Magnesium is one of seven major minerals in the body. It helps maintain normal nerve and muscle function, keeps bones strong, helps maintain a steady heartbeat, and supports a strong immune system. It also adjusts blood glucose and aids in energy and protein production. You may be surprised to discover the diverse forms of magnesium, each offering unique benefits fitting different needs.

We have identified at least ten forms of magnesium. Each type of magnesium has different properties and can vary in terms of its medical uses, the extent of bioavailability, and potential side effects.

Magnesium is present in many foods like green leafy vegetables, legumes, seeds, and nuts. However, the body only absorbs about 30% to 40% of dietary magnesium, so to boost intake, many turns to magnesium supplements.

Overview of Forms of Magnesium

The world of magnesium is a varied one. Magnesium doesn’t exist just in a single form but has myriad faces, each with its own characteristics and benefits. This precious mineral manifests itself in numerous forms, each capable of supporting our health in unique ways.

It’s essential to understand that forms of magnesium doesn’t simply refer to magnesium alone—the form comes from the molecule it’s bonded with such as citrate, oxide, or glycinate. And with each pairing, it dons a special set of properties and potential uses.

Our bodies rely on Magnesium for hundreds of biochemical reactions. So, knowledge about these diverse forms can help us maximize its benefits and tailor our intake according to individual health goals or physiological needs.

Detail Analysis of 10 Types of Magnesium and Their Uses:

Magnesium glycinate

Magnesium and glycine, an amino acid, form magnesium glycinate. Glycine is often used as a supplement to improve sleep. It has also been known to treat inflammatory conditions, including cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. The Magnesium glycinate appears to be tolerated well and seems to cause minimal side effects.

Magnesium lactate

The Magnesium binds with lactic acid to form magnesium lactate. Magnesium lactate is more easily absorbed and is gentle on the digestive system. It is needed by the body to support the heart’s functions, the nervous system, and the digestive system.

Magnesium malate

Magnesium and malic acid, a chemical found in many fruits and wines that give it a tart flavor, form magnesium malate. A study on rats found that out of several magnesium types tested, magnesium malate provided the most bioavailable magnesium and is well-tolerated when taken; it is likewise well absorbed in the digestive tract.

Magnesium citrate

Magnesium citrate is a saline laxative. Taking it often results in a bowel movement within 30 minutes to three hours. It is often used to clean stool in the intestines prior to surgery or any bowel procedure like a colonoscopy.

Magnesium chloride

Magnesium oil is produced by mixing magnesium chloride flakes with distilled water. While not a true oil, it is referred to as such because of its oily texture. When applied to the skin, magnesium oil is readily absorbed into the skin and could raise magnesium levels in the body. Since this manner of absorption bypasses the gastrointestinal tract, there are fewer side effects.

Magnesium sulfate

This is commercially known as Epsom salt. Magnesium sulfate is formed by combining magnesium, sulfur, and oxygen. Its texture is similar to table salt. It can be taken internally as a laxative for constipation, but its unpleasant taste usually makes people choose other options. The Magnesium sulfate is dissolved in water to relieve stress and soothe sore muscles.

Magnesium oxide

Magnesium oxide is a salt compound formed by magnesium and oxygen. It is the main active ingredient in milk of magnesia, available as an over-the-counter medication for constipation. Since it is not readily absorbed by the digestive tract, it is not too useful for magnesium deficiency. It is more helpful for heartburn, indigestion, and constipation.

Magnesium taurate

Magnesium taurate is a combination of magnesium and the amino acid taurine. Taurine is used by the body to create bile, detoxify the liver, and support digestion. Taurine brings magnesium to different cells in the body like nerve cells, heart cells, immune cells, skin cells, and others.

There is some evidence, based on a 2018 animal study, that suggests that magnesium taurate has antihypertensive and cardioprotective activity, but this will need more research on humans.

Magnesium L-threonate

This is being touted as one of the most absorbable types of magnesium. Animal studies show it may be most effective in increasing magnesium in brain cells, although more research is required to determine if this can be a long-term treatment for depression.

Magnesium orotate

This form of magnesium is popular among competitive athletes. While the orotic acid in it is said to enhance athletic performance because it may bolster heart health by improving energy production in heart and blood vessel tissues, there are no clear studies just yet to confirm this. It is also significantly more expensive than the other magnesium forms, so currently, its cost does not seem to justify the perceived benefits.

Older people and those with medical conditions are often those with magnesium deficiency, although younger people with poor diets could be deficient. In these cases, a magnesium supplement will always come in handy.


Unlocking optimal health often boils down to understanding and catering to our body’s unique needs. This holistic overview of magnesium has delved into the diverse forms this mineral comes in, their unique characteristics, and how each benefits our health in markedly different ways.

In the end, let’s remember: while magnesium might seem like a small facet in the spectrum of nutrition, it wears many cloaks. And recognizing the form that’s designed for you can steer your health in an optimal direction, helping you live your best, most radiant life.