Best Magnesium Supplements
If you have trouble sleeping, you might have heard that magnesium supplements can help. Magnesium is a nutrient involved in over 300 different bodily processes, and some believe it may play a role in supporting sleep. Although many people get enough magnesium through a nutritious diet, some turn to supplements as a way to make sure they get enough every day. Supplements can also be a good choice for people with certain health conditions that affect the way their body processes magnesium.
Your doctor can help you determine whether magnesium supplements are right for you. If you decide to take magnesium supplements, you can choose among different types of supplements and the type of magnesium salts used in the supplement.
Finding the best magnesium supplements for you is easier when you know all the essential details, including the supplement types available, which magnesium salts are easily absorbed by the body, and the possible side effects of taking magnesium.
Top Picks Overview
Our Top Picks of 2021
Som Sleep OriginalBest Overall
- Vegan, gluten-free, GMO-free, and free from artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives
- Contains melatonin and other ingredients designed to promote healthy sleep
- Manufactured in the U.S.
Som Sleep is a non-carbonated, berry-flavored drink fortified with 40 milligrams of magnesium citrate, as well as other ingredients that are thought to support relaxation and healthy sleep. The manufacturer recommends drinking one 8.1-ounce can each night, 30 minutes before you head to bed. The drink has 40 calories and contains sugar, though a sugar-free version with 10 calories is also available.
Since Som Sleep only offers 10% of the daily recommended intake of magnesium, it may be a compelling option for people with magnesium-rich diets who are most interested in trying magnesium supplements for sleep. It also contains vitamin B6 and natural ingredients such as L-theanine, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), and melatonin that are designed to promote calmness and enhance sleep.
The manufacturer states that Som Sleep is not habit-forming and is safe for nightly use. Som Sleep should not be consumed with alcohol, or used by those who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Packs of 12 or 24 cans can be bought as a one-time purchase, or as a discounted subscription service every 30, 45, or 60 days.
Nurish by NatureMade Magnesium CitrateBest Softgel
- Easy-to-swallow softgel
- One-time, subscription, and supplement pack subscription options
- Purity and potency verified by the United States Pharmacopeia (USP)
The magnesium citrate supplements from Nurish by NatureMade offer 125 milligrams of magnesium in an easy-to-swallow softgel. They can be purchased individually, either as a one-time purchase or as part of a discounted prescription plan.
Some people find that they respond better to magnesium citrate than other magnesium salts. This magnesium salt is generally easier to absorb, though the amount of magnesium per pill is smaller. People who need more magnesium may prefer a more potent supplement.
Nurish by NatureMade suggests taking one softgel daily together with water and a meal. The softgels are gluten-free and free from artificial colors or flavors, but they are not vegan-friendly as they contain gelatin. Individuals with kidney disease or who take other medications should speak to their healthcare provider before taking these supplements for the first time.
MindBodyGreen Sleep Support+Best for Relaxation
- Contains jujube and GABA, both of which may aid relaxation and sleep quality
- Free of preservatives, artificial colors and flavors, and most allergens
- 30-day money-back guarantee
A two-capsule serving of Sleep Support+ by MindBodyGreen contains 120 milligrams of magnesium bisglycinate, a magnesium salt that combines magnesium with the amino acid glycine. Glycine can also be taken alone to improve sleep quality, and magnesium bisglycinate may be a good choice for people using magnesium supplements to sleep better.
A two-capsule serving of Sleep Support+ also contains 100 milligrams of the neurotransmitter GABA and 225 milligrams of jujube, a fruit popular in traditional Chinese medicine that is believed to promote relaxation and sleep. Together with magnesium, these ingredients are intended to encourage mental and physical relaxation.
MindBodyGreen suggests taking two capsules 1 to 2 hours before bed. It may take up to 2 weeks to see an effect, and MindBodyGreen recommends taking Sleep Support+ daily for the best effect. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should speak to their doctor before taking this supplement. The capsules are free from GMOs, binders and preservatives, artificial colors and flavors, and artificial sweeteners. Customers can purchase a one-time 30-day supply or subscribe at a discounted rate. MindBodyGreen offers a 30-day money back guarantee on its supplements.
