Magnesium is a vital nutrient, playing a role in hundreds of enzyme systems in our body. It helps regulate protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, glucose levels, and even blood pressure (1)(2). Humans do not produce magnesium on their own accord and must rely on our diets to get enough of it. Magnesium is found in a variety of widely available foods, including leafy greens, legumes, nuts, and seeds. However, nearly half of Americans are not getting enough magnesium in their diets. Fortunately, there are a number of magnesium supplements available on the market.
Magnesium supplements are available in a variety of forms and strength levels. Though there’s virtually no harm in absorbing as much magnesium as possible from foods, the Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) has set a daily upper limit of 350 milligrams of magnesium from supplements for adults (more specifically, 420 milligrams for men and 320 milligrams for women). Before adding magnesium supplements to your dietary routine, consult with a medical professional, as too much can have negative side effects, including gastrointestinal issues (3).
The Best Magnesium Supplements
- Best Overall: Natural Stacks MagTech
- Most Transparent: Transparent Labs Raw Series Magnesium
- Best Multivitamin: Transparent Labs Wellness Series Multi
- Best Drink/Powder: Utzy U-Mag
- Best For Sleep: Performance Lab Sleep
Editor’s note: The content on BarBend is meant to be informative in nature, but it should not be taken as medical advice. The opinions and articles on this site are not intended for use as diagnosis, prevention, and/or treatment of health problems. It’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor before beginning a new fitness, nutritional, and/or supplement routine. Individual needs for vitamins and minerals will vary.
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The Natural Stacks MagTech provides three types of magnesium with every serving — L-threonate, taurate, and glycinate. Each single serving of three capsules provides 200 milligrams of magnesium. Natural Stacks uses what they call an “Open Source” transparency program to guarantee that the consumer is purchasing ingredient-traceable, third-party tested batches of magnesium.
This bioavailable magnesium supplement features L-threonate, taurate, and glycinate. Every batch is third-party lab tested with traceable ingredients. Each three-capsule serving provides 200 milligrams of magnesium.
Who Should Take Natural Stacks MagTech
- Those who want their supplements third-party tested.
- Anyone who is looking for a relatively high-dose magnesium supplement compared the the rest of the market.
- Folks who are happy to have the addition of taurine.
Who Shouldn’t Take Natural Stacks MagTech
- Folks who have sensitive stomachs.
- People in need of a lighter dose per serving.
One of the more common effects of taking a combination of magnesium like what the MagTech provides is an improvement in sleep quality. However, if a consumer has a more sensitive stomach, it might end up having a laxative effect which can be disruptive. Natural Stacks recommends taking upwards of six pills (two servings) of MagTech in the evening before going to sleep, but it might be better to take fewer as two servings would provide 400 milligrams of magnesium which is towards the very high end of the daily recommended allowance.
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Transparent Labs has a good track record of keeping artificial sweeteners, preservatives, and articial colorings out of their supplements and their magnesium is no different. Each three-capsule serving provides 300 milligrams of magnesium bisglycinate chelate. Chelate is an amino acid that binds the magnesium to glycine. Additional ingredients are primarily for the veggie capsule — rice flour, magnesium stearate, and silicon dioxide. Although it is unlikely to have an impact through this supplement, rice flour can be a useful dietary tool for athletes looking to bulk up.
This magnesium supplement is free of artificial sweeteners, colorings, and preservatives. It is non-GMO, gluten-free, and each three-capsule serving provides 300 milligrams of magnesium.
Who Should Take Transparent Labs Raw Series Magnesium
- Anyone looking for a single type of magnesium supplement.
- Folks who prefer to avoid artificial sweeteners and colorings altogether.
- People who want a high dose magnesium supplement.
Who Shouldn’t Take Transparent Labs Raw Series Magnesium
- Those taking a magnesium supplement for the first time who need to start with a lighter dose.
- Anyone who only plans to add it to their supplement regimen for a short period of time.
As previously mentioned, magnesium can help sleep quality improve. This particular product may take a bit longer in your regimen to feel its effects than several other counterparts on the market. Transparent Labs Raw Series Magnesium has an ingredient list that is shorter than many of its competitors — a value to those who want a more concentrated magnesium supplement.
