9 Common Types of Magnesium Explained

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

Foods that are rich in magnesium include yogurt and bananas. Magnesium is one of the most abundant minerals in the human body.

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 are less concentrated, but the magnesium in them is a much more bioavailable form. 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.

References (4)
  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.

†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Global Healing Center does not dispense medical advice, prescribe, or diagnose illness. The views and nutritional advice expressed by Global Healing Center are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.

  • Sujanitha

    Dear Dr. Group,
    I own a new natural health website and I always look out for blogs that have well-researched content. Though I’ve commented on this wonderful article on Mg and its types, I’ve read allyour previous blogs and I find all of them particularly informative.


  • ht


    how about magnesium stearate?

  • Marcie

    I have found for my cardiac lyme symptoms, that even orotate was not adequate. There is a company with a patent (kind of obnoxious) for di-magnesium malate. This combines high concentration and extremely high bioavailability. Even regular magnesium malate alone is often especially helpful for lime/fibro symptoms. Di-magnesium malate is amazing! A supplement with di-magnesium malate and calcium citrate in a three to one ration would be wonderful for neurological/ muscle issues.

    Thank you for including this, Marcie Matthews

  • Chalk is actually a form of calcium carbonate, not magnesium carbonate, though I suppose the latter might like enough like chalk that some people might call it that.

  • Oops – “look enough like”.

  • dooberheim

    Any magnesium salt, as long as it doesn’t raise the pH of the stomach too much, will exit the stomach as ionized Mg++, due to the hydrochloric acid in the stomach.

    Eating a diet high in veggies and nuts should give you all the magnesium you need – supplementation is unnecessary for most people.


    Also, magnesium ion is transported into cells by specialized proteins on the cell surface called transporters. They only work with ionized magnesium.


  • Judy

    While I’m certainly interested in the comparative information, I was disappointed on two counts:
    First, the total absence of mention of magnesium ascorbate, which I understand to have good bioavailability and is my primary source, and
    Second, no mention of magnesium chloride, as magnesium oil, being used transdermally, which avoids the digestive system issues.

  • Dr. Edward Group

    Hi Judy,

    You are absolutely correct. I will update the post to include the other forms of magnesium you mention. I also recommend magnesium Chloride transdermally.

    ~Dr. Group

  • Me

    The type of chalk used by weight lifters, gymnasts, rock climbers, etc. to help with grip IS magnesium carbonate, though I suppose people who don’t know better might say otherwise.

  • healthylife

    I learned more about Magnesium in this blog then from any other. Thanks for the information!

  • Magnesium Oxide

    Thanks for the informative post on the Magnesium Oxide. Magnesium oxide is very useful product for our body’s functionality.

  • Ross

    Thanks for doing this.

    Hope you add magnesium threonate (see, e.g. magtein.com) to this list.

    Recent research (think it was JAMA?) indicates v.good brain-related bioavailability.

    Thanks again.

  • Mary


    I wonder if you could post the sources which give information regarding the bioavailability of magnesium in different magnesium types, please? I’ve found some US government research stating that Mg oxide has low bioavailibility at 4%, but I can’t find any other credible research out there on the net. It would really help my research into the bioavailability of magnesium types.


  • Ben
  • Mary

    Thanks for that. Much appreciated 🙂

  • april

    Yes thanks for all the useful information! I am 37 years old & was diagnosed as a type 1 diabetic ten years ago. Just two weeks ago -on a whim & a little reading on magnesium- I began taking magnesium oxide. And whereas it may not be the best form of magnesium, I am already reaping many benefits from this precious mineral. Not only is my body soaking it up, so is my brain. I cannot stop reading up on the many many benefits of magnesium. I am very anxious to try the oil. Thanks so much!

  • Dianne

    How much magnesium orotate should you take daily. i just started taking it for leg cramping. is that the one I should be using? i have to make sure It is stomach friendly as I am on nexium,and have to stay on it. Thanks, Dianne

  • Peter Roe

    I’m not sure I understand the statement that the chloride has ‘higher levels of bioavailabity when compared to magnesium oxide’. Surely small amounts of magnesium oxide will immediately react with stomach acids to form magnesium chloride and water, and so should become equally bioavailable when ingested?

