Choosing the Best Form of Magnesium

Filed Under: Heart Health, Nutrients and Additives
Last Reviewed 04/17/2014

This past week, Dr. Sinatra and I were in California, where Dr. Sinatra addressed an audience of enthusiastic naturopathic doctors at a cardiology-focused conference sponsored by the California Naturopathic Doctors Association. There, the N.D.s posed a common magnesium question: What is the best form of magnesium for my patients? 

Not a surprising question, given that magnesium has been one of Dr. Sinatra’s cardiology mainstays for decades, and is one pillar in his “awesome foursome.” You see, magnesium is a critical mineral that’s needed for normal muscle function and scores of enzymatic reactions, including the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is your body’s basic cellular fuel. 

Conditions that Magnesium Supplements Are Good for

A low blood magnesium level is also the most common nutrient deficiencies we see. The mineral is often “used up” and thus depleted in patients with:

In fact, intravenous magnesium treatment has long been a mainstay for many cardiac emergency situations, from runaway arrhythmias and high blood pressure levels to acute heart attack—even the pre-eclampsia of pregnancy should blood pressure levels be skyrocketing out of control. 

Choosing the Best Form of Magnesium for You

Magnesium supplements come in so many different forms, the most common of which is magnesium oxide. The oxide form is used in many supplements, including multivitamins, because it’s just so darn easy to pack into a pill. Magnesium oxide acts most potently on the colon, igniting elimination, which makes it the magnesium of choice if you’re looking for a laxative effect. To give you a common reference, your mother or grandmother probably took Milk of Magnesia for constipation, as it provides a potent dollop of magnesium oxide. 

However, despite its great cleansing affect, magnesium oxide is not very bioavailable when it comes to the rest of the body. Very little magnesium is absorbed for utilization, which is an important fact if you are looking for lowering blood pressure levels, or using this mighty molecule to treat other cardiovascular problems.  

The best way to ensure that your whole body enjoys the benefits of magnesium supplements is to take a variety of forms, specifically glycinate, orotate, citrate and taurinate. All four are all well-absorbed and work synergistically, meaning they are most effective when taken together. 

Dr. Sinatra and I personally take a broad-spectrum magnesium (along with the other “awesome foursome” pillars—D-ribose, L-carnitine and coenzyme Q10—whenever we exercise, whether it be with a personal trainer, a Pilates or yoga class or our daily brisk walk.
If you want more details on the best form of magnesium, visit Dr. Sinatra’s website or even check out The Magnesium Miracle by Carolyn Dean, M.D., ND. She is one of Dr. Sinatra’s Top 50 Docs, and I highly recommend her book.

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DISCLAIMER: The content of is offered on an informational basis only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the guidance of a qualified health provider before making any adjustment to a medication or treatment you are currently using, and/or starting any new medication or treatment. All recommendations are "generally informational" and not specifically applicable to any individual's medical problems, concerns and/or needs.

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