Life Extension Magnesium CapsBest Value
- Gluten-free and free of GMOs
- Contains three different kinds of magnesium salts
- One capsule contains 500 milligrams of magnesium
High-dosage magnesium capsules may be suitable for some people with magnesium deficiencies. Each magnesium capsule from Life Extension offers 500 milligrams of magnesium. This makes them an appealing choice for people looking for a cost-effective solution to their magnesium needs.
Life Extension’s capsules combine three forms of magnesium: magnesium oxide, magnesium citrate, and magnesium succinate. Both magnesium citrate and magnesium succinate are thought to absorb easily, while magnesium oxide is less soluble in water but contains a higher concentration of magnesium.
Life Extension Magnesium Caps are vegetarian and free of GMOs and gluten. Life Extension recommends taking one to three capsules daily, at any time of day. Due to the high magnesium levels, speaking to a doctor before use is particularly important, especially if you are pregnant or nursing. High levels of magnesium can cause gastrointestinal side effects. If this occurs, your doctor may recommend taking a lower-dose supplement or dividing the high amount between more than one serving.
Bulletproof Zen ModeBest for Stress Relief
- Contains 125 milligrams of magnesium citrate in addition to vitamin B6, L-theanine, 5-HTP, and GABA
- Herbal blend designed to reduce stress and improve mood and focus
- Discounted subscription service available
Shoppers looking to combine their magnesium with herbal supplements may be interested in Zen Mode from Bulletproof. A three-capsule serving offers 125 milligrams of magnesium in the form of the highly soluble trimagnesium citrate anhydrous. It also includes vitamin B6, along with substances such as L-theanine, 5-HTP, and GABA.
Bulletproof includes 406 milligrams of its proprietary Zen Mode herbal blend. Inspired by traditional medicines from around the world, this blend includes holy basil, ashwagandha, saffron, and kanna.
Bulletproof suggests that customers can take three capsules of Zen Mode once a day, or on an occasional basis as needed. The company states that the product is not habit-forming, but some people experience nausea the first time they take the product. Consuming a meal and a glass of water along with the capsules may protect against discomfort. A 15-day supply of Zen Mode can be purchased individually or at a discount with a subscription plan. Zen Mode is vegan-friendly and free from GMOs, soy, and gluten.
Barefoot Scientist Dream StateBest Spray
- Magnesium spray intended for use on the feet
- Contains magnesium chloride extracted from the the Zechstein seabeds
- Vegan spray that also features ashwagandha root extract
For those who prefer not to take pills at night, Barefoot Scientist offers a spray-on magnesium supplement for use on the feet. The Barefoot Scientist Dream State contains magnesium chloride sourced from the Zechstein seabeds.
The spray also contains ashwagandha, thought to relieve stress. Additional components include an amino acid named sarcosine that helps mineral absorption, and mineral aspartates said to contribute to wellbeing. Barefoot Scientist has also incorporated allantoin, a plant extract designed to make the spray more gentle for the skin.
This product is vegan and Barefoot Scientist stands against animal testing. Each spritz of Dream Slate contains 105.6 milligrams of magnesium. The company recommends spraying once or twice on the sole of each foot and then rubbing it in at bedtime. Some people may experience mild tingling or stinging when applying magnesium to the skin.
What Are Magnesium Supplements?
Magnesium is an important dietary mineral that has recently gained attention for its role in sleep and relaxation. While magnesium is commonly available in food like almonds and spinach, there is evidence that supplemental magnesium may help people sleep easier. Magnesium supplements contain a set amount of magnesium and are usually intended for daily use, though it is important to consult with your doctor before taking any new supplements.
There is a wide range of magnesium supplements to choose from, which can make the buying process confusing. Capsules and softgels are the most common and often the least expensive. Other formats include drinks, injections, mouth sprays, and topical products that can be applied to the skin.
In addition to the format, shoppers must also choose among different types of magnesium. There are many types of magnesium salts, all of which contain magnesium but behave differently within the body. The salts that dissolve easily and are therefore most effectively absorbed by the body include magnesium aspartate, citrate, lactate, chloride, and bisglycinate. Magnesium oxide and sulfate are not absorbed as easily.
