Forms of magnesium in dietary supplements. How do the individual forms differ and is there even a need to distinguish between them?

3 minutes of reading

Forms of magnesium

Magnesium is found in dietary supplements in various forms. All forms contain the same magnesium atom, but in each form magnesium is bound to a different molecule and a different chemical bond.

This difference has a major impact on how the body uses that form of magnesium!

Magnesium is found in various forms in food. It is part of large molecules (for example, proteins) or, for example, bound to organic acids (citrate, sulfate,...). Therefore, it is best usable for the body in the forms in which it is found in food - over the years of evolution, the body has also become accustomed to these forms.

There is only one form in the overwhelming majority of dietary supplements (in contrast, there are always several in food). They are often the ones that are easy and cheap to produce and not the ones that are best used by the body. forms of magnesium the body will use

What will you learn in the article?

  • How do the individual forms differ?
  • Which are the most commonly used forms of magnesium
  • What forms are useful for the body
  • What side effects can they have?

Differences between individual forms of magnesium

So we already know that the individual forms differ in which molecule magnesium is bound to and what type of bond there is in the molecule. But we will not go into unnecessary details! What are the practical differences between the individual forms?

Magnesium content

The magnesium content can be expressed as a percentage. When it is bound to a small molecule (for example, a form of oxide), its content will be much greater than when it is part of a large molecule (for example, in chlorophyll). The content ranges from units to tens of percent.

In practice, the point is that only a limited amount of "powder" fits into the capsule, and the higher the % content, the more magnesium we get into the body in one capsule. However, the weight of the magnesium itself should always be indicated on the package and not the weight of the entire molecule, so the weight of magnesium from the package should always be sufficient to compare different supplements.


The big and important difference is in solubility. In order for magnesium to be properly absorbed, it is necessary that the given form first dissolves properly in the body.

Side effects

Of course, the molecule to which magnesium is bound also gets into the body. Therefore, even the "side effects" of individual forms may differ to a certain extent. However, these usually appear when taking much higher doses than the recommended doses and are most often digestive problems.

Usability in the body

According to studies, some forms increase the concentration of magnesium ions more in the muscles, while other forms increase in the brain. Sources are listed at the end of the article.

Forms of magnesium in dietary supplements. How do the individual forms differ and is there even a need to distinguish between them? 1
Forms of magnesium in dietary supplements. How do the individual forms differ and is there even a need to distinguish between them? 2

The best form of magnesium?

Unfortunately, it is not so clear-cut that one particular form is best. It is always necessary to take into account the purpose for which we supplement magnesium (excessive physical performance, mental performance, sleep, convulsions, diseases,...)

But with some, it can be said with absolute certainty that they are worse than others for supplementation. We have tried to rank them for you according to usability for the body from the lowest to the highest (based on solubility, dissociation, side effects and longer criteria taken from many studies and meta-analyses). Sorting can serve as a basic orientation between individual forms.

The most commonly used forms of magnesium

In general, forms can be divided into inorganic and organic. The organic ones are much more usable for the body, in the list below they have the Latin name in brackets.

Magnesium sulfate

Also known as Epsom salt, it is used for example in baths. It does not have much application in food supplements. It has the worst bioavailability of around 5%.

Magnesium hydroxide

Inorganic form, almost insoluble, unusable by the body. Total bioavailability around 8%.

Magnesium carbonate

Often used in food as a stabilizer - the so-called "e" (specifically E504). As a source of magnesium, it is a very poor form. Total bioavailability is around 12%

Magnesium chloride

Well soluble form with high magnesium content. Laxative effects are more often observed in this form. It is used, for example, in ointments for muscle relaxation. Its bioavailability is not very high, around 20%

Magnesium oxide

Unfortunately, the inorganic form is still one of the most common forms in supplements. One of the most difficult to use. Although it has a very high magnesium content and has no adverse effects, it is almost insoluble and its usability for the organism is very low - roughly 15-20% of the dose.

Magnesium citrate

Salt of citric acid. Form with very good absorption. However, it has laxative effects already at lower doses than other forms, which is why it is sometimes used as a laxative. The bioavailability of magnesium from this form is around 30%.

Magnesium lactate (magnesia lactici)

Salt of lactic acid. Lactate is a substance normally found in the body. According to studies, this form is gentle on the digestive system and is also suitable for supplementing higher doses, so-called "superdosing". Its bioavailability is around 43%.

Magnesium malate

Malic acid salt. A very similar form to lactate for absorption. Gentle on digestion, very good absorbability, has a higher magnesium content per unit weight than lactate. The bioavailability of magnesium from this form is around 40%.

Magnesium taurate

Magnesium associated with the amino acid taurine. The organic form has very good absorption and, according to studies, it is a form that can be easily used by the brain. Total bioavailability is around 45%.

Magnesium threonate

Magnesium is associated with a metabolite of vitamin C. A short-lived form. It has a lower magnesium content, but is very soluble and absorbable. Studies in mice have shown the highest availability to the brain of any form. It is considered the best form usable by the brain. Total bioavailability is around 50%.

Magnesium bisglycinate

Magnesium bound to the amino acid glycine. It is very soluble and absorbable, without frequent side effects and with a high magnesium content. One of the best forms. Total bioavailability is around 55%.

Interesting fact: Bisglycinate and glycinate are just different names. The term chelated magnesium ( magnesium chelate) is often used , and not quite correctly, only magnesium glycinate is referred to as such. In fact, chelated magnesium is a type of multiple forms of magnesium, and in addition to glycinate, there are also multiple organic forms, such as taurate or threonate.

Product Mind Mg

In the product Mg 2.0 we applied this knowledge to create the highest quality magnesium. In addition to containing 6 organic forms of magnesium, it also contains vitamin D3, which maximizes the utilization of magnesium in the body. You can read about how to maximize the use of magnesium in our next one article .