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Navigating the Various Forms of Magnesium and Recommended Dosages

Zoe Baker, PharmD.

Magnesium, often referred to as the "miracle mineral," plays a vital role in maintaining overall health and wellness. From supporting energy production to promoting muscle relaxation and cardiovascular health, magnesium is involved in numerous physiological processes. However, not all magnesium supplements are created equal. Magnesium is an essential mineral (meaning that your body does not produce it on its own, so you need to get it from outside sources).

Magnesium is also involved in over 300 metabolic reactions, including muscle contraction, nerve signal transmission, and energy production. Magnesium deficiency is a common problem among adults, with estimates suggesting that nearly half of adult men and women in the US aren’t getting enough.

You can find magnesium in a wide variety of whole foods sources such as:

  • Dairy products

  • Dark chocolate

  • Leafy greens

  • Meats

  • Nuts and Seeds (sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, cashews, and almonds)

  • Whole grains

But you may not be meeting your needs adequately from food alone, which is where a supplement could come into play to ensure you’re giving your body what it needs to thrive. In this blog post, we'll delve into the different forms of magnesium and provide insights on recommended dosages from the perspective of a functional medicine practitioner.

  • Magnesium Citrate: A Gentle Choice for Bowel Regularity and Migraine Prevention

Magnesium citrate is a well-known form appreciated for its gentle yet effective impact on maintaining healthy bowel movements. It's easily absorbed by the body and can support digestion by promoting regularity. As a functional medicine practitioner, I often recommend magnesium citrate to individuals struggling with constipation. The recommended daily dosage typically ranges from 200 to 400 mg, taken in divided doses. For individuals seeking magnesium supplementation to help manage migraines, magnesium citrate is known for its effectiveness in promoting relaxation and easing muscle tension. It can help relax blood vessels and reduce constriction, which might contribute to migraine headaches.

  • Magnesium Glycinate: Calm Your Nerves and Muscles

If you're seeking relaxation and a peaceful night's sleep, magnesium glycinate might be your best companion. This form of magnesium is bound to the amino acid glycine, which possesses calming properties that can ease muscle tension and promote a sense of tranquility. From a functional medicine perspective, magnesium glycinate is often suggested to individuals experiencing anxiety or muscle cramps. A daily dosage of 200 to 400 mg is commonly recommended, preferably in the evening.

  • Magnesium Malate: Combat Fatigue and Boost Energy

For those battling fatigue and looking to boost their energy levels, magnesium malate can be an excellent choice. This form is beneficial in supporting cellular energy production, making it particularly valuable for individuals with chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia. As a functional medicine practitioner, I often advise a daily dosage of 300 to 600 mg, divided throughout the day, to help enhance energy levels and overall vitality.

  • Magnesium Threonate: Nourish Your Brain

When focusing on brain health and cognitive function, magnesium threonate stands out. This unique form has the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier, delivering magnesium directly to brain cells. It's believed to support memory, learning, and overall cognitive health. From a functional medicine standpoint, a daily dosage of around 150 to 200 mg is typically recommended for those seeking cognitive support.

  • Magnesium Orotate: Support Heart Health

Magnesium orotate is often associated with cardiovascular health due to its potential benefits in supporting heart function. This form is believed to enhance energy production within heart cells and aid in maintaining proper heart rhythm. Individuals concerned about heart health might consider a daily dosage of 200 to 400 mg of magnesium orotate, as advised by functional medicine practitioners.

  • Magnesium Oxide: Cost-Effective but Consider Absorption

Magnesium oxide is a common and cost-effective form of magnesium found in many over-the-counter supplements. However, its bioavailability and absorption rate can be lower compared to other forms, which might impact its effectiveness. While it can still provide benefits, it's essential to consider its absorption limitations. From a functional medicine perspective, if you choose magnesium oxide, a slightly higher daily dosage might be required to compensate for lower absorption rates. Dosages of around 400 to 800 mg are often recommended, preferably taken with meals to enhance absorption.

  • Magnesium Gluconate: Mild and Gentle Support

Magnesium gluconate is known for its gentle nature and mild impact on the digestive system. It's suitable for individuals with sensitive stomachs who may experience discomfort with other forms of magnesium. While not as commonly recommended as some other forms, magnesium gluconate can still provide valuable benefits, especially when aiming for general magnesium supplementation. From a functional medicine standpoint, a daily dosage of around 200 to 400 mg is typically suggested.


Incorporating magnesium supplementation into your wellness routine can provide a wide array of benefits, but choosing the right form and dosage is crucial. As a functional medicine practitioner, I emphasize the importance of personalized recommendations based on an individual's specific health needs and goals. Whether you're looking to improve digestion, ease muscle tension, boost energy, enhance cognitive function, or support heart health, there's a suitable magnesium form and dosage for you. Before making any changes to your supplementation, I recommend consulting with a healthcare professional to ensure that your choices align with your unique health profile.

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