We select and review products independently. When you purchase through our links we may earn a commission. Learn more.

Should You Take a Magnesium Supplement?

Someone checking the 'No' box under the question, 'Are you getting enough magnesium?"
Yeexin Richelle/Shutterstock.com

You’ve probably noticed there’s an entire aisle devoted to supplements and vitamins at the grocery store now. One of the most popular is magnesium, which is marketed to help with digestion, nerve function, and sleep. But can it really do all (or any) of that, and do you need to take it?

Various supplements claim to help with everything from improving moods to weight loss. When it comes to magnesium, your body contains it naturally, but there are several reasons why you might not be getting enough of it. Let’s look at how you can find out if you have a magnesium deficiency and, if so, what you can do about it.

What Is Magnesium?

Magnesium is an important mineral that naturally occurs in the body. It plays a role in over 300 enzyme reactions, including protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, and the regulation of blood pressure.

Anyone who eats a well-balanced diet shouldn’t have a magnesium deficiency, but, of course, most of us aren’t doing that. The recommended daily intake varies by age and gender, but, generally, adults should consume anywhere from 360-420 milligrams per day.

Magnesium deficiencies are uncommon, but can lead to fatigue, muscle cramps, and abnormal heart rhythms. You can get more magnesium from certain foods, including nuts and seeds, dark green vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and many proteins.

While you might not have a magnesium deficiency, there’s a good chance you aren’t getting enough of this mineral if your diet involves a lot of processed foods with very little nutritional value. If you aren’t getting enough magnesium, you might experience muscle fatigue, depression, constipation, or insomnia.

Do You Need a Magnesium Supplement?

Pressmaster/Shutterstock.com

If you’ve been experiencing the symptoms we described above, you might want to talk to your physician about whether you should have a magnesium test. This simple blood test will let you know for sure if you have a deficiency. Your doctor will also be able to recommend how best to correct the problem.

If you go through this process and decide a magnesium supplement is a good idea, you’ll find that it comes in several forms. The most common are magnesium oxide, glycinate, and citrate.

Magnesium oxide will usually be the cheapest, as it’s absorbed the most poorly by the body. So, while you’ll save some money, you probably won’t reap many benefits from it. Magnesium glycinate and citrate, on the other hand, are both absorbed much better in the stomach and are still pretty affordable.

Warning: You should always check with your doctor before taking a new supplement, especially if you have any health conditions or are currently taking any medications.

Just shop around and compare prices. We’ll help you get started with a list of some of our favorite magnesium supplements.

Best Overall: BioEmblem Triple Magnesium Complex

A blue and black bottle of magnesium and a woman working out
BioEmblem

If you’re looking for a supplement that’s highly absorbable and comes from a reputable company, you can’t get much better than BioEmblem Triple Magnesium Complex. This product is made with a blend of magnesium citrate, glycinate, and malate, which are all easily absorbed by the body.

The magnesium is also chelated, which means it’s bound with certain natural compounds to help the body absorb it even better.

BioEmblem is registered by NSF International, which is a testing and inspection organization that monitors safety in the supplement industry. This means BioEmblem’s supplements are safer than many of the other options you’ll find on the market. Every product goes through several rounds of testing before being sold to consumers.

Best Overall

BioEmblem Triple Magnesium Complex

High-quality ingredients and highly absorbable magnesium.

Best Budget: NOW Supplements Magnesium Caps

Bottles of supplements
NOW

Highly absorbable magnesium can be pricey. One of the ways you can try out a new supplement without breaking the bank is to purchase a product that contains blended forms of magnesium.

NOW Supplements Magnesium Caps are made with magnesium oxide, citrate, and aspartate. While magnesium oxide isn’t absorbed very well by the body, citrate and aspartate are, which makes this a great option if you’re on a budget. It’s also highly rated on Amazon.

Best Budget

NOW Supplements Magnesium Caps

A mixture of several types of magnesium at an affordable price.

Best Powder: BulkSupplements.com

A bag of magnesium powder
BulkSupplements.com

Not everyone remembers to take (or enjoys taking) pills or capsules, which is why most supplements also come in powder form. Some folks might also want to gauge their tolerance for magnesium first, which also makes a powder ideal as you can try a smaller dose and increase it over time.

Whatever your reasons for preferring magnesium powder, BulkSupplements.com is an excellent company to get it from. This clean powder is made with magnesium citrate. It’s also unflavored, so you can add it to smoothies, yogurt, or a glass of water. It’s also produced in an FDA-compliant facility with third-party testing to verify the purity of the ingredients.

Best Powder

BulkSupplements.com Magnesium Citrate

The perfect addition to your morning smoothie or water bottle.

Best for Insomnia: Natural Vitality Calm Sleep

A canister of a magnesium supplement
Natural Vitality

Many people take magnesium because it makes them feel more relaxed, so they can get a better night’s sleep. If this is your primary goal, this powdered option from Natural Vitality is for you.

In addition to magnesium citrate, it contains a variety of other ingredients meant to help you catch more Z’s, including melatonin, L-theanine, and gamma-aminobutyric acid. It’s also flavored and can be added to a glass of water before bed.

Best for Insomnia

Natural Vitality Calm

Can help you get a better night's sleep.


Supplements are an easy way to boost the vitamins and minerals we just don’t get enough of from our diet. If you need to get more magnesium in your system, any of these reliable brands can help you get started. Just be sure to check in with your doc first!

Anne Taylor Anne Taylor
Anne Taylor is a writer with a BA in Journalism and a passion for storytelling. Her work has been published on a variety of websites including Mental Floss and Well + Good, and she recently published her first novel, What it Takes to Lose. When she's not writing, Anne loves to travel (19 countries and counting), spend time outside, and play with her dog, Pepper. Read Full Bio »
LifeSavvy is focused on a single goal: helping you make the most informed purchases possible. Want to know more?