A Nutritionist Explains the Best Forms of Magnesium aka the "Magnificent Mineral" Supplement You Need

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You might know that magnesium oil is TikTok's favorite topical foot-centric sleep remedy, but have you also explored this wonder nutrient as a dietary supplement? After hearing our friends talk about taking vitamin cocktails including magnesium for overall well-being, as well as mixing magnesium powders into pre-and post-workout water bottles, we were curious: What are the best forms of magnesium to take for maximum benefit? Magnesium citrate, magnesium oxide, magnesium L-Theonate and magnesium glycinate are all some of forms, including powders, tablets, gelcaps and even skin patches.

Why Take Magnesium in the First Place?

"Ongoing research has linked magnesium to heart health, mental health, premenstrual syndrome, sleep health and more recently headaches," according to registered dietician nutritionist Rachel Jones, VP and chief nutrition officer at GNC. "While additional research in these areas is needed, magnesium appears to be a truly magnificent mineral." This mineral, which is naturally occurring in that balanced diet we don't all get, is a part of more than 300 enzyme systems which regulate vital physical processes. Energy production, protein synthesis, muscle and nerve contraction, carbohydrate metabolism, electrolyte balance, normal heart rhythm and bone health all need magnesium to stay on track. Here are four forms of magnesium—and what they specifically address—that might really up your wellness game.

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best form of magnesium sos berry

Magnesium Citrate (aka The One That Keeps You Calm)

Studies show this is the the form of magnesium that's most readily absorbed by our digestive tract; it's naturally found in citrus fruits and gives them their sour flavor. While small amounts enable healthy nerves and muscles, in large doses, it aids in constipation relief.

Dr. Blanca Lizaola-Mayo developed these 20 little (.16 ounce) powder packets, which contain not only magnesium citrate but also electrolytes to hydrate. (And real talk: These powders are among the best-tasting ones we've tried, in flavors including berry, lemon-lime and mango, all available in a variety pack.)

forms of magnesium gnc magnesium citrate

2. Now Magnesium Citrate Nervous System Support

These gel caps are chelated, which is a preparation that allows the nutrients to remain stable, impact the digestive tract safely and have maximum absorption by the body. The recommended dose is to take three a day with meals for optimum nerve and bone health.

forms of magnesium oxide powder

Magnesium Oxide (aka The One That Helps You Poop)

Studies show that this magnesium form is high in its concentration of the mineral, however it's got the lowest absorption rate among magnesium forms—however that low rate of absorption rate is accompanied by a laxative effect, which is why this form is often recommended as a supplement to remedy constipation.

3. Now Foods Magnesium Oxide Pure Powder

A quarter-teaspoon mixed into cold water once a day with a meal, and you're golden. (Fun fact—pure magnesium can raise water temperature on contact with it, so this is best blended with icy water)

types of magnesium phillips
Rite Aid

4.Phillips' Milk Of Magnesia

A jigger full of this classic chalky fluid at bedtime—chased by a tall glass of ice water—has for decades been a popular remedy for indigestion and constipation.

best form of magnesium patich

Magnesium L-Theonate (aka The One That Helps You Focus)

This magnesium is used as a brain boost. Studies suggest that this form, which is a combination of magnesium and threonic acid, a water-based substance produced in the breakdown of vitamin C, is especially effective in concentrating magnesium in brain cells, thus suggesting applications in certain brain disorders including depression and age-related memory loss.

5.The Patch Brand Focus Patches

No pill-swallowing required: You pop this patch on your inner wrist and gingko biloba, vitamin B3 and magnesium theonate are delivered transdermally. Reviewers from ages 18 to 65 tout its ability to help them concentrate and "feel less scattered."

best form of magnesium recess berry tub

6. Recess Gradient Berry Tub

This berry-flavored powder mixes magnesium threonate, adaptogens including passion flower as well as electrolytes into your glass of water to calm the mind and lift the mood. This tub contains 28 servings that you can add to smoothies and fruit juice, too.

forms of magnesium glycinate thorne

Magnesium Glycinate (aka The One That Helps You Sleep)

According to the Cleveland Clinic, the right level of magnesium in your body allows you to fall asleep faster, enjoy enhanced sleep quality and reduces restless syndrome, which can cause fitful sleeping. That's you'll see magnesium along with other sleep aids such as melatonin on the ingredient list of so many over-the-counter sleep aids. In our experience, magnesium glycinate helps us relax without leaving us groggy from melatonin the next morning.

7. Thorne Powdered Magnesium Bisglycinate

The flavor is sweetened a bit with monkfruit, put otherwise it's all magnesium in an easy-to-absorb form that helps you drift off before sleep. One scoop of this 60-serving powder with a glass of cold water before sleep and you're snoring in no time.

types of magnesium sleep capsules

8. Mindbodygreen Sleep Support

This pre-bedtime capsule supplements bio-available magnesium bisglycinate with jujube, a fruit used in traditional Chinese medicine for sedation and pharmagaba, a neurotransmitter believed to improve sleep quality. When taken one to two hours before bedtime, along with maintaining sleep hygiene that includes a cool bedroom and avoiding alcohol before bed, this non-melatonin sleep aid promises to re-set your circadian rhythm.

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dana dickey

Senior Editor

Dana Dickey is a PureWow Senior Editor, and during more than a decade in digital media, she has scoped out and tested top products and services across the lifestyle space...