The benefits of magnesium supplements are being hailed across TikTok right now. Users have posted a plethora of videos (103,000 magnesium posts and counting) about the nutrient and its benefits. But there are dozens of types of magnesium — selecting the right one for your needs might feel overwhelming.

Here are popular types of magnesium supplements and their benefits, side effects and more.

What is the magnesium trend about? A guide to magnesium supplements: benefits, drawbacks and more

Common types of magnesium and their benefits

Magnesium plays a role in more than 600 metabolic reactions and can treat migraines, depression, insomnia and other ailments, per the journal Physiology Reviews. Different types of magnesium boast unique benefits and side effects.

Here are common types of magnesium supplements and their benefits.

Magnesium oxide

Magnesium oxide is an inorganic salt that combines magnesium and oxygen. It is one of the most common types of magnesium found in supplements, per Health.

“This type isn’t typically used to prevent or treat magnesium deficiencies, as some studies report that it’s poorly absorbed by your digestive tract,” according to Healthline. “Instead, people use it more frequently to relieve uncomfortable digestive symptoms, such as heartburn, indigestion, and constipation. Some may also use it to treat and prevent migraine episodes.”

A 2021 study from the American Journal of Gastroenterology on people suffering from constipation found that magnesium oxide was as effective as a laxative in promoting bowel movements.

Benefits: Used to treat headaches, migraines and gastrointestinal symptoms such as constipation, heartburn and acid reflux.

Side effects: Diarrhea and cramping.

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Magnesium citrate

Magnesium citrate is naturally found in citrus fruits, giving them their tart flavor, per Healthline. It is commonly used in supplements and is easier for the body to absorb than other forms of magnesium, per Medical News Today.

“It’s commonly used in dietary supplements, including multivitamins, and is more bioavailable to the body compared to magnesium oxide and other forms of magnesium, such as magnesium sulfate,” according to Health.

Magnesium citrate is typically used to treat constipation because it softens stool, per Cleveland Clinic. It may help ease symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Benefits: Treats constipation, may ease symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Side effects: Loose or watery stools.

Magnesium glycinate

Magnesium glycinate may be easier for the body to tolerate than other magnesium supplements, reports the Mayo Clinic. It is less likely to cause gastrointestinal side effects — though still possible.

“Magnesium glycinate is one of the preferred magnesium supplements that may help with sleeplessness, tense muscles and anxiety,” Pam Hartnett, a registered dietitian, told Forbes.

Research shows magnesium glycinate may effectively treat depression. A study from the Journal of Medical Hypotheses found that taking a daily dose (100-300 milligrams) of magnesium glycinate rapidly improved symptoms of depression, including: irritability, sleeplessness, anxiety and agitation.

Benefits: Treats insomnia, tense muscles, anxiety and depression.

Side effects: Gastrointestinal irritation, diarrhea, vomiting and nausea.

Magnesium sulfate

Commonly known as Epsom salt, magnesium sulfate can be consumed in pill form to treat occasional constipation. It is typically dissolved in bathwater to treat achy muscles and relieve stress, per Healthline. It is sometimes put in lotions and can be absorbed well through the skin.

“Magnesium sulfate is used for short-term relief of constipation. It is also used as a soaking solution to relieve minor sprains, bruises, muscle aches or discomfort, joint stiffness or soreness, and tired feet,” according to the Mayo Clinic.

Benefits: Treats muscle aches, relieves stress, promotes relaxation, treats bruises or minor cuts and can ease constipation.

Side effects: If taken orally, can cause bloating or stomach cramps. When used as a soaking solution, can cause redness or irritation.

Other types of magnesium:

  • Magnesium L-threonate: Could boost brain function, benefit memory and protect against brain cell death and nerve damage, per Medical News Today. Can also treat restless leg syndrome. May cause diarrhea, nausea and cramping.
  • Magnesium malate: Typically used to treat fatigue and muscle weakness, per Forbes. Also benefits bone health, heart health and muscle function. May cause drowsiness, thirst or hypotension (low blood pressure).
  • Magnesium chloride: Research shows magnesium chloride may help treat high blood pressure, migraines, osteoporosis and Type 2 diabetes, per VeryWellHealth. May also benefit those with mental health disorders, including depression, according to a 2017 study. May cause gastrointestinal side effects.
  • Magnesium gluconate: Used to treat low blood magnesium levels, per the National Library of Medicine. May cause diarrhea or an upset stomach.
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Magnesium can also be found in food

If you want to increase your magnesium intake, eating magnesium-rich foods is a good place to start.

“Magnesium is easy to come by. If you eat a healthy, well-balanced diet, you should have no trouble getting your recommended daily amount through food alone,” according to UCLA Health. “Eating nuts, seeds and legumes is excellent way to increase your magnesium intake.”

Here are several magnesium-rich foods. Data is provided by the USDA.

  • Almonds: 247 milligrams (1 cup).
  • Peanuts: 245 milligrams (1 cup).
  • Chickpeas: 230 milligrams (1 cup).
  • Pumpkin seeds: 168 milligrams (1 cup).
  • Spinach, boiled: 157 milligrams (1 cup).
  • Black beans: 120 milligrams (1 cup).
  • Quinoa: 118 milligrams (1 cup).
  • Edamame: 99 milligrams (1 cup).
  • Black-eyed peas: 91 milligrams (1 cup).
  • Brown rice: 84 milligrams (1 cup).
  • Tofu: 74 milligrams (1 cup).
  • Chia seeds: 70 milligrams (1 tablespoon).
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Symptoms of a magnesium deficiency

True magnesium deficiency is rare. The majority of Americans get sufficient magnesium through their diet, according to Mount Sinai. Symptoms of a magnesium deficiency typically indicate an underlying health condition, such as: thyroid imbalance, gastrointestinal diseases, pancreatitis, kidney disease or diabetes.

“Certain people may be at greater risk of not getting adequate amounts. Conditions like Crohn’s and celiac disease can make it difficult for your body to properly absorb and process magnesium,” according to UCLA Health.

“If you have Type 2 diabetes, you might lose more magnesium in your urine than is typical. People with alcohol dependence and older adults are also often deficient in magnesium.”

According to Mount Sinai, symptoms of a magnesium deficiency include:

  • Anxiety.
  • Insomnia.
  • Restless leg syndrome.
  • Irritability.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Low blood pressure.
  • Muscle spasms.
  • Confusion.

How much magnesium should you get every day?

Healthy magnesium intake varies between individuals. Age and gender play a role in how much magnesium you need.

The Mayo Clinic recommends the following daily magnesium intakes:

  • Adult and teenage men: 270 to 400 milligrams.
  • Adult and teenage women: 280 to 300 milligrams.
  • Pregnant women: 320 milligrams.
  • Breast-feeding women: 340 to 355 milligrams.
  • Children ages 7-10: 170 milligrams.
  • Children ages 4-6: 120 milligrams.
  • Children 3 and younger: 40 to 80 milligrams.

For true magnesium deficiency, contact a physician to receive a prescription for supplements based on the severity of the deficiency.