How to Choose the Best Magnesium Supplement for You


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Mineral pill capsule Magnesium Mg

Magnesium is a vital mineral needed to support the health of bones, teeth, and muscles (including the heart), as well as for sleep and a healthy stress response. Despite its importance, many of us don’t get enough magnesium to support optimal health. According to Statistics Canada, more than one-third of Canadians over the age of 19 do not consume enough magnesium in their diet to meet the Estimated Average Requirement. [1]

Magnesium supplements are a convenient way to ensure a good daily intake of this vital mineral but choosing the best magnesium supplement can be confusing.

Here’s the lowdown on why we need magnesium, and which forms are best for sleep, stress, bones, and muscle health:

Table of Contents

What is Magnesium, and Why Do We Need It?

Magnesium is a mineral that is crucial to the body’s function as it is a cofactor for more than 300 enzymes. It is essential for producing adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the body’s main fuel source. It is also sometimes referred to as the “anti-stress mineral” because we need more magnesium during stress, which helps us relax.

Magnesium is a busy mineral in the body. It is an essential electrolyte, and some of its key roles include the following:

  • Muscle contraction and relaxation
  • Nerve function and neurotransmitter metabolism
  • Energy production
  • Helps in bone formation by playing a role in vitamin D activation and calcium absorption
  • Supports the activity of B vitamins
  • Supports the metabolism of nutrients
  • Blood pressure regulation
  • Blood sugar regulation

How Much Magnesium Do We Need?

Magnesium needs vary, depending on age, sex, whether you’re pregnant or nursing an infant, and other factors, such as body size and activity. Needs can also differ for people taking certain medications that deplete or affect magnesium absorption by the body. [2] Similarly, anyone with a digestive issue affecting nutrient absorption may need more magnesium than average.

In general, though, the recommended daily allowance for magnesium is provided below:

Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for Magnesium [3]
Men aged 19–30 400 mg
Men over the age of 30 420 mg
Women aged 19–30 310 mg
Women over the age of 30  320 mg
Pregnant individuals aged 19–30 350 mg
Pregnant individuals aged 30 or over  360 mg
Anyone aged 19–30 nursing an infant 310 mg
Anyone aged 30 or older nursing an infant 320 mg

Magnesium Deficiency

The risk of magnesium deficiency is higher for:

  • Type 2 diabetics
  • Individuals who consume a diet high in processed foods, as these tend to be devoid of magnesium
  • Individuals who take medications that increase urinary magnesium loss – such as thiazide or loop diuretics for blood pressure
  • Individuals who use proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) to reduce stomach acid
  • Individuals with gastrointestinal conditions that decrease absorption or increase loss of magnesium, such as Celiac disease and Crohn’s disease
  • Individuals with alcoholic use disorder

Signs and Symptoms of Low Magnesium Levels :

  • Headaches
  • Premenstrual discomforts
  • Muscle tension, cramping, or twitchy eyelids
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Stiffness
  • Weakness

Food Sources of Magnesium

High-fibre foods are often good sources of magnesium. Some key dietary sources of magnesium include:

  • Legumes
  • Whole grains
  • Broccoli
  • Squash
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Seeds and nuts (especially pumpkin seeds and almonds)
  • Dairy products and meat
  • Dark chocolate
  • Avocadoes
  • Coffee

How to Choose a Magnesium Supplement


With all the different magnesium supplements to choose from, which form should we take? Let’s look at the most popular yet different forms of magnesium and which may be suitable for your goals. To ensure that supplementation is right for you, always speak to your health care practitioner.

Types of Magnesium

1. Magnesium oxide

Magnesium oxide is the most affordable form of magnesium; however, it has poor bioavailability (absorbs poorly). Therefore, you may need to take a higher dose. Since you may have to increase the dose to see results, it is more likely you may experience a laxative effect.

2. Magnesium citrate

Magnesium citrate is bound to citric acid and is one of the most bioavailable, which means it has a higher absorption rate than other forms of magnesium.

3. Magnesium glycerophosphate

Magnesium is attached to glycerol and phosphoric acid (i.e., phosphate). It is highly bioavailable, with minimal disruption to the gastrointestinal system.

4. Magnesium bisglycinate

Magnesium glycinate is bound with glycine, a non-essential amino acid, and is one of the most bioavailable and absorbable forms of magnesium and the least likely to induce diarrhea. Magnesium bisglycinate has a calming effect on the body and brain and can help promote a healthy circadian rhythm. [4]

5. Magnesium bound to Kreb’s cycle intermediates (malate, fumarate, succinate, and citrate) has high bioavailability and is able to directly improve the body's ability to produce energy and has been shown to combat fatigue and relax muscles.

