The 16 Best Magnesium Supplements For Sleep, Bone Health, Energy & More*
Around 600 processes in the body rely on magnesium to run smoothly, making it one important mineral.
Magnesium plays a big role in energy production, bone development, and muscle contraction, and it's vital for brain, heart, muscle, and skeletal health (nearly 60% of our body's magnesium is stored in the bones and teeth!).*
The mineral is also a building block for life on earth, so we're surrounded by it at all times. It's in our water sources, the ground beneath our feet, and our vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, fruits, fish, and meat.
However, a large proportion of the population in Western countries doesn't get the recommended amount of magnesium from diet alone, due in part to dietary choices and also the way conventional agriculture strips soil (and therefore, food) of certain minerals.
Almost half (44%) of Americans don't get enough magnesium from their diet alone.
Taking a magnesium supplement is a helpful way to ensure you reach the recommended daily intake of magnesium—420 mg for men and 320 mg for women, about five servings of spinach or four servings of chia seeds —so that your body has one of the essential mineral tools it needs to function at its best.
However, not all magnesium supplements are created equal. Here's how to choose the right one for you.
Best picks for 2022:
- Best for sleep: mindbodygreen sleep support+
- Best magnesium oxide: NOW Foods Magnesium Oxide Powder
- Best magnesium citrate: Bulletproof Magnesium Citrate
- Best magnesium malate: Designs for Health Magnesium Malate
- Best magnesium glycinate: Pure Encapsulations Magnesium Glycinate
- Best liposomal magnesium: Mary Ruth Magnesium Calm Liposomal
- Best combo liquid: Solgar Liquid Calcium Magnesium Citrate with Vitamin D
- Best whole foods powder: Garden of Life Dr. Formulated Magnesium Raspberry Lemon Powder
- Best gummies: Nature Made High Absorption Magnesium Citrate Gummies
- Best magnesium + zinc combo: MagWell® Magnesium With Zinc & D3
- Best magnesium + calcium combo: Rainbow Light Magnesium Calcium+
- Best for cognitive function: Life Extension Neuro-Mag® Magnesium L-Threonate
- Best bone complex: Metagenics Bone Builder® with Magnesium
- Best mitochondrial health complex: Pure Encapsulations Mitochondria-ATP
- Best prenatal with magnesium: Nurish Prenatal + DHA
- Best for regularity & digestive function: Nature Made Magnesium Citrate
Types of magnesium in supplements
From glycinate to citrate, chloride to oxide, malate, and more, there are many types of magnesium supplements available.
Like all minerals, magnesium is delivered as a complex, paired with another compound that assists with delivery.
These secondary, helper organic compounds (e.g., glycine amino acid, citric acid, etc.) can also have health benefits of their own.*
Here are some common forms of magnesium found in supplements, and their benefits:
- Magnesium bisglycinate: The combination of magnesium and two glycine amino acids, magnesium bisglycinate (also sometimes called magnesium glycinate) is one of the most bioavailable forms of magnesium. The combination is easy for the body to absorb, making it gentle on the stomach and GI tract. There are some other forms of magnesium, which we'll cover below, that are taken specifically to get the bowels moving at high doses. This is not Mg glycinate's primary design (although all forms of magnesium support digestive motility to some degree). Instead, the amino acid glycine shows the most promise in helping promote high-quality sleep, making a nightly magnesium bisglycinate supplement a good choice for healthy magnesium levels and a more restful slumber.*
- Magnesium chloride: Magnesium chloride, a blend of magnesium and chlorine, can be extracted from brine or seawater. It has a relatively high bioavailability and is a solid supplement to take if you're just looking to boost your dietary intake of magnesium.*
- Magnesium citrate: A combination of magnesium oxide and citric acid, magnesium citrate can help promote healthy bowel movements.* Since it also has a relatively high bioavailability, it, too, can be used as a daily magnesium supplement in the right dose. This form of magnesium dissolves readily in water, making it a popular pick for magnesium powders and liquids.
- Magnesium oxide: The most common (and least expensive) form of magnesium, this one is formed by combining magnesium and oxygen ions. This simple form has a lower absorption rate and is most often taken to encourage bowel movements and act as a helpful buffer for other magnesium forms.*
- Magnesium malate: Together, magnesium and malic acid are relatively bioavailable and seem to stick around in the bloodstream for longer than some other forms of magnesium. There is also some anecdotal evidence magnesium malate can promote muscle comfort, but clinical results are mixed.*
- Magnesium sulfate: The magnesium and sulfate pairing can be used to replenish electrolytes and encourage bowel movements,* and it's often found in supplements and other remedies like Epsom salts. (Fun fact: The man who brought magnesium to Western medicine was said to be a farmer working in Epsom, England, who noticed that the salts in his well water had soothing effects on his cattle.) These days, many people take Epsom salt baths to soothe muscles, though there isn't much research to back this up.
Benefits of magnesium.
Since the body naturally uses magnesium for so many functions, getting enough magnesium on a daily basis can bring a slew of benefits. These are some of the best perks, but we cover the benefits of different types of magnesium in more detail here.
What to look for in a magnesium supplement
First and foremost, if you're taking a magnesium supplement regularly, you'll want to make sure it's gentle on the stomach.
Generally, the higher the bioavailability, the better for daily use. Finding a supplement that is enjoyable to take and comes in a format that you can easily work into your routine—be it a capsule, tablet, powder, or liquid—is also important.
