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Involved in more than 300 reactions in the body governing heart health, blood pressure, and a whole lot more, magnesium is no joke.
This eclectic electrolyte is sourced by the body fairly easily from a broad range of foods (meat and plant sources), but fluoridated water, sugar, and caffeine can all sap your body’s magnesium stores—why is it always the good stuff?
Best for: Those who need a highly absorbable, clean magnesium supplement for consistent results.
Never content to cram the main ingredient in a capsule and walk away, Solaray is flexing their formulation know-how once more with this absorption-optimized magnesium glycinate supplement.
For example, the use of a black pepper extract (BioPerine) has been proven to “stimulate thermogenic action in the epithelial cells of the small intestine,” which is this study’s way of saying that it primes the small intestine for more efficient nutrient absorption (not just magnesium).
Along the exact same lines, the amino acid glycine—aside from having numerous health benefits on its own—greatly enhances magnesium absorption in the body with the added benefit of being easier on the stomach than other common forms of magnesium (about a dozen).
Finally, we know from our Better Being review (Solaray’s parent company) and related conversations with their team that they take testing and sourcing very seriously, which seals this supplement as our top pick.
If you’re a bit skeptical about how well the magnesium is being absorbed and/or the overall safety/quality of your supplement(s), Solaray has the best magnesium glycinate supplement to address these issues.
Best for: Value hunters who prefer an easy 1-a-day capsule that they can use regularly with minimal impact to budget.
Weighing in price-wise at a paltry 3 cents per 100 mg of magnesium—four times less than the next cheapest on our list—Hi-Health Magnesium is way ahead of the pack on value (at least as far as trusted brands go).
But rest assured, we didn’t just blindly scrape the bottom of the barrel on price; Hi-Health has long maintained its reputation as a solid value brand that employs research and testing teams to ensure their products are safe and effective.
Such is the case with this Hi-Health Magnesium supplement, packing 300 mg of magnesium into each capsule so you don’t have to be popping pills all day.
Gelatin is used in the capsule, so this product isn’t officially vegan, but if we had a main “gripe” here, it would be the less absorbable form of magnesium (oxide).
Covering this exact issue is this New York Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center study, which concluded that magnesium oxide had “relatively poor bioavailability” compared to other commercially available preparations of the supplement like chloride, lactate, aspartate, and so on.
That said, at a quarter of the price and a much higher magnesium concentration per capsule, we consider this issue at least partially mitigated.
If you’re looking for a simple, highly affordable, one-a-day magnesium capsule, Hi-Health Magnesium is the best magnesium supplement in our book when it comes to value.
Best Magnesium for Sleep: Now Magnesium Citrate
More absorbable than most forms of magnesium
Solid value for the quality
No other absorption enhancers/supporting ingredients
Best for: Anyone looking to address sleep and/or digestive issues with an absorbable, high-value magnesium supplement from a trusted brand.
NOW actually uses three forms of highly absorbable magnesium—citrate, glycinate, and malate—in this product, all of which (especially glycinate) have been shown to enhance sleep quality.
A nickel cheaper than Solaray per 100 milligrams of magnesium, NOW Magnesium Citrate is a superb value, and certainly among the more absorbable magnesium products on the market.
We also appreciate how each 3-softgel serving (NOW recommends one serving per day) can be spaced out throughout the day, where Solaray recommends taking all 4 of their capsules in a single meal.
Speaking of softgels, NOW Magnesium Citrate softgels are soundly formulated, but the use of bovine gelatin unfortunately closes the door on the vegan crowd.
Taking a broader look at the brand behind the product, we know from our NOW Foods Review that they maintain a highly restrictive vendor qualification process, including on-site or remote audits, and test everything with their in-house laboratories.
All things considered, we recommend NOW Magnesium Citrate softgels to anyone looking for a highly absorbable, trustworthy supplement for improving sleep that beats most of the other guys on price.
Best Magnesium Gummy: Trace Minerals Magnesium Gummies
Best for: Kids and adults who prefer gummies, but without the crappy sweeteners and/or artificial ingredients.
If you thought the gummies-for-grownups domain was reserved only for the—shall we say—“herbal hobbyist,” Trace Minerals begs to differ with their tangerine-flavored magnesium gummies.
Delivering 84 mg of magnesium citrate a piece, these gummies are sweetened and flavored with organic cane sugar, organic tapioca syrup, and organic natural tangerine flavor, all totaling a reasonable 1 gram of added sugar per gummy.
While we would like to see at least a slightly higher concentration of magnesium per piece, we haven’t found another brand to come close in terms of ingredient quality.