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Transparent Labs is doing solid work in the magnesium supplement space as they earn a second spot on our top picks list with their wellness series multivitamin. There are many things to look for in a multivitamin and judging by this product’s ingredient list, it delivers. It provides 22 vitamins and minerals per four-capsule serving, consumers receive 300 milligrams of magnesium on top of high doses of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and Vitamin K. Furthermore this supplement provides extremely high doses of Vitamin B1, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, and biotin.
This multivitamin provides doses of 22 different vitamins and minerals. Each four-capsule serving includes 300 milligrams of magnesium and 100 milligrams of Vitamin C.
Who Should Take Transparent Labs Wellness Series Multi
- Those looking for a high dose of vitamins and minerals alongside their magnesium intake.
- Anyone who needs to up their micronutrient intake (which can be important for athletes).
Who Shouldn’t Take Transparent Labs Wellness Series Multi
- Folks who want a magnesium-only supplement.
The main downside of a multivitamin for those looking for a magnesium supplement is the same as the main upside — all those extra vitamins and minerals. If you are looking for a multivitamin, it would be hard to go wrong with Transparent Labs’ offering. If you’re not, then it might be best to pivot to one of the other magnesium supplement options on the list. All-in-all, most of the doses of each vitamin provided in this product are high and can be an easy way to bolster your diet.
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This lemon-flavored drink mix provides a whopping 400 milligrams of magnesium in each single-scoop serving. It is a highly concentrated form of magnesium with the only other ingredients being citric acid, natural lemon flavor (organic), rebaudioside A (organic), and silicon dioxide. Although it can be consumed in powder form, it is likely best when mixed into water or blended into a smoothie or a shake.
This supplement provides 400 milligrams of magnesium for each single-scoop serving. There are only five ingredients used: magnesium, citric acid, natural lemon flavor (organic), rebaudioside A (organic), and silicon dioxide.
Who Should Take Utzy U-Mag
- Anyone who prefers drinking their supplements.
- Folks who want a very high-dosage magnesium supplement.
Who Shouldn’t Take Utzy U-Mag
- Those who would prefer supplements in pill or liquid form.
- People who would rather start with a small dose-per-serving supplement.
The reasons why this product is a great choice might also be the reasons why certain consumers should stay away from it. The dose of magnesium in each serving is on the higher end when comparing many magnesium supplement options on the market. Additionally, mixing a powder into a drink does take a little bit more effort than simply taking a pill. If you are someone who doesn’t like pills or prefers taking supplements as part of a drink, then the lemon flavor sported by Utzy’s option may work wonders for you.
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Best For Sleep
Performance Lab combines three main ingredients to make a magnesium supplement that doubles as a potential sleep aid. First off, it sports 100 milligrams of magnesium per two-capsule serving. Secondly, it has 500 milligrams of “CherryPURE®” which consists of 500 milligrams of melatonin derived from whole Montmorency tart cherries. Lastly, it includes 250 milligrams of “TryptoPure®” which is the essential amino acid L-tryptophan.
This supplement provides 100 milligrams of magnesium, 500 milligrams of melatonin from tart cherries, and 250 milligrams of L-tryptophan. Each capsule is made from the natural prebiotic fiber pullulan.
Who Should Take Performance Lab Sleep
- Folks who are looking for a supplement to help improve their sleep.
- Those who would prefer a lower dose magnesium supplement.
- People who follow a vegan diet.
Who Shouldn’t Take Performance Lab Sleep
- People looking for a more concentrated magnesium supplement.
- Anyone who needs a higher dose of magnesium per serving.
These natural prebiotic fiber capsules — made from the cultured tapioca pullulan — are approved by the Vegetarian Society, meaning that they are vegan-friendly. At the end of the day, if you are on the lookout for sleep aid, then this might be an easy pick off this list. If not, there are plenty of other great options to choose from.
Compared to many other competitive options on the market, Performance Lab is not necessarily prioritizing magnesium in this particular supplement as reflected by the small dose per serving. However, that might be appealing for athletes trying a magnesium supplement for the first time to see how their body responds before moving to a higher dose option.
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How We Decided Our Picks
Magnesium is essential for our bodies to work properly. Research indicates that it may play a vital role in maintaining a healthy metabolism, assisting in normal muscle function, and aiding in DNA and RNA synthesis (1)(2). Moreover, though more research is needed, low levels of magnesium have been linked to various health conditions, including Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and even Alzheimers (7)(8)(9). Although the studies are far from conclusive, there is budding evidence to support the theory that magnesium may even help combat depression (10).
