9 Common Types of Magnesium Explained

by Dr. Edward Group DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM Published on , Last Updated on October 21, 2015

Magnesium Supplements

Magnesium is one of the most abundant minerals in the human body and 50% of magnesium is located in the bones. Magnesium, similar to zinc, is a necessary cofactor for over 300 biochemical reactions in the human body. This includes everyday processes, such as muscle building, maintaining nerve function, keeping a healthy heartbeat and sustaining optimal immune system function.

Because scientific studies are examining the role of magnesium in alleviating or circumventing many commonly occurring chronic ailments, it is important to be educated on the variations in magnesium supplements; especially magnesium orotate, the best form of the mineral supplement.

Magnesium is not easily absorbed in the body unless first attached to transporting substance. For this reason, many supplement manufacturers have “chelated” magnesium to organic and amino acids. A few of these include magnesium oxide, magnesium sulfate and magnesium carbonate. Quality depends on the amount of magnesium in the supplement and how bioavailable it is. Bioavailability refers to the amount of magnesium in the supplement that can be assimilated by the digestive system and used for cellular activity and health benefit.

9 Types of Magnesium

1. Magnesium Amino Acid Chelate

A mineral chelate form of magnesium containing an ion of magnesium oxide connected to a mixture of some other form of amino acid. This could be a lactate, a glycine, aspartate or arginate, etc. The best chelated amino acid form of magnesium is aspartate or arginate.

2. Magnesium Oxide

Also referred to as “Magnesia”, magnesium oxide is commonly used therapeutically as a laxative and relief for acid reflux. This type of magnesium shows high levels of concentration, but poor levels of bioavailability (only 4%).

3. Magnesium Citrate

Derived from the magnesium salt of citric acid, this form of magnesium has lower concentration, but a high level of bioavalibity (90%). Magnesium citrate is commonly used as to induce a bowel movement, but has also been studied for kidney stone prevention.

4. Magnesium Orotate

The most effective form of magnesium supplement, created through the use of the mineral salts of orotic acid. Both plants and animals use orotates to create DNA and RNA. Extensive scientific research by Dr. Hans A. Nieper, M.D. shows orotates can penetrate cell membranes, enabling the effective delivery of the magnesium ion to the innermost layers of the cellular mitochondria and nucleus. Magnesium orotate contains many properties that can help protect you and your health, while offering your cells the most readily absorbable form of magnesium on the market today.

5. Magnesium Chloride

A form of magnesium showing moderate concentrations, but higher levels of bioavalibity when compared to magnesium oxide. Magnesium chloride has many uses, most commonly to help manufacture paper, some types of cements and fireproofing agents.

6. Magnesium Lactate

This type of magnesium shows moderate concentrations, but higher levels of bioavalibity as compared to magnesium oxide. Magnesium lactate is a mineral supplement that is most commonly used for treating digestive issues. Magnesium lactate should be avoided by those with kidney disease or kidney-related problems.

7. Magnesium Sulfate

An inorganic form of magnesium with an elemental concentration of 10% and lower levels of bioavailability. Magnesium sulfate contains magnesium and sulfer and oxygen; it’s commonly referred to as Epsom Salt.

8. Magnesium Carbonate

This form of magnesium has moderate levels of elemental concentration and 30% bioavalibity rates. Magnesium carbonate has a strong laxative-effect when taken in high amounts. It is also commonly known as chalk, and is used as a drying agent by pitchers, gymnasts, rock climbers and weight lifters.

9. Magnesium Glycinate, Malate & Taurates

Chelated forms of magnesium holding moderate to low concentrations and higher levels of bioavailability. All three types of magnesium have a variety of uses, but none are as beneficial as the previous magnesium supplements listed above.

A magnesium supplement is best taken with calcium, for this reason, I developed IntraCal, it provides the best ratio of calcium and magnesium orotate.


  1. Classen HG. Magnesium orotate–experimental and clinical evidence. Rom J Intern Med. 2004;42(3):491-501. Review.
  2. Zeana C. Magnesium orotate in myocardial and neuronal protection. Rom J Intern Med. 1999 Jan-Mar;37(1):91-7. Review.
  3. Albrecht E, Kirkham KR, Liu SS, Brull R. The analgesic efficacy and safety of neuraxial magnesium sulphate: a quantitative review. Anaesthesia. 2013 Feb;68(2):190-202. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2044.2012.07337.x. Epub 2012 Nov 1. Review.
  4. Dufault R, LeBlanc B, Schnoll R, Cornett C, Schweitzer L, Wallinga D, Hightower J, Patrick L, Lukiw WJ. Mercury from chlor-alkali plants: measured concentrations in food product sugar. Environ Health. 2009 Jan 26;8:2. doi: 10.1186/1476-069X-8-2.

  • Cynthia Schoenbauer

    Thank you, Lisa! Do you know if just any brand will do?

  • http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/ Global Healing Center

    You’re correct. If sulfur free is a must, IntraCal wouldn’t be appropriate.

  • Cynthia Schoenbauer

    Thank you for your reply Dr. Group, but it just brings me back to my original question. Do you know a good brand other than your own of the cal/mag orotate, (together or separately), that would make a good substitute, or is any orotate just fine? Thank you, Cindy

  • http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/ Global Healing Center

    I’d look for another orotate, I find that’s the most absorbable. I don’t have another brand I can recommend.

  • john1719

    I have a cardiac calcium score of more than 9,000. My calcium and magnesium blood levels are both normal. I take 400 mg of Magnesium Glycinate daily. Would some other form of magnesium be helpful in decalcifying my arteries?

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  • lynette mayo

    I read we need two types of Magnesium, pls. advise !

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