Magnesium Cheap v Effective

Best Magnesium Supplements For Health Benefits

Have you tried taking a cheap over the counter magnesium supplement only to find it offered no noticeable health benefits or worse yet led to unfortunate side effects such as upset gut or diarrhea?

ANSWER: Choosing the best magnesium supplement for your health comes down to more than comparing prices.

First off, magnesium deficiency  is a common problem in New Zealand primarily caused by an increased use of fertilisers, poor diets and processed foods. This is concerning as it is an essential macrominerals that is recognised as a key factor in over 300 enzymatic reactions that support and sustain human health.

Further, there are many non-specific conditions such as loss of appetite, lethargy, nausea, vomiting, fatigue and weakness associated with magnesium deficiency. Therefore understanding which magnesium supplement is right for your symptoms needs to start with the type of magnesium. 

You may think there is only one or two forms of magnesium to consider however there are actually many different forms:

  • Aspartate

  • Bicarbonate

  • Carbonate

  • Chloride

  • Citrate

  • Gluconate

  • Hydroxide

  • Lactate

  • Malate

  • Orotate

  • Oxide

  • Taurate

  • Threonate

  • Trisilicate 

Now that you know there are many forms of magnesium, it probably doesn’t come as a surprise to learn that there are different health benefits and absorption rates which must be considered when selecting a magnesium supplement for health benefits. At this point it is also important to understand that these considerations are not necessarily just related to price.

Magnesium forms explained

To understand which magnesium form will function best for your health, it makes sense to go through some of the more common options available. Or if that all sounds far too much effort make sure you ask us which is the right one for you!


Magnesium Oxide

Let’s start with one of the most inexpensive and common forms of magnesium sold at pharmacies and grocery stores as a supplement. Magnesium oxide is often used as an antacid to relieve heartburn, sour stomach, or acid indigestion or as a laxative for short-term, rapid emptying of the bowel. Unfortunately, studies have shown this compound to have as low as a 4% absorption rate making it unsuitable as a dietary supplement. 


Magnesium Hydroxide

Magnesium hydroxide and magnesium oxide are typically considered interchangeable as  they're very similar in structure and in function. In fact, in the presence of water, magnesium oxide turns into magnesium hydroxide. As per the National Institutes of Health (NIH), “Magnesium Hydroxide is a solution of Magnesium Hydroxide with antacid and laxative properties.”


Magnesium Chloride

Is an inorganic compound consisting of one magnesium and two chloride ions. Due to the unstable nature of chloride it binds well with other elements, such as sodium and magnesium, to form salts. It is found naturally in seawater but is most readily harvested from the brine of salt lakes. It has a high absorption rate and is one of the most popular forms used for supplements on the market. It is great for detoxing and metabolism and kidney function. 


Magnesium sulfate

Better known as Epsom salts, this compound is frequently dissolved in a hot bath to soothe achy muscles, detox or relieve stress. While it is generally used externally, some use this form internally as a laxative. Interestingly, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine support the short-term (usually less than 48 hours) use of magnesium sulfate for the following conditions:

  • Prevention and treatment of seizures in women with preeclampsia or eclampsia.

  • Fetal neuroprotection before anticipated early preterm (less than 32 weeks of gestation) delivery.

  • Short-term prolongation of pregnancy (up to 48 hours) to allow for the administration of antenatal corticosteroids in pregnant women who are at risk of preterm delivery within 7 days.


Magnesium citrate

Is a form of magnesium that’s bound with citric acid and it naturally found in citrus fruits such as oranges, mandarins and lemons. Studies show that this type of magnesium is easily absorbed by the digestive tract when compared to other forms. Thus it is a recommended choice as a dietary supplement. Note due to its high bioavailability it can have a laxative effect when taken in high dosages.


Magnesium Orotate

Combined with orotic acid (formerly known as B13), this compound is a good supplement for cardiovascular health:

  • Heart palpitations

  • Irregular heartbeat

  • High blood pressure

These properties make it popular among athletes looking to take advantage of its natural support of tissue repair, enhanced stamina and performance attributes. 

It has a high absorption rate and also doesn’t cause the laxative effects present in other forms such as magnesium oxide.


Magnesium Aspartate

This type is combined with aspartic acid to form an easily absorbed supplement which has been shown to have a positive effect on fatigue and muscle hyper-excitability. Physiologically this makes sense as magnesium and aspartic acid play critical roles in cellular energy production 


Magnesium L-threonate

Hailed as a breakthrough in some quarters, this supplement is formed by mixing magnesium with threonic acid. It is especially beneficial for cognitive function including one study which found that dietary intake of magnesium L-threonate alleviates memory deficits induced by lead exposure in rats. 

This high absorption magnesium supplement is especially good for neurological issues, brain injuries, depression, anxiety, and PTSD.


So What Type of Magnesium Should You Choose?


Now that you know that there are a variety of magnesium supplements to choose from, now might be a good time to come down to Life Pharmacy Orewa where our qualified naturopath can put together a custom meal plan based on your unique situation and recommend the best possible magnesium supplements. 


We believe that with a healthy balanced diet, you may be able to enjoy magnesium benefits for your health. There are so many delicious, healthy foods that contain magnesium including leafy green vegetables, whole grains, nuts, salmon, avocados and bananas. However, the stats show that many of us probably do need some help getting our magnesium by taking a supplement. To learn more about the magnesium content available in different foods please download our brochure.


Download Magnesium food brochure

If you want specific advice tailored to your individual circumstances, including advising on the best magnesium supplement for health benefits please give our qualified Naturopath a call.

Book an appointment with our qualified Naturopath 

Phone: 09 4264087