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This Magnesium Supplement Won't Upset Your Stomach. Here's Why

Magnesium is a vital nutrient that the body relies on to function. In fact, it’s so important that it’s involved in more than 300 bodily functions (1)!

Magnesium is known as a natural mood booster. It’s known for many benefits, including potentially improving depression, boosting heart health, deterring migraines, fighting inflammation, protecting against bone loss, reducing anxiety, and improving exercise results (2).

Unfortunately, over 50% of Americans aren’t getting enough magnesium. But resolving that deficiency comes with a catch: many types of magnesium supplements can upset your stomach and cause diarrhea (3, 4). One reason this can happen is that you may not be taking the ideal dosage for your body. When a magnesium dose is too high, larger amounts of magnesium go unabsorbed by the body. This attracts water from your colon or intestine, which then causes diarrhea.

Another reason is that you may not be taking the right type of magnesium for your goals. Here’s what to know when choosing the right type of magnesium for your needs…

10 Different Types of Magnesium

Each form of magnesium has its own set of benefits and downsides.

Infographic listing out the 10 different types of magnesium.

1. Magnesium Glycinate

Magnesium glycinate is the easiest form of magnesium for your body to absorb. As a result, it’s gentler on your stomach and much less likely to cause diarrhea (5). Magnesium glycinate benefits include better sleep, better heart health, anti-inflammatory perks, and better management of blood sugar in people with diabetes (6). Magnesium glycinate is also thought to help manage depression, anxiety, and stress (7).

2. Magnesium Oxide

Magnesium oxide has the highest potency among magnesium supplements (8). Magnesium oxide is usually used for short-term soothing of digestive issues, like indigestion, heartburn, or constipation. Some people also take magnesium oxide to manage migraines (9, 10).

3. Magnesium Citrate

This form of magnesium is naturally found in citrus. It’s one of the more bioavailable forms of magnesium supplements, which means that it’s easier for your body to absorb (11).

Magnesium citrate may be taken for magnesium deficiency, but it’s known for its natural laxative effect so some people prefer a form of magnesium that’s easier on the stomach. However, when taken in higher doses, magnesium citrate is a great option for treating constipation.

Magnesium citrate may also help manage symptoms of depression and anxiety, but more research is needed to know for sure (12).

4. Magnesium Malate

Magnesium malate is a fantastic option for treating a magnesium deficiency because it’s easily absorbed in the body’s digestive tract (13). It’s also thought to be more gentle on the stomach (14).

5. Magnesium L-threonate

Magnesium L-threonate is also easy for the body to absorb, and may be the best option for increasing the amount of magnesium in your brain cells (15). As a result, it may help manage certain brain-related health issues, like age-related memory loss or depression.

6. Magnesium Chloride

This form of magnesium is easy for the digestive tract to absorb. It can be taken for magnesium deficiency, constipation, or heartburn (16). Magnesium chloride is sometimes used in topical skin creams to aid in muscle recovery by soothing muscle tension, tightness, and stiffness (17).

7. Magnesium Orotate

Magnesium orotate is another form of magnesium that’s gentle on the stomach. Some studies suggest that magnesium orotate may boost heart health, but more research is needed (18). It also may help manage heart disease (19).

8. Magnesium Taurate

Magnesium taurate includes an amino acid called taurine. This form of magnesium may help manage blood sugar and blood pressure while potentially improving heart health (20, 21, 22, 23, 24).

9. Magnesium Lactate

Magnesium lactate isn’t a common magnesium supplement, but it’s often used as a food additive. It’s somewhat easier on your digestive system than some other forms of magnesium, so it may be helpful for people with sensitive stomachs (25).

Early research indicates that magnesium lactate may help with managing anxiety and stress (26).

10. Magnesium Sulfate

Magnesium sulfate is more commonly known as Epsom salt. Some people take it for constipation, but it’s more well-known as an ingredient that’s dissolved into bathwater for pain relief and relaxation.

The Best Magnesium for Your Tummy

If you have a sensitive stomach, magnesium glycinate is your best move. It’s the form of magnesium that’s easiest for your body to absorb, which makes it more gentle on your digestive tract (27).

We had this in mind when we formulated Native Balance, our new NativePath magnesium supplement that's launching next month. This formula combines 100 mg of magnesium and 100 mg of ashwagandha for even greater health benefits (think: reduced stress, increased muscle strength, and improved heart health).

The two forms of magnesium we chose to include are magnesium glycinate and magnesium oxide.


Because magnesium glycinate is the gentlest magnesium type for your stomach, and magnesium oxide is the most potent magnesium type. (Magnesium oxide is so potent, in fact, that it delivers more than 50% magnesium, while other types like magnesium citrate only deliver 20% (28)!)

This blend of gentleness and potency ensures you’ll get as much magnesium as possible—without stomach pain as a side effect.

The Best Magnesium Dosage (to prevent an upset stomach)

Getting your magnesium dose right is one of the keys to avoiding an upset stomach. For the average adult, the recommended daily dose of magnesium is 310 mg for women and 410 mg for men (29).

If you have any questions about the best dose for you—or if you have pre-existing health issues that could put you at risk of complications—talk to your healthcare provider before taking magnesium.

Graphic showing the best magnesium dosage for men and women.

When to Take Magnesium

When you take magnesium depends on your reason for taking it. If you’re taking it for better sleep, you’ll probably want to take it at night. If you’re taking it for better digestion, you may want to start your day with it. Any time of the day is fine, as long as it aligns with your health goals.

The most important thing is to take your magnesium consistently.

The Bottom Line

Many people avoid magnesium because they’re afraid it will give them an upset stomach. Luckily, there are certain types that are gentler on your stomach and easier for your body to absorb. If you stick to the right type (like magnesium glycinate and magnesium oxide) and take the correct dose, you can avoid the stomach pain that most magnesium supplements cause.

For a magnesium formula that’s both ultra-potent and gentle on the stomach, try NativePath's new magnesium supplement (launching Wednesday, May 17th!). With 300 milligrams of magnesium (in the forms of magnesium glycinate and magnesium oxide) and 100 milligrams of ashwagandha, your mood and muscles will finally get the relaxation they need.

Claire Hannum is a New York City-based writer, editor, wellness seeker, and reiki practitioner. Her writing has appeared in Self, Health, Prevention, and over a dozen other publications. When she's not writing, she's traveling, getting lost in health-related research rabbit holes, and finding new ways to spoil her cat.

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Medical Disclaimer
This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Dr. Chad Walding nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement, or lifestyle program.

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