consumerlab.com/answers/%20/magnesium_memory/

Michael377   January 8, 2015
Do you have any research on Dimagnesium Malate marketed under the Jigsaw Health brand?

ConsumerLab.com   January 22, 2015
We have not tested this product, but do have some information about magnesium malate in the Magnesium Review: https://www.consumerlab.com/reviews/magnesium-supplement-review/magnesium/#buying

Also, we are not aware of any studies using this combination of ingredients.

ConsumerLab.com   December 31, 2015
Hi Michael - Just letting you know that we have since tested this product, as part of our Magnesium Supplements Review published on June 6, 2015. You can see the results here: https://www.consumerlab.com/reviews/_/magnesium/#results

Sally375   January 8, 2015
I'd like to see you evaluate the high end supplement companies....such as Vital Nutrients, Enzymatic Therapy, Pure Encapsulations, Thorne, Integrative Therapeutics....the companies that you have evaluated are pretty low end and I would not recommend those to my customers. Thank you!

ConsumerLab.com   January 13, 2015
Hi Sally - We routinely test products from the brands you mention, and you can find these by just typing in the brand name in Search box at the top of every page, or using our brands index (http://www.consumerlab.com/results/brands_vitamins_supplements_list.asp) Based on our tests, however, we would not necessarily consider all products from these brands superior to those of other brands. In fact, depending on the product, some lower cost brands may provide comparable, if not better, quality. This is why we always suggest that consumers use our information to pick the best product for each type of supplement they use rather than settle on a specific brand.

Joshua8216   December 30, 2015
I've also been interested in these brands because they are supposed to be very absorbable as well as from good labs.

Al373   January 7, 2015
You can't beat ReMag, a liquid form. It's absorbed at the cellular level and doesn't cause diarrhea. All the pill kinds caused that problem for my wife, but since I got her on ReMag, the problem ceased. I also take it. It seems pricey compared to something like Mag Glycinate which runs about 3 cents per capsule, but you don't need as much of it to get a good dose. A bottle lasts us about 3 months. Google it and then find the link to the doctor who developed it and you can learn more. She has written several widely-available books on magnesium and the body's need for it. My poorer second choices would be magnesium glycinate or magnesium taurate, but only if you are on a tight budget. In the long run they're not as effective and you will be spending more on t-paper.

ConsumerLab.com   January 10, 2015
Hi Al - We have added information about ReMag to the Magnesium Supplements Review. You can read about it at https://www.consumerlab.com/reviews/magnesium-supplement-review/magnesium/#remag

Michael372   January 7, 2015
Unless I missed it, I did not see any mention of Magnesium L-Threonate (MIT researched) which reportedly has a better brain-barrier penetration. Both Vitacost and Life Extension market this product under the "Magtein" label.

Also, there is a time released version of Dimagnesium Malate marketed by Jigsaw Health under the Magnesium w/SRT label that is worthy of consideration.

I would hope that this report can be updated to include these two products.

Jim532   February 9, 2015
I agree with Michael372

ConsumerLab.com   February 10, 2015
Hi Michael and Jim - Information about magnesium-L-threonate can be found here: https://www.consumerlab.com/reviews/%20/magnesium/#threonate and here: https://www.consumerlab.com/answers/%20/magnesium_memory/

KIM371   January 7, 2015
What is Magnesium L-Threonate? Your test report did not mentioned it.

Michael6878   July 22, 2015
Where is Magnesium Bicarbonate mentioned?

ConsumerLab.com   July 22, 2015
Hi Michael - Magnesium bicarbonate is discussed in the "Choosing the right form of magnesium" section of the Magnesium Review, here: https://www.consumerlab.com/reviews/_/magnesium/#forms

This CL Answer initially posted on 1/7/2015. Last updated 8/4/2017.

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