Ask Clean Plates: What’s the Best Magnesium Supplement?

magnesium supplement
Photo Credit: Marc Tran

March 7, 2021

By Gretchen Lidicker

Dive into the health benefits of magnesium and you’ll find more than a few. Magnesium can help health woes ranging from cramps and headaches to anxiety and constipation. You can get magnesium through certain foods, or you can take a magnesium supplement.

If you’re shopping for a magnesium supplement, it can be easy to get overwhelmed by all the options. There are dozens of different brands and you can find magnesium in a capsule, powder, liquid, or gummy form. The most important decision, though, is the type of magnesium supplement.

There are a handful of different types of magnesium, including magnesium glycinate, magnesium oxide, magnesium citrate, magnesium sulfate, and more. And, as with most things, the best one depends.

Magnesium Glycinate

Magnesium glycinate is often praised as the “gold standard” of magnesium supplement. Easily absorbed and gentle on your stomach, it has a calming effect that makes it a good supplement for PMS and insomnia. But if you’re looking for a laxative effect, it’s actually the worst type for keeping you regular.

Buy It: We like this powder from Thorne Research ($40) or these capsules from Pure Encapsulations ($20).

Magnesium Citrate

Magnesium citrate is one of the best options for relieving constipation without accidentally sending yourself running to the bathroom. It relaxes your bowels and pulls water into your intestines, which helps keep things moving.

Buy It: If you’re looking for magnesium citrate, try these supplement capsules from NOW FOODS ($17) or this magnesium citrate powder from Natural Calm ($23).

Magnesium Sulfate

Magnesium sulfate is also known as Epsom salt. It’s great for adding to the bath to soothe achey muscles or help you get some shuteye. But we don’t recommend taking magnesium sulfate orally. According to Cleveland Clinic, it has the potential to cause serious GI symptoms.

Buy It: Upgrade bath time with Dr. Teal’s foaming soap with lavender ($5).