Magnesium Supplement Buying Guide

Which magnesium supplement should I buy?

As one of the most popular supplements on the market, choosing a magnesium supplement can be confusing and overwhelming. There are so many different types of magnesium with many different deliveries from powder, pills, capsules, oils and balms.

When it comes to making a decision, the main things to consider are the type of magnesium, the dosage, the price and be aware of any additional ingredients.

Type of Magnesium

There are over 20 different types of magnesium you might encounter in a supplement with some of the most popular being magnesium citrate, magnesium glycinate, magnesium malate, and magnesium oxide.

A few more include magnesium:

  • Citrate
  • Glycinate
  • Orotate
  • Theronate
  • Taurate
  • Acetate
  • Malate
  • Carbonate
  • Chloride
  • Hydroxide
  • Lactate
  • Phosphate
  • Gluconate
  • Sulfate
  • Aspartate
  • Oxide

Not all magnesium is created equal. What separates all these types of magnesium is the molecule it is bound to or chelated with. In nature, magnesium is prone to bond with other elements and molecules which can impact the magnesium absorption and also have their own therapeutic benefits.

Magnesium Chelates – These are forms of magnesium that are chemically bound to another molecule that make the magnesium more likely to survive the trip from the stomach to the small intestine. Magnesium chelates have the potential to offer far greater absorption rates with the right molecules. With so many forms of magnesium supplements out there it can be hard to know which one is best for you.

Magnesium Malate for example is a magnesium molecule bound to malic acid, magnesium citrate is bound to citric acid, magnesium glycinate is bound to glycine and so on. These binders such as malic acid can harm or help you in their own ways. Magnesium malate is generally regarded as a good form due to its high absorption rates and because of the benefits associated with malic acid such as improved energy, exercise endurance and helping to fight fatigue.

Absorption rate plays a large role in choosing the right magnesium. You want a form that your body can actually absorb and use. Normal absorption rates for magnesium vary between 4% and 60% depending on the form. Magnesium oxide for example has an absorption rate of approximately 4% compared to magnesium citrates 30%. Therefore, if you’re reading a label and see a product to contain 500mg of magnesium, if that’s magnesium oxide you’re looking at about 10mg of magnesium absorbed compared to 100mg if it’s magnesium citrate. This is an example of how you can’t just rely on the amount of magnesium shown on the label.

Poorly absorbed magnesium’s include magnesium oxide, gluconate, sulphate, aspartate and carbonate.

The most common forms of magnesium include:

  • Pills
  • Capsules
  • Powders
  • Oils
  • Creams

When choosing which form of magnesium to supplement with you need to know what your aim is. If you’re magnesium deficient and are looking to rectify a long-term deficiency you’ll want to start with a form that can give you adequate doses at a reasonable price such as a powder. If you’re good with capsules, they’re another good option.

If your digestion isn’t functioning properly, you’ll want to avoid hard packed pills as they won’t break down as well for optimal absorption as a powder or powdered capsule would.

Oils and creams are a good way to target some magnesium into a muscle to help it relax.

If you’re taking a daily powder, make sure to check what additional ingredients you’re getting. You don’t want any artificial sweeteners, flavours, preservatives or anything potentially detrimental to your health.

Magnesium Information

For more everything you need to know about magnesium and magnesium supplements, check out our comprehensive information page here.

Biosphere Magnesium Supplement

Rated 4.8 out of 5 based on 167 customer ratings
(167 customer reviews)

We’ve created a magnesium supplement with a combination of thee types of highly absorbable magnesium at a therapeutic dose. Our magnesium comes as an easy to mix, great tasting powder to ensure optimal absorption. To learn more about our magnesium, check out the product page here.

Ron Goedeke


Ron Goedeke MD, BSc Hons MBChB, FNZCAM

Dr Ron Goedeke, specialises in alternative and functional medicine. He is a foundation member of the New Zealand college of Appearance medicine and has been a member of the American Academy of Anti-aging medicine since 1999. With over 20 years of experience in the anti-aging field, Dr Ron Goedeke is recognized as one of New Zealand’s leaders in this new and growing field of medicine.

Disclaimer: The information provided is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or qualified healthcare provider with any questions or concerns about your health. Never disregard or delay seeking medical advice because of something you have heard or read on this website.


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