    Edit: I see that dooberheim has already made (and elaborated) this point.

  • AnAnon

    “Any magnesium salt, as long as it doesn’t raise the pH of the stomach too much, will exit the stomach as ionized Mg++, due to the hydrochloric acid in the stomach.”

    Not entirely true. It depends on the amount of hydrochloric acid produced in the stomach, as well as other foods and drinks that are present in the meal. Different salts dissociate at different rates, and so not all of the ions will be liberated for absorption and utilization.

    “Eating a diet high in veggies and nuts should give you all the magnesium you need – supplementation is unnecessary for most people.”

    Not so much in today’s world. The availability of magnesium is dependent on soil conditions (very poor in most parts of the agricultural United States and other parts of the world) and the amount of anti-nutrients found in the foods. Nuts, seeds, grains, and legumes (especially soy!) contain high levels of phytic acid if not sprouted, fermented, and/or cooked properly. Phytic acids binds magnesium, iron, zinc, and calcium; phytates are not digestible by humans. Add to the fact that food (from meals) buffers the stomach’s acids; so let us not overestimate hydrochloric acid’s “unlimited power”, especially in the elderly. It is tricky to get enough bioavailable magnesium in diet alone these days.

    Your source (mainstream, no surprise) lists nuts, legumes, and whole grains as good sources of magnesium. You would think with the amount of whole grains that health-conscious consumers eat, there would be no such thing as a magnesium deficiency among them; yet there is, and they find relief of their symptoms by supplementing with magnesium.

    Green, leafy vegetables are a good source, more so if cooked enough to soften the fiber bonds.

  • texmex .

    Where can you find Mg Chloride in the USA as alimentary supplement? In Europe I find it in every pharmacy, it is a great disinfectant on skin and I drink some when I feel a flu coming or stomach pain.


    1. You forgot Magnesium Ascorbate

    Ascorbic Acid and Magnesium form a very synergetic combination that is very good for the body.

    2. Orotate and Orotic Acid have issues in regards to helping cancer growth.

    3. Magnesium Aspartate has many questions in terms of it’s bio-availability and effectiveness.

  • ghc_health

    Excellent information SOEJINN! Thanks for sharing.


    Thanks. I have done a tremendous amount of study over the years. Previously, my blood pressure was in the prehypertension range and I looked for natural ways to lower it, in addition to diet and exercise. It is now consistently around 115/75, which is very good. Note- many doctors now say that even 120/80, which was normal before, is a bit high.

    Biologically, magnesium helps regulate sodium, potassium, and calcium. Many people are way too high in calcium and sodium and way too low in magnesium and potassium, and this bad balance will create a very dangerous and disastrous effect on the body.

  • WizChip

    yeah.. how about magnesium stearate?? Wikipedia has a article on it.

  • ghc_health

    Check out this article about orotates. It might clear up some things.

  • Joey

    Hi! I would like to know what will be the best Magnesium for muscle recovery? And what should be the starting dosage and what will be the best brand?

  • Thanks for asking, check out this article that describes 9 common types of magnesium:


  • opinioneater

    um….lots of RAW dark leafy greens in smoothies….that is all

  • Siramoel

    Is it safe to take magnesium citrate with the oxypowder? I workout and I take the magnesium citrate (natural calm) during the day or before going to sleep to help relax the muscles, but I also take the oxypowder. Can I take them together?

  • Be aware that Oxy-Powder also contains magnesium so you’d want to factor that in when determining how much magnesium you’re consuming every day.

  • beachwalker

    Which is the best to help ones body eliminate aluminum in ones body, helping to avoid dementia. Thanks

  • Good question, I know there’s some info out there about magnesium and aluminum cleansing. Anyone have experience they can share?

  • carol

    Hi, what and how much did you take for blood pressure. thanks.

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  • Aria Jacaman

    I have magnesium L theoronate In pill form, 4 pills a day, but just got the liquid multi vitamin with magnesium citrate. But I ales just wanted to Gemini cleanisng with oxypowder. Too much magnesium? 3 different kinds in one day how does the body react?

  • Have you added up the numbers? Toxicity is rare from dietary sources alone, the U.S. Institute
    of Medicine recommends a maximum of 350 mg of supplemental magnesium
    per day for adults.