It also bears mentioning that we’ve personally checked Trace Minerals out, hearing a rousing mini-lecture from Dr. Darrin Starkey—their Manager of Education and Training—on how Trace Minerals optimizes their products to target the most common nutritional deficiencies in even healthier eaters.
And if you’re pondering the differences between magnesium gummies and capsules, it’s a bit of a mixed bag.
Gummies are typically lower in vitamin concentration, but are broken down more efficiently than capsules if you chew the gummy thoroughly.
Since there is no capsule to be broken down, the nutrients in gummies often reach their peak concentration in your bloodstream earlier.
Despite this “head start” on metabolism, most agree that gummies are not more or less efficient than capsules in terms of what percentage of the contents is absorbed in the end.
This colorful cast of accompanying ingredients like vitamin-E-rich shea butter speaks to a potential for several benefits beyond the discomfort relief of the magnesium, including skin moisturizing and protection, eczema and acne treatment, and more.
The one thing we’re miffed by, of course, is the lack of an explicitly quantified amount of magnesium, but the form of magnesium (chloride) bodes well for absorption.
However, according to the Life Flo Product Helpline, there is about 66mg per teaspoon of lotion, which means there is around 3,168mg in the 8oz bottle.
All this considered, including the overwhelmingly positive reviews, we recommend Life-Flo Magnesium Lotion for anyone looking to take the edge off those aches while nourishing the skin.
Best Liquid Magnesium: Trace Minerals Cal/Mag/Zinc
Not to mention, they throw in an Ionic Trace Minerals Complex (435mg) to boot, which helps the body absorb these nutrients.
Thanks to this broader micronutrient profile, Trace Minerals Cal/Mag/Zinc is able to target a larger range of benefits, including immune support, bone and muscle maintenance, cellular health, and more.
Considering the concentration and variety of these nutrients—some of which can hit pretty hard on an empty stomach—we (and Trace Minerals) recommend starting with half of a dose and adjusting based on your response. If you’ve reached the laxative effect, you’ve gone too far.
Otherwise, if liquid is your preference and/or necessity, Trace Minerals has definitely thrown down the gauntlet with their Cal/Mag/Zinc supplement.
Magnesium Supplement FAQs
Which is the best type of magnesium to take?
Answers vary because magnesium can be taken for several purposes, but in general, magnesium chloride and magnesium glycinate are considered two of the best all-around forms of the supplement for their high absorption rate.
What magnesium do doctors recommend?
While they tend to leave brand names out of the discussion, most doctors recommend magnesium citrate, glycinate, and aspartate for their bioavailability. As always, the quality of the product, your particular use habits, and other circumstantial factors will affect your success with any given supplement.
Is it better to take magnesium citrate or magnesium glycinate?
Though they’re fairly hard to separate in terms of how efficiently they absorb, it’s widely agreed upon that magnesium glycinate has the edge when it comes to gastrointestinal comfort; glycinate is less likely to cause diarrhea or other GI issues than magnesium citrate and other magnesium preparations.
Should I take magnesium in the morning or at night?
With a few exceptions, the time of day during which you take magnesium doesn’t dramatically affect your results with the supplement, so long as you’re consistent and within a proper dosage range.
Some of the major exceptions in mention include topical magnesium products for joint pain (better at morning or night depending on when the pain is worst) or magnesium supplements used to improve sleep quality, which are better taken in the evening.
What are the signs of low magnesium?
According to this Magnesium Fact Sheet from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), some common symptoms of magnesium deficiency include:
– Loss of appetite – Nausea – Vomiting – Fatigue – Weakness – Muscle contractions or cramps (severe deficiency) – Personality changes (severe deficiency) – Abnormal heart rhythms (severe deficiency)
The form of magnesium can significantly affect how efficiently it is absorbed in the body, with chloride, glycinate, and citrate outperforming oxide.
Remember: capsules are the (usually cheaper) standard, gummies are fun but generally less concentrated, liquid magnesium is better tolerated for some, and magnesium topicals can help with targeting specific areas on your body.
As always, consult with your doctor if you have any questions about taking a magnesium supplement, and vet each product/brand to ensure they use high-quality ingredients and safe practices.
Food is for physical wellness, and pharmaceutical products are for mental health conditions—that’s where most of us land when it comes to nutrition psychiatry.
Nutrition is understandably not priority one in the chaotic moments immediately following a traumatic brain injury (TBI), but as soon as the patient is stable, nutrition therapy shares center stage with other key tenets of TBI rehabilitation.
Normally, we’re content to bounce around new and/or controversial theories on nutritional concepts all day, but every so often, we have the luxury of seeing in black and white.
This may seem like a fun-killing exercise at first, but we’re not interested in coddling or pandering to our readers, so let’s get the harsh reality out of the way: most of us haven’t earned the right to binge on vacation.