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Magnesium Review 2024
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  • What is magnesium?

    Magnesium is an essential mineral for proper metabolism and nervous system functioning, including helping to maintain the electrical stability of the heart (see What It Is).
  • How do you know if you need to take magnesium?

    Although magnesium can be easily obtained through the diet and overt magnesium deficiency is not common, nearly half the U.S. population does not get adequate amounts of magnesium and can benefit from increasing magnesium intake from foods or supplementation. People most likely to get inadequate magnesium are adolescents and those over age 70. Conditions that may deplete magnesium include alcohol abuse, diabetes, diseases of the digestive tract, and use of medications such as Nexium and Prilosec. Inadequate intake of magnesium may modestly elevate blood pressure and increase the risk of osteoporosis and fractures. Early signs of magnesium deficiency include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and weakness (see Magnesium Deficiency and Insufficiency).
  • What does magnesium do?

    In addition to boosting intake, supplementing with magnesium may be helpful for conditions such as migraines and menstrual pain, and it is an effective laxative and antacid. It may also improve glucose status in people with prediabetes -- particularly if they are low in magnesium. It also helps control levels of vitamin D and can boost low levels. Maintaining adequate magnesium intake also has cardiovascular benefits, and maintaining a proper ratio of magnesium to calcium intake may have cognitive benefits, although magnesium threonate, which has been promoted for memory, has shown minimal cognitive benefit (see What It Does).
  • What did CL's tests of magnesium find?

    Two supplements were Not Approved because they did not accurately list their chemical forms of magnesium. All other magnesium supplements that ConsumerLab selected for review passed the laboratory tests of their quality. However, this does not necessarily reflect the quality of magnesium supplements in the overall marketplace, as problems with magnesium supplements have been reported by ConsumerLab and others (see ConsumerTips), and ConsumerLab generally does not select products that have previously failed testing because its goal is to find best quality products. Even among Approved products, there were major differences in suggested dosage (from 77 mg to 566 mg daily) and cost — from less than 10 cents to more than $1 to obtain 200 mg of magnesium (see What CL Found).
  • Which magnesium is best?

    Among products that were Approved in testing, CL selected two Top Picks for magnesium, both of which have forms of magnesium that are relatively well absorbed. One of these costs just pennies per pill and is our choice when taking no more than 350 mg of magnesium daily. The other costs more but is a good choice if you need to take a higher dose, as it's less likely to have a laxative effect. (For Top Picks among supplements that combine magnesium with other ingredients, see the Reviews of Calcium, Vitamin D, Vitamin K, and Boron).
  • How do forms of magnesium differ?

    Magnesium comes in many forms. Magnesium oxide tends to be less expensive than other forms but may also be less well absorbed and more likely to cause diarrhea. Forms that are more water soluble, such as magnesium chloride, citrate and many chelate forms (e.g., bisglycinate), may be better absorbed. Magnesium chloride is less likely to cause diarrhea and is recommended if you are taking a higher dose but it is best in liquid form rather than as a tablet, as it tends to attract and hold water, which can cause pills to disintegrate and create problems with supplement storage. Some magnesium chelates are also less likely to cause diarrhea but are bulky, requiring larger pills to get the same amount of elemental magnesium. Labels are required to show the amount of elemental magnesium in each serving, but you need to read labels carefully. See What to Consider When Buying for more about the different forms.
  • What's the right dose of magnesium?

    Most people can get the daily required magnesium from their diet. If you are not getting at least 300 to 400 mg of magnesium from your diet, consider a supplement that will get you to that level. Supplementing with about 200 mg should generally be sufficient and safe.

    When used to treat known deficiency, magnesium is often recommended at doses of 250 to 600 mg daily. However, unless treating a deficiency, limit your daily intake of magnesium from supplements and fortified foods to no more than 350 mg (the Tolerable Upper Intake Level), to avoid side-effects. You can easily get the rest of your required magnesium from your diet (see What to Consider When Using).

  • How can the recommended Daily Value (DV) for magnesium be higher than the Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL)?