What Precautions Should You Take Before Using Magnesium Supplements?
Consult a Doctor
Although magnesium is a normal and essential part of your diet, magnesium supplements are processed differently, and it is important to speak with your doctor before taking magnesium supplements. They can advise you on how the supplements may interact with any health conditions you may have or the medication you take.
Know When to Take Magnesium Supplements
Doctors may recommend magnesium supplements for people with low magnesium levels. However, many people decide to supplement with magnesium without having a diagnosed deficiency. Most of the magnesium in your body is found in bone and soft tissue, making it difficult for a blood test to determine magnesium levels accurately.
If you have symptoms of low magnesium — including muscle cramps or spasms, fatigue, muscle weakness, and numbness — it may be worth speaking to your doctor about whether magnesium supplements might help.
Know When NOT to Take Magnesium Supplements
Magnesium can change or decrease the rate at which your body absorbs medications such as antibiotics and bisphosphonates. Your doctor may advise you to take magnesium supplements a number of hours before or after your other medication. Conversely, they may decide that magnesium supplements aren’t right for you.
Your doctor may also suggest you avoid magnesium supplements if you are already taking a medication that contains magnesium, such as laxatives or antacids.
Avoid Use With Alcohol
One of the reasons chronic alcoholism is associated with magnesium deficiency is because alcohol causes the kidneys to expel more magnesium in the urine. Drinking alcohol while you are taking magnesium supplements may limit their effectiveness.
If Pregnant Or Breastfeeding, Consult Your Doctor
People who are pregnant or breastfeeding require slightly more magnesium than they would otherwise. There is some evidence that magnesium supplements can be helpful during pregnancy, but you should always speak to your doctor before beginning any supplements during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Your doctor may recommend supplements, or they may suggest that you increase your dietary magnesium intake.
If You Plan on Taking Magnesium Supplements Long-Term, Consult Your Doctor
It is particularly important to consult your doctor if you plan to continue taking the supplements over the long term. Underlying health conditions such as kidney disease or very slow digestion can change the way you absorb or process magnesium, which can cause excessive magnesium to build up in your body over time.
Why Take Magnesium Supplements?
Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in your body, playing a role in bodily processes that range from structural bone development to maintaining blood pressure and a normal heart rhythm. Although it may not have such immediate effects as some other sleep-inducing foods, magnesium may potentially help you sleep better, and magnesium supplements may support your health in a number of other ways.
|Help induce sleep|
|As a laxative|
|May help indigestion|
|May help with heartburn|
|May improve mood|
|May reduce blood pressure|
Common Dietary Sources of Magnesium
Some people prefer to increase their magnesium levels by eating food that is high in magnesium. Many magnesium-rich foods are also healthy in other ways, and the magnesium in food is easy for the body to process.
Depending on their age, most men require between 400 and 420 milligrams of magnesium daily, while women need 310 to 320 milligrams. Teenagers and pregnant people have higher magnesium needs.
