sources of magnesium

5 of the best forms of magnesium

Magnesium is certainly a hard-working mineral. But what are the best forms of magnesium? And why might you need more of it.

Did you know magnesium has a role in more than 300 chemical reactions around your body?1 Magnesium is involved in many aspects of our wellness. It’s also abundantly available in everything from magnesium oils to magnesium bath salts and sprays. Here we explain the best forms of magnesium and why you might need more of it.

How to get more magnesium?

There are two main ways that you can experience the benefits of magnesium.

  • Ingest it as a food or a supplement. The mineral is then absorbed through your digestive system.

  • Apply it directly to your skin. Magnesium bypasses the digestive system (where some types can be hard to absorb) and instead it reaches your blood and muscles via your epidermis.

The best forms of magnesium for you will depend on what benefits you’re looking for. Here are five sources of the mineral.

5 of the best forms of magnesium

  1. Magnesium in food

Your diet can be a great source of magnesium. Foods that are rich in magnesium include:2
  • Legumes (e.g. edamame and black beans)
  • Nuts (e.g. almonds, cashews and peanuts)
  • Seeds
  • Whole grains (e.g. wholemeal bread, brown rice and quinoa)
  • Green leafy vegetables (e.g. spinach)
  • Fortified breakfast cereals (and other fortified foods)
  • Milk, yoghurt, and other milk products

Key benefit: It’s possible to get all the recommended magnesium you need by eating a balanced diet.

  1. Magnesium supplements

Magnesium is available in multivitamin supplements or on its own.

Key benefit: Some people are at increased risk of magnesium deficiency, even if they eat a healthy, well-balanced diet. If this is the case for you, supplements may help.

  1. Magnesium flakes and soaks

Add magnesium flakes or salts to a foot or body bath.  As well as replenishing mineral levels, soaking in magnesium can be particularly helpful.

Key benefit: Due to delivering a relatively low concentration of magnesium, flakes and soaks are suitable for most people and offer a more relaxing way to top up on minerals.

  1. Magnesium gels and lotions

When combined with moisturising ingredients, magnesium lotions and gels are a great option for the skin.

Key benefit: A gel or lotion can be applied directly to the area of your choosing.

  1. Magnesium oil spray

A spray can deliver a high dose of magnesium directly through the skin that may provide a host of benefits.

Key benefit: A spray delivers magnesium directly into the skin tissue, so magnesium can get to work faster.

Why is magnesium important?

So, why do you need a magnesium oil spray or a long soak in a tub filled with magnesium bath salts? What exactly does it do? Nerves use magnesium to send and receive messages. Your muscles need it to function normally and it contributes to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue... Magnesium has a role in everything from hormone balance to bone health.

Given the wide range of bodily processes that magnesium supports, it’s no surprise that it’s needed in the body in large amounts.

Are you getting enough magnesium?

It can be hard to recognise if you need to boost your intake of this mineral, because getting too little magnesium often doesn’t cause noticeable symptoms. However, certain groups can be more prone than others to magnesium deficiency.3

But how much magnesium do you need?

Here are the current recommendations for magnesium.

Age Male (mg/day)4 Female (mg/day)5
1-3 85 85
4-6 120 120
7-10 200 200
11-14 280 280
15-18 300 300
19+ 300 270


Common types of magnesium

The type of magnesium used in a product is important when you’re considering the best forms of magnesium for you. This is because magnesium doesn’t exist by itself – it’s always attached to another substance.

For example, when it combines with oxygen, magnesium oxide forms. And magnesium citrate is the result of magnesium binding with citric acid. All of these different combinations affect how well your body absorbs magnesium and how it works.

Here are a few examples:6
  • Magnesium citrate
  • Magnesium oxide
  • Magnesium glycinate
  • Magnesium malate
  • Magnesium sulphate
  • Magnesium chloride

Summary: What are the best forms of magnesium?

With so many options available to replenish your magnesium levels, it’s an incredibly flexible mineral.. Some are absorbed in the gut easily making them better for replenishing your mineral levels, whilst other compounds work best in topical treatments.. To identify the best forms of magnesium for you, consider what you’re using it for.

Last updated: 22 July 2020

MagnesiumMineralsVitamins & Supplements