Self-Help Tips From Dr Sarah Brewer

Magnesium Supplements Boost Energy Levels

best magnesium supplements

Good magnesium levels are vital for optimal health. Magnesium is needed for energy production in body cells and helps to reduce tiredness and fatigue. Increasing evidence suggests that good magnesium levels are especially important for people with problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or heart disease. And even for those who are in good health, optimum magnesium levels are associated with a longer lifespan.

The EU register on nutrition and health claims accepts that magnesium contributes to:

  • normal energy-yielding metabolism, protein synthesis and a reduction of tiredness and fatigue
  • electrolyte balance and normal functioning of the nervous system
  • normal muscle function and psychological function
  • maintenance of normal bones and teeth
  • and has a role in the process of cell division.

Which magnesium supplements are best?

Many magnesium supplements are available, but some are better than others. My advice is to select a product made to a pharmaceutical standard known as GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice). This quality control ensures that each tablet supplies what it says on the label.

Several different magnesium salts are available, of which the most popular and cost-effective is magnesium oxide. Although this form is often dismissed as having low bioavailability, this is more than compensated by the high amount of elemental magnesium it provides – an impressive 600mg magnesium per 1g magnesium oxide.

In contrast, although magnesium citrate is better absorbed, it only supplies 113 mg elemental magnesium per gram because the citrate part is relatively heavy. Similarly, magnesium gluconate only supplies 58mg magnesium per gram which explains why it is often described as more gentle and less likely to cause laxative side effects.

In reality, the body is clever at grabbing what it needs. Research shows that, in times of deficiency, you will absorb between 50% and 67% of the magnesium present in whichever magnesium salt you take.

You can also add magnesium flakes to a bath, to promote relaxation and sleep, or rub magnesium oil in to your skin. I like Better You Magnesium Oil Goodnight Spray which combines magnesium with relaxing essential oils.

Both magnesium flakes and magnesium skin oil overcome any laxative effect that can occur when taking more than 400mg magnesium as an oral dose.

Oral magnesium supplements

Here are my recommendations for some top-quality magnesium supplements from and I take magnesium every day – actually, I take my magnesium at night as it helps to relax muscles and improve sleep quality.

Oral magnesium supplements are also an effective way to help regulate the bowels and overcome any tendency towards constipation.

Magnesium is also helpful for any woman who experiences fluid retention and bloating as part of the monthly pre-menstrual syndrome.


NB If taking magnesium supplements, it is important to ensure a good intake of calcium as these two work together in the body to maintain hormone balance.

Click here to read my Nutritional Medicine page on the health benefits of magnesium.

Have you taken magnesium supplements? If so, what for? Did you find them helpful? If you have any comments or questions, please use the form below and I will get back to you as soon as I can.

Image credit: myibean / shutterstock

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