|Nuts||Almonds are a rich source of magnesium, with one ounce providing approximately 80 milligrams of magnesium. Raw cashews offer 83 milligrams of magnesium per ounce, while peanuts provide 48 milligrams per ounce. Nut butter is also a source of magnesium, with a tablespoon of smooth peanut butter weighing in at around 25 milligrams of magnesium.|
|Grains & Seeds||Pumpkin seeds are one of the best snack sources of dietary magnesium, offering 156 milligrams per ounce. An ounce of chia seeds can provide 95 milligrams per ounce. Some minimally processed grains also have high magnesium levels, like the 84 milligrams in a cup of cooked brown rice. The same amount of white rice has 68 milligrams.|
|Beans||Almost all beans have high magnesium levels, but different beans and preparations have different amounts. Cooked lima beans, for example, have 126 milligrams per cup, but the same amount of roasted soybeans offers a full 249 milligrams. On the other hand, cooked kidney beans have 85 milligrams per cup, though this still makes them a good source.|
|Leafy Vegetables||A cup of cooked spinach has 157 milligrams of magnesium, almost 40% of the recommended daily intake for an adult man. Swiss chard has similar levels at 150 milligrams, but not all leafy vegetables are as rich in magnesium. A cup of cooked collard greens has 40 milligrams, and a cup of raw scotch kale contains 59 milligrams.|
|Dairy (Milk & Yogurt)||One cup of milk has between 24 and 27 milligrams of magnesium, while a cup of yogurt offers approximately 40 milligrams depending on the type. Soy milk typically has 39 milligrams per cup.|
|Fish||Some types of fish are rich in magnesium. Three ounces of cooked chinook salmon, for example, provides 104 milligrams. Cooked mackerel (85 milligrams), pollock (73 milligrams), and bass (63 milligrams) are also good sources of magnesium.|
|Fortified Foods||Some food manufacturers fortify their products with extra magnesium. The amount added varies between products and brands, so checking the nutritional labels can help you find the most magnesium-rich options.|
Supplements vs. Dietary Sources of Magnesium
While supplements are a good choice for many people who want to increase their magnesium levels, they’re not suitable for everybody. Your body processes dietary and supplemental magnesium differently, as well as absorbing more or less magnesium depending on the type of magnesium salts used in your supplements. For example, very high levels of dietary magnesium rarely cause any side effects, while high levels of supplemental magnesium can cause nausea and diarrhea.
If you have low magnesium levels that correspond with low dietary magnesium intake, your doctor or nutritionist may suggest that you add magnesium-rich foods to your diet. A healthy, varied diet can provide many people with all the magnesium their body needs. As this is the form of magnesium your body expects, it is absorbed and processed more easily than supplements while reducing the risk of overly high magnesium levels.
On the other hand, supplements might be right for you if you struggle to maintain a diet rich in magnesium or have underlying health conditions that affect your magnesium levels or magnesium absorption. It is important to speak to your doctor before beginning any supplement regime.
What Are Some Side Effects of Magnesium Supplements?
The kidneys usually filter out excessive dietary magnesium. However, the amount of magnesium provided by supplements can sometimes cause gastrointestinal side effects. If you experience these side effects, your doctor may suggest reducing your supplement intake, switching to another type, or stopping it completely.
|Potential Side Effects|
Are Magnesium Supplements Regulated by the FDA?
Supplements, including magnesium supplements, do not have to be proven effective to be put on the market. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires that manufacturers prove the safety of any new ingredients, and any serious reactions must be reported as adverse events. Manufacturers are also not allowed to make claims about the efficacy of their supplements for treating diseases.
Whether a supplement is effective — for example, whether a magnesium supplement helps with sleep or even whether the body absorbs magnesium in that form — does not fall under the jurisdiction of the FDA.
The FDA’s safety and production guidelines require that supplements be accurately labeled and free of contaminants or impurities.
To help people choose the right supplement, the FDA advises consumers to:
- Find additional information on sites that are not directly selling products.
- Question claims that sound overly promising, such as the claim that a supplement has no side effects.
- Remember that a supplement is not necessarily safe just because it is natural.
- Speak to a doctor before taking any supplement and err on the side of safety.
Getting the Best Results from Magnesium Supplements
Your doctor is your best source for information on a magnesium supplement regimen. It is also important to read the dosage recommendations and recommended uses of your chosen supplement. The daily recommended intake for magnesium varies depending on body type, gender, age, and whether or not someone is pregnant or breastfeeding. Underlying health conditions and the reason you are taking magnesium can also affect how much you should take.
When choosing a magnesium supplement, it is best to look for one containing a magnesium salt that is more easily absorbed, such as magnesium aspartate, citrate, lactate, or chloride. You can take magnesium before bed, but there is no evidence that taking it earlier makes it less effective for sleep. Since magnesium can interact with some medications, speak to your doctor about when you should take your supplements and whether you can safely combine them with other medications.
Even if you choose to take magnesium supplements for sleep, maintaining healthy sleep hygiene is still crucial. Finding a regular sleep schedule that works for you, making your bedroom an ideal sleep space, and avoiding electronics before bed are all steps you can take to help you sleep soundly. Relaxing activities during the day, such as yoga or meditation, may also make it easier to sleep at night.