    The upper limit only applies to magnesium from supplements (and fortified foods). Side effects are not likely to occur from magnesium naturally in foods.
  • Safety and side effects of magnesium:

    Magnesium supplements may cause upset stomach, nausea, or diarrhea in some people. If using a powder form of magnesium, be sure to completely dissolve the powder in water before taking it to avoid injury to the esophagus. Although rare, excessive intake of magnesium can cause thirst, low blood pressure, drowsiness, muscle weakness and slowed breathing. Be aware that magnesium can interact with many supplements and drugs including cholesterol-lowering statins, such as rosuvastatin, antibiotics, sotalol, gabapentin, levothyroxine, and triamterene (see Concerns and Cautions).

Make sure you're choosing the best magnesium supplements approved in our tests!

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Magnesium supplements compared in this review

View Larger Image BIOptimizers_Magnesium_Breakthrough-Magnesium-2024-small.png

BIOptimizers Magnesium Breakthrough

View Larger Image Bluebonnet_Magnesium_Aspartate-Magnesium-2024-small.png

Bluebonnet Magnesium Aspartate

View Larger Image BulkSupplementscom_Magnesium_Glycinate-Magnesium-2024-small.png Magnesium Glycinate

View Larger Image Deva_Vegan_Magnesium_Glycinate-Magnesium-2024-small.png

Deva Vegan Magnesium Glycinate

View Larger Image Doctors_Best_High_Absorption_Magnesium-Magnesium-2024-small.png

Doctor's Best High Absorption Magnesium

View Larger Image Garden_of_Life_Dr_Formulated_Magnesium_with_Pre_and_Probiotics_Gummies-Raspberry_Flavor-Magnesium-2024-small.png

Garden of Life Dr. Formulated Magnesium with Pre & Probiotics Gummies - Raspberry Flavor

View Larger Image GNC_Magnesium-Magnesium-2024-small.png

GNC Magnesium 500 mg

View Larger Image InnovixLabs_Advanced_Magnesium-Magnesium-2024-small.png

Innovixlabs Advanced Magnesium

View Larger Image Jigsaw_Health_MagSRT-Magnesium-2024-small.png

Jigsaw Health MagSRT

View Larger Image Life_Extension_Neuro-Mag-Magnesium-2024-small.png

Life Extension Neuro-Mag

View Larger Image Natural_Vitality_Calm-Raspberry-Lemon_Flavored-Magnesium-2024-small.png

Natural Vitality Calm - Raspberry-Lemon Flavor

View Larger Image Nature_Made_Extra_Strength_Magnesium_400_mg-Magnesium-2024-small.png

Nature Made Extra Strength Magnesium 400 mg

View Larger Image NOW_Magnesium_Citrate-Magnesium-2024-small.png

NOW Magnesium Citrate

View Larger Image NutriCology_Magnesium_Chloride_Liquid-MagnesiumNutriCology_Magnesium_Chloride_Liquid-Magnesium-2024-small.png

NutriCology Magnesium Chloride Liquid

View Larger Image Pure_Encapsulations_Magnesium_Glycinate-Magnesium-2024-small.png

Pure Encapsulations Magnesium (Glycinate)

View Larger Image Swanson_Triple_Magnesium_Complex-Magnesium-2024-small.png

Swanson Triple Magnesium Complex

You must be a member to get the full test results along with recommendations and quality ratings. You will get results for 16 magnesium supplements. Ten of these products were selected for testing by and six others passed the same testing through its voluntary Quality Certification Program.

In this comprehensive review, you'll discover:
  • Which magnesium supplements failed our tests and which ones passed
  • CL's Top Picks among magnesium supplements based on form, quality and dose
  • The pros and cons of different forms of magnesium, including magnesium aspartate and orotate, magnesium citrate, magnesium chloride, magnesium bisglycinate, magnesium lactate and lactate dihydrate, magnesium oxide and magnesium-L-threonate
  • How to get adequate magnesium from food
  • The causes and symptoms of magnesium deficiency
  • How much magnesium to take to treat or prevent magnesium deficiency and other conditions
  • The evidence for and against using magnesium supplements for restless leg syndrome, leg cramps, migraines and more
  • Potential drug interactions and side-effects of magnesium supplements

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Additional Information
Tested through CL's Quality Certification Program prior to, or after initial posting of this Product Review.