Some magnesium supplements need to be taken with food, which is another thing to be aware of. Depending on the serving size, you may also end up needing to take three or four capsules daily for certain products, so read the label (i.e., Supplement Facts panel and suggested use instructions) closely.
In addition to absorption factors, you'll want to tailor your magnesium selection for the functional benefits you're seeking (i.e., support for sleep, dietary gap filling, muscle relaxation, etc.)*
You'll notice that the price point of magnesium supplements varies widely. While basic (stand-alone) magnesium supplements are relatively affordable, pricier ones will contain other nutrients or botanicals for a more well-rounded, functionally efficacious blend.
Pricier options will also boast cleaner excipient profiles and more sustainable packaging. Any premium supplement should feature high-quality, clean ingredients and ideally be free of GMOs, gluten, dairy, soy, and major food allergens whenever possible.
Purity is also a sign of quality, so look for a supplement that is free of binders, preservatives, and artificial colors or flavors.
Finally, unless otherwise specified by your doctor, you'll want to look for a supplement that falls near or below the tolerable upper intake level for supplemental magnesium, 350 mg, to minimize the potential for unwanted side effects that may occur in some individuals at higher levels. For clinical reasons (in partnership with your healthcare practitioner), higher doses may indeed be warranted.
The following supplements are the cream of the magnesium crop: They deliver science-backed doses of magnesium in convenient forms, without unnecessary fillers or additives.
Some innovative formulas also contain other active ingredients for added benefits like deeper sleep, sharper focus, and healthier bones.*
While the magnesium supplements identified below are appropriate (and safe) for children ages 9 and up, we are providing the recommended daily intakes of magnesium for all ages—infants, teens, and adults—for your ease of reference:
- Birth to 6 months: 30 mg/day
- 7 to 12 months: 75 mg/day
- 1 to 3 years: 80 mg/day
- 4 to 8 years: 130 mg/day
- 9 to 13 years: 240 mg/day
- 14 to 18 years: females: 360 mg/day; males: 410 mg/day
- 19 to 30 years: females: 310 mg/day; males: 400 mg/day
- 31 years and up: females 320 mg/day; males: 420 mg/day
If you are pregnant, lactating, or planning to be, we've rounded up the recommended daily intake of magnesium below:
- 19 to 30 years: pregnant: 350 mg/day; lactating: 310 mg/day
- 31 to 50 years: pregnant: 360 mg/day; lactating: 320 mg/day
Our favorite magnesium supplements
Best for sleep: mindbodygreen sleep support+
Best magnesium oxide: NOW Foods Magnesium Oxide Powder
Best magnesium citrate: Bulletproof Magnesium Citrate
Best magnesium malate: Designs for Health Magnesium Malate
Best magnesium glycinate: Pure Encapsulations Magnesium Glycinate
Best liposomal magnesium: Mary Ruth Magnesium Calm Liposomal
Best combo liquid: Solgar Liquid Calcium Magnesium Citrate with Vitamin D
Best whole foods powder: Garden of Life Dr. Formulated Magnesium Raspberry Lemon Powder
Best gummies: Nature Made High Absorption Magnesium Citrate Gummies
Best magnesium + zinc combo: MagWell® Magnesium With Zinc & D3
Best magnesium + calcium combo: Rainbow Light Magnesium Calcium+
Best for cognitive function: Life Extension Neuro-Mag® Magnesium L-Threonate
Best bone complex: Metagenics Bone Builder® with Magnesium
Best mitochondrial health complex: Pure Encapsulations Mitochondria-ATP
Best prenatal with magnesium: Nurish Prenatal + DHA
Best for regularity & digestive function: Nature Made Magnesium Citrate
Safety and potential side effects
Magnesium is an extremely safe (and essential!) mineral found in our diet and environment.
While every individual's nutrition needs and response are unique, the most common, potential side effects of magnesium supplements (particularly at higher doses, especially if you're not used to taking magnesium) are loose stools, upset stomach, and GI discomfort.
Taking a more gentle and bioavailable magnesium supplement helps avoid these unpleasantries. Starting low and going slow, building up to the best magnesium dose for you personally, can also help limit potential side effects.
Magnesium supplements have the potential to interfere with certain heart (e.g., blood pressure) medications and antibiotics, so you should always consult your doctor before adding a new supplement to your routine.
The bottom line
Magnesium is an essential mineral that many people don't get enough of from food alone. That's no surprise, since the daily requirements for this macromineral are quite high. Adding a high-quality supplement to your routine is one way to ensure that your body has adequate levels of magnesium each day.
Combine yours with a healthy, whole-food diet and for added assurance that you're giving your body the nutrients it needs.
Emma Loewe is the Senior Sustainability Editor at mindbodygreen and the author of Return to Nature: The New Science of How Natural Landscapes Restore Us. She is also the co-author of The Spirit Almanac: A Modern Guide To Ancient Self Care, which she wrote alongside Lindsay Kellner.
Emma received her B.A. in Environmental Science & Policy with a specialty in environmental communications from Duke University. In addition to penning over 1,000 articles on mbg, her work has appeared on Bloomberg News, Marie Claire, Bustle, and Forbes. She has covered everything from the water crisis in California to the rise of urban beekeeping to a group of doctors prescribing binaural beats for anxiety. She's spoken about the intersection of self-care and sustainability on podcasts and live events alongside environmental thought leaders like Marci Zaroff, Gay Browne, and Summer Rayne Oakes.