How Much Elemental Magnesium is Present?

Something else to consider when choosing a magnesium supplement is the quantity of elemental magnesium present. For example, two tablets containing different forms of magnesium, but both weighing 300 mg, may, for instance, provide 150 mg of elemental magnesium or just 50 mg of elemental magnesium. You need to look for the elemental amount to see if you’re meeting your required daily intake.

Tip: Read the entire product label to see how much elemental magnesium is present per dose. On Webber Naturals products, the total magnesium on the label is the elemental amount.

Magnesium Products by Webber Naturals

Product Ingredients Suitable for
Magnesium Citrate
150 mg magnesium citrate capsule • Anyone with low stomach acid or who has trouble with nutrient absorption
• Migraines
Magnesium Citrate Powder
300 mg of magnesium citrate per 3.3 g powder (one 5 cc level scoop) • Adults who have difficulty swallowing tablets or capsules
• Individuals who want to mix magnesium into a sports drink for convenience
• Anyone with low stomach acid or who has trouble with nutrient absorption
• Migraines
Magnesium 250 mg
250 mg magnesium caplet (oxide, malate, glycerophosphate) • Anyone who has trouble swallowing larger tablets
• Anyone with low stomach acid or who has trouble with nutrient absorption
Magnesium Enhanced Absorption 500 mg 500 mg magnesium (as magnesium oxide, malate, glycerophosphate)  • Anyone needing a higher dose of magnesium
• Anyone with low stomach acid or who has trouble with nutrient absorption
Magnesium Bisyglycinate
200 mg of magnesium bisglycinate • Anyone with low stomach acid or who has trouble with nutrient absorption
• Adults who tend to experience digestive upset with other forms of magnesium
• Stress
• Calming
Calcium Magnesium Vitamin D3, 2:1 Ratio, Enhanced Absorption 
333 mg of calcium (carbonate, citrate, fumarate, malate, and succinate)
167 mg of magnesium (oxide, citrate, fumarate, malate, and succinate)
200 IU of vitamin D3 
• Anyone with low stomach acid or who has trouble with nutrient absorption
• Individuals who lack sufficient vitamin D for good health
Calcium Magnesium Zinc, Krebs Cycle, Easy Absorption
333 mg of calcium (carbonate, citrate, fumarate, malate, and succinate)
166.66 mg of magnesium (oxide, citrate, fumarate, malate, and succinate)
 16.66 mg of zinc gluconate
• Anyone looking for mineral support for bones
• Individuals who are confident in their vitamin D intake from other sources
• Anyone with low stomach acid or who has trouble with nutrient absorption
Melatonin Magnesium
150 mg of magnesium (citrate, fumarate, oxide, succinate, malate)   3 mg of melatonin (non-animal source) Tablets • Anyone who has trouble falling asleep and staying asleep
Melatonin and Magnesium
150 mg of magnesium (citrate, fumarate, oxide, succinate, malate)10 mg of melatonin (non-animal source) Tablets • Anyone who has trouble falling asleep and staying asleep
Melatonin and Magnesium
150 mg of magnesium (citrate) 3 mg of melatonin (non-animal source)
Chewable Tablets • Anyone who has trouble falling asleep and staying asleep
• Supports muscle and general relaxation
• Chewable tablets with a natural chocolate flavour

Magnesium and Friends

Magnesium plays a crucial role in enabling your body to absorb minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and sodium and vitamins such as vitamin D. Therefore, supplementing magnesium alongside these nutrients is often a good idea.

For example, magnesium is an essential partner for calcium. While a ratio of 2:1 calcium to magnesium is often recommended for these two key minerals, the ratio in bone is closer to 1:1, which is why you’re more likely to see equal amounts of calcium and magnesium in bone-building formulas.

Final Thoughts on the Best Type of Magnesium to Take

From dose to form to format, we hope the information shared here provides a clearer picture on the variety and benefits of the various magnesium supplements available to choose from to fit your own needs. 

This may require some experimenting on your part to see which magnesium will suit best your needs, but as it is a relatively inexpensive mineral, it won’t break the bank!

Leigh Matthews, BA Hons, H.Dip. NT

Leigh Matthews, BA Hons, H.Dip. NT

A health and wellness writer specializing in plant-based nutrition and environmental health.

References :
  1. Statistics Canada. Accessed December 2022.
  2. Gröber U. Magnesium and Drugs. International journal of molecular sciences. 2019; 20(9), 2094.
  3. Health Canada. Dietary Reference Intakes. (2005). Available:
  4. Kawai N, Sakai N, Okuro M, et al. The sleep-promoting and hypothermic effects of glycine are mediated by NMDA receptors in the suprachiasmatic nucleus. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2015; 40(6):1405-16.
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