Magnesium Malate vs. Magnesium Citrate: Which Type of Magnesium is Best for You?

Two popular forms of magnesium are magnesium malate and magnesium citrate. Both offer unique benefits and are commonly used to support overall health and well-being. Delve into the differences between magnesium malate and magnesium citrate, helping you find the most suitable type of magnesium for your individual needs.  

Comparing Magnesium Malate vs. Magnesium Citrate

Magnesium is an essential mineral critical to many bodily functions, including energy production and muscle function. While both magnesium malate and magnesium citrate are popular forms of magnesium supplements, they differ in their composition and potential benefits.


Magnesium malate is a compound formed by bonding magnesium with malic acid, whereas magnesium citrate is composed of magnesium bonded with citric acid. Malic acid is naturally found in fruits, particularly apples, and is known for its role in energy production. On the other hand, citric acid is abundant in citrus fruits and is involved in various metabolic processes.

When comparing the two forms, it's important to note that malic acid is key to the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the primary energy currency of cells. This may suggest that magnesium malate could potentially offer advantages in supporting energy conversion compared to magnesium citrate.


Both magnesium malate and magnesium citrate can be beneficial in addressing magnesium deficiency, a condition that can lead to various health issues due to insufficient magnesium levels in the body. Ensuring enough magnesium intake is crucial for maintaining optimal magnesium levels and supporting overall health. When assessing each form's health benefits, it's essential to understand their distinct advantages in addressing various health concerns:

Magnesium Malate:

  • Supports enhanced energy production, vital for maintaining vitality and stamina.
  • Gentle on the digestive system, making it more suitable for those with sensitive stomachs or digestive concerns.
  • Plays a crucial role in combating magnesium deficiency, which is associated with muscle cramps, fatigue, and other health complications.
  • Offers potential benefits in promoting overall metabolic function and supporting cardiovascular health.

Magnesium Citrate:

  • Effectively relieves constipation and supports regular bowel movements, promoting digestive health and alleviating gastrointestinal discomfort.
  • Helps in maintaining bowel regularity and preventing issues related to constipation, such as bloating and abdominal discomfort.
  • Addresses magnesium deficiency, which is linked to various health issues, including cardiovascular problems and impaired muscle function.

In short, magnesium citrate is often favored for its ability to promote bowel movements, making it beneficial for individuals experiencing constipation. On the other hand, magnesium malate may be gentler on the digestive system, making it a preferred option for those with sensitive stomachs. Overall, whether aiming to boost energy levels, support digestive health, or address magnesium deficiency, both magnesium malate and citrate offer valuable contributions to overall well-being.

Potential Side Effects

While magnesium malate and magnesium citrate are generally well-tolerated by most individuals, it's important to be aware of potential side effects associated with each form.

Magnesium citrate, due to its laxative effect, may result in gastrointestinal discomfort such as bloating, gas, and diarrhea, especially when taken in excess. On the other hand, magnesium malate is typically less likely to cause digestive issues compared to magnesium citrate.

It's important for individuals considering taking magnesium supplements to consult with a healthcare professional if they have any existing medical conditions, questions or concerns, or experience any side effects.

Other Forms of Magnesium

various supplement tablets and capsules in a man's palm with him holding a glass of water in the other hand

In addition to magnesium malate and magnesium citrate, there are several other forms of magnesium supplements, each with its own unique properties and potential benefits.

Magnesium Glycinate

Magnesium glycinate is bound to glycine, an amino acid. It is often preferred for its high bioavailability and gentle nature on the digestive system, making it suitable for individuals with sensitive stomachs. Magnesium glycinate is commonly used to support relaxation and sleep, as well as to address magnesium deficiency.

Magnesium Oxide

Magnesium oxide contains a high concentration of elemental magnesium. It is commonly used as a laxative to relieve constipation and to support overall digestive health. However, its bioavailability is lower compared to other forms of magnesium, which may limit its effectiveness for addressing magnesium deficiency.

Magnesium Taurate

Magnesium taurate combines magnesium and taurine, an amino acid with antioxidant properties. This type of magnesium is often used to support cardiovascular health and may help regulate blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It is also known for its potential to enhance cognitive function and mood stability.

Magnesium L-Threonate

Magnesium l-threonate has been shown to effectively cross the blood-brain barrier, which can potentially be beneficial for brain health and cognitive function. It is commonly used to support memory, learning, and overall cognitive performance. Magnesium l-threonate may also have neuroprotective effects, making it a promising option for supporting brain health as we age.


While considering magnesium products, it's important to make the distinction between forms that are appropriate as a dietary supplement vs. topical products. Although other forms of magnesium, like magnesium chloride or magnesium sulfate, are commonly found in the market, these forms of magnesium are primarily employed for topical applications. These forms are not typically intended for oral consumption and supplementation. This underscores the importance of selecting the appropriate form of magnesium based on desired benefits and usage requirements.

How to Take a Magnesium Supplement

magnesium pills on a blue surface with a green magnesium supplement bottle beside them

Adding a magnesium supplement into your daily routine can be seamless, but it's crucial to understand the best practices to optimize its effectiveness and minimize potential side effects. Magnesium supplements are available in different formats including capsules, tablets, and powders. Select the form that aligns with your lifestyle and encourages consistent use of the supplement.

Recommended Dosages

The recommended dosage of magnesium supplements may vary based on factors such as age, gender, and overall health. Generally, adults are advised to aim for a daily intake of 300 to 400 milligrams. It's beneficial to obtain magnesium from natural food sources and consider lower dosages of magnesium supplements, unless specific serum levels are targeted. Gradually adjust magnesium intake as needed and tolerated, prioritizing a balanced approach that combines dietary sources with supplementation. Consulting with a healthcare professional can offer personalized recommendations on how to take magnesium for your individual needs and circumstances.

In Conclusion: Magnesium Malate vs. Citrate

While both magnesium malate and magnesium citrate offer valuable benefits, their differences in composition and potential effects on digestive health may influence the choice between the two forms for individual supplementation needs. Magnesium malate may offer benefits in terms of energy production due to its association with malic acid, while magnesium citrate's effectiveness in addressing constipation makes it a preferred choice for some individuals. Ultimately, the decision between these two forms, as well as other available forms of magnesium, should be guided by individual needs, preferences, and health considerations.

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