Magnesium is essential for the human body, it promotes muscle and nerve health and supports energy production. Despite its importance to our overall well-being, an estimated 75% of US adults do not get enough magnesium in their diets. But before you buy a magnesium supplement, talk to your doctor to make sure you need it. Too much magnesium from food sources is not a concern for the average adult. However, the same is not true for supplements. Too much magnesium from supplements can cause nausea, diarrhea and abdominal pain.
Here’s what you need to know.
Read more: Why you should add magnesium to your diet
What is magnesium?
Magnesium is one of the most abundant minerals in the human body – it plays a vital role in various body processes such as muscle movement and brain function. Research shows that magnesium can improve symptoms of depression, heart health and blood sugar levels.
There are many types of magnesium, including magnesium aspartate, magnesium carbonate, magnesium chloride, magnesium citrate, magnesium gluconate, magnesium hydroxide, magnesium lactate, magnesium oxide, and magnesium phosphate. The form of magnesium is determined by what it is bound to (for example, magnesium citrate is magnesium bound to citric acid), and some forms are more easily absorbed by the body than others.
Magnesium is found naturally in foods such as:
- I am milk
- Whole grains
If your diet is lacking in many of these foods, you may need to supplement with magnesium. If you are already taking a multivitamin with magnesium, you do not need an additional supplement. Consult your doctor before adding magnesium to your diet.
We’ve reviewed a number of magnesium supplements, along with their prices, brands, ingredients, and consumer reviews. Here are our picks for the best magnesium supplements.
Dosage: 2 soft capsules a day with a meal
A form of magnesium: Magnesium citrate
Nature Made is a trusted brand that often appears on our lists. Not only are its vitamins affordable, but its natural products are certified by the United States Pharmacopoeia. Its magnesium supplements are also gluten-free and contain no colors, synthetic colors or flavors. Each dose of two soft capsules contains 250 milligrams of magnesium in the form of magnesium citrate, about 60% of the recommended daily value. In addition to magnesium, softgels also contain medium-chain triglycerides, gelatin, rapeseed oil, glycerin, water and yellow beeswax.
- Only 60 days supply per bottle, less than other brands on this list
- Larger tablets may be difficult to swallow
Dosage: 1 tablet a day with a meal
A form of magnesium: Magnesium oxide
Nature’s Bounty is another well-known and affordable brand. Sold at Target, Walmart, Walgreens and CVS, Nature’s Bounty has been producing quality vitamins for over 50 years. Its products, including the magnesium supplement, contain no artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, sugar, starch, soy, gluten, wheat, yeast or fish. The supplements contain 500 mg of magnesium oxide, which is about 119% of the daily recommended value. They also contain vegetable cellulose, dicalcium phosphate, calcium carbonate, citric acid, medium-chain triglycerides, polydextrose and vegetable magnesium stearate.
- One bottle contains 200 tablets
- Suitable for vegetarians
- Magnesium oxide is more difficult for the body to absorb
- The dosage is slightly above the recommended daily value
Dosage: 1 capsule, daily
A form of magnesium: Magnesium oxide, magnesium citrate, magnesium aspartate
Supplements from Now are for vegans and vegetarians. The capsules are GMO-free and do not contain wheat, gluten, soy, milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, nuts and sesame. Current magnesium supplements contain 400 milligrams of a mixture of magnesium (magnesium oxide, magnesium citrate, and magnesium aspartate), totaling 95% of the daily recommended value. Other ingredients include hypromellose (cellulose capsule), rice flour, silicon dioxide and stearic acid (vegetable source).
- Very few other ingredients
- Three types of magnesium to optimize absorption
- The magnesium mix doesn’t specify how much of each type you get
- The pills are big
Dosage: 1 teaspoon in 8 ounces of water, daily
A form of magnesium: Magnesium carbonate
Garden of Life offers a powdered magnesium supplement for those who don’t want to swallow pills. Just add 1 teaspoon to a cup of room temperature water, let it rise, stir well and drink. The powder contains a magnesium blend of non-GMO citric acid, magnesium carbonate and sodium bicarbonate, organic magnesium brown rice protein chelate, organic raspberry flavor, organic lemon flavor, and organic stevia extract (leaf). Three probiotic strains were also added: Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Lactobacillus acidophilus. The magnesium mixture is 350 milligrams, which is 85% of the daily recommended value. There’s also 120 milligrams of sodium, and the probiotic blend is 3.5 milligrams.
- Includes a blend of probiotics
- Choice of two flavors: raspberry lemon or orange
- Tart, strong taste
- Reviews say that the powder does not dissolve well
Dosage: 4 milliliters (4 full droppers; 0.8 teaspoons), daily with juice or food
A form of magnesium: Magnesium chloride
Liquid magnesium is also a great option for those who don’t like swallowing pills. Trace Minerals liquid magnesium comes with a measured dropper, making it easy to know how much magnesium you’re getting. However, it is recommended that you do not take all 4 milliliters in one breath. It is best to spread the portion size throughout the day. One daily dose of this liquid is 400 milligrams of magnesium chloride – 100% of the daily recommended value. In addition to magnesium, the bottle also contains potassium, sulfate and boron. All ingredients are natural, non-GMO and gluten-free and are made without artificial flavors, sweeteners and all known allergens.
- An alternative to swallowing pills
- Certified vegan
- It is recommended to divide the dose during the day
- Bad taste, must be mixed with juice or food
Frequently asked questions about the best magnesium supplements
Is it OK to take daily magnesium supplements?
Yes. The daily recommended amount of magnesium in the diet for adults between the ages of 19 and 30 is 400 milligrams for men and 310 milligrams for women. For adults over 30, men should get 420 milligrams and women 320 milligrams. However, you should not take a daily magnesium supplement if you are already getting your daily allowance through food. Talk to your doctor before adding any supplements to your diet.
How much magnesium should you be taking?
According to the National Institutes of Health, the recommended intake of magnesium depends on age and gender. Women and girls aged 14 to 18 need 360 milligrams; from 19 to 30 years they need 310 milligrams; and from 31 to 50 and over they need 320 milligrams. Men and boys ages 14 to 18 need 410 milligrams; from 19 to 30 they need 400 milligrams; and from 31 to 50 and above they need 420 milligrams.
What are the symptoms of low magnesium?
According to Health Direct, symptoms of low magnesium include:
- Fatigue and weakness
- She’s shaking
- Pins and needles sensation
- Muscle cramps
- Abnormal heart rhythms
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health care professional with any questions you may have about your health condition or health goals.