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  • Arvienne

    which form of magnesium is safe with heart arrythmia problems or having irregular heartbeats? pls respond thanks

  • I like magnesium orotate but whether or not it’s safe and the best choice for you is going to have to be answered by your healthcare provider who has personally evaluated your physical condition and is familiar with your specific situation.

  • Michael Wallace Ellwood

    Can’t give you a dosage myself, although I agree more Mg will help. But just wanted to add that 2 things to reduce high BP which have been suggested to me are 1. Beetroot extract tablets(or juice) and 2. Hawthorn berry capsules. They are not too expensive either. Too early to say if they work for me, but they seem to work for many people.

  • Michael Wallace Ellwood

    But don’t some of those contain oxalates, which is yet another potential “minefield”? (Seems to be a contentious issue if one searches for it)

  • Brandon Evans

    This is dangerous information..
    Aspartate has HORRIBLE effects in your brain, ever wonder why aspartame gives people migraines?

    Also, magnesium should not be taken with calcium, the calcium has your body push the magnesium out in urine, rendering it totally useless. We get more than enough calcium as is, and supplementation should be avoided unless testing says otherwise.

  • DoubtingThomas

    Where on earth did you hear that?

  • Brandon Evans

    Which part?
    Both are pretty obvious if you have any basic understanding of biochem..

  • Giselle

    my mother has pain in her legs her dr, says she needs magnisium which would be the best one for her to take. when she sits she can not get up. hard for her to bend or move the legs

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  • Cynthia Schoenbauer

    Hello, Would you recommend a brand or Cal. orotate and Mag. orotate that does not have any sulfur. I need the first two so badly but my body does not handle even small amounts of sulfur at this time, even though I know it is very good for most other people.

  • I use IntraCal. Great quality and sulfur free.

  • Lisa_M

    Hey Cynthia,

    You can take the mineral molybdenum which helps in handling sulfur and then try reintroducing sulfur.

  • Cynthia Schoenbauer

    From reading the ingredients I find that IntraCal has MSM, which is a form of sulfur. Am I wrong?

  • Cynthia Schoenbauer

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

  • 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

  • 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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  • Tino

    What’s the bioavailability of magnesium orotate?

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  • Cam 76

    Possibly L-Threonate, glycinate, taurate, or malate. L-threonate is pretty new, and not well studied to my knowledge, but anecdotal reports and manufacturer claims relate to cognitive and memory improvements. It is also probably the most expensive form. Glycinate and taurate, are linked to MDD studies in a university of Adelaide report “Magnesium in the central nervous system.” Malate is said to be good for CFS and fibromyalgia, and there is anecdotal reports to that effect. Glycinate is probably the most tolerable throughout the day or at higher doses, and has the best absorption and bioavailability

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  • ivy

    I have lupus and my little girl (5) has chronic constipation regardless of diet and water. Mag in general really helped me feel better at first and completely cured my constipation, then as I was unaware interacted with my chemotherapy med. I crashed pretty fast.
    My daughter has been prescribed to take MOM. Wondering if there options for her that would be better for her and not upset her tummy? Also, Do ALL types of Mg interfere with chemo? Even oil? I really want to take it again! Thank you for the suggestions

  • Peter Lindquist

    Malic acid (Mag Malate) binds Aluminum see links on right as well >>http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17916978

  • Headache

    I use magnesium oil. You can make your own and save. I make a 1 to 1 and put it in a spray bottle. Distilled water and mg chloride flakes. Works wonders for leg cramps. Spray on and rub into legs.

  • Justice All

    Every time I research a supplement, the author has a a product to sell. I’m so over this obvious conflict of interest. Each one touts the “best & worst” forms of magnesium, for instance….Who to believe? None of them that are selling product…

  • Justice All

    Look into Source Naturals Ultra-Mag tablets. While I hate tablets due to the extra excipients, these might be the best for all as each tablet has 400 mg of a combo of Mag citrate, succinate, glycinate, malate & taurinate. I was about to toss the bottle out that I just got as the tablets are huge & I thought I’d ordered capsules…But now that I see the combo mags in it, I think I’ll find a way to take them, even if it means crushing..

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