Though available in a variety of common foods, nearly half of all Americans are not getting enough of this vital mineral in their diets (11). When comparing magnesium supplements, it’s important to know how to distinguish between the following key features.
Type of Magnesium
There are several types of magnesium supplements available on the market, differentiated by the manner in which magnesium is formulated. Magnesium oxide and citrate are among the most common and generally cost-friendly. These are also often used as active ingredients in laxatives and may have a similar effect in supplement form.
Magnesium glycinate, on the other hand, is typically a bit easier on the stomach. Magnesium l-threonate may have some positive cognitive effects and is often used by folks looking to improve their sleep. Depending on your needs, each type of magnesium has its own advantages.
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How Much is Too Much?
As previously mentioned, the FNB has established daily recommended dietary allowances for magnesium at 420 milligrams for men and 320 milligrams for women. This accounts for all magnesium, including that which comes from food. However, too much magnesium in your diet can have adverse effects, including nausea or an upset stomach.
With this in mind, it’s important to consult a medical professional before adding a magnesium supplement into your diet, particularly if that supplement is over 350 milligrams per serving.
As with any supplement, it’s important to consider what you’re actually putting into your body. Read the labels to see if any additional ingredients or additives have been added. If possible, check for third party tests for purity. The higher concentrated magnesium supplements will usually only have magnesium itself and some preservatives and flavorings (assuming it’s flavored). Of course, the more thoroughly a product is third-party tested for purity the better.
This will be a surprise to no one: if all products were made equal the less expensive options would be preferable. So to compare the prices of the options you are considering, divide the total cost of the product by the number of servings listed on the label. This will give inform you of how much value you’re getting from product to product.
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Pill vs. Powder
For some folks, the convenience of taking a quick pill or two will be the most important consideration in shopping for supplements. The advantage of a powder, however, is that you can more accurately control just how much magnesium you’re adding into your diet as you will be measuring it first hand. The pill versus powder debate doesn’t have as much influence on our list since ultimately it will boil down to personal preference. It is, however, a big distinction when comparing various top-tier products so it is worth taking into consideration.
What To Consider Before Buying
Consult a medical professional before adding a magnesium supplement to your diet. Certain forms of magnesium can have laxative-like qualities — depending on your diet and stomach sensitivity, take that into account.
The recommended daily dose from supplements alone is lower than some of the magnesium servings you’ll come across. If you’re just starting on your magnesium supplement journey, you may want to start low.
- Gröber U, Schmidt J, Kisters K. Magnesium in Prevention and Therapy. Nutrients. 2015;7(9):8199-8226.
- Zhang Y, Xun P, Wang R, Mao L, He K. Can Magnesium Enhance Exercise Performance? Nutrients. 2017;9(9):946.
- Office of Dietary Supplements – Magnesium. Nih.gov. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-Consumer/. Published 2017.
- Slutsky I, Abumaria N, Wu L-J, et al. Enhancement of learning and memory by elevating brain magnesium. Neuron. 2010;65(2):165-177.
- Liu G, Weinger JG, Lu Z-L, Xue F, Sadeghpour S. Efficacy and Safety of MMFS-01, a Synapse Density Enhancer, for Treating Cognitive Impairment in Older Adults: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Journal of Alzheimer’s disease : JAD. 2016;49(4):971-990.
- Li W, Yu J, Liu Y, et al. Elevation of brain magnesium prevents synaptic loss and reverses cognitive deficits in Alzheimer’s disease mouse model. Molecular brain. 2014;7:65.
- Rosanoff A, Weaver CM, Rude RK. Suboptimal magnesium status in the United States: are the health consequences underestimated? Nutrition reviews. 2012;70(3):153-164.
- Houston M. The role of magnesium in hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Journal of clinical hypertension (Greenwich, Conn). 2011;13(11):843-847.
- Guerrero-Romero F, Rodríguez-Morán M. The effect of lowering blood pressure by magnesium supplementation in diabetic hypertensive adults with low serum magnesium levels: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Journal of human hypertension. 2009;23(4):245-251.
- Serefko A, Szopa A, Poleszak E. Magnesium and depression. Magnesium research. 2016;29(3):112-119.
- Consumer Reports. Magnesium is essential to your health, but many people don’t get enough of it. The Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/magnesium-is-essential-to-your-health-but-many-people-dont-get-enough-of-it/2017/06/09/77bc35b4-2515-11e7-bb9d-8cd6118e1409_story.html. Published June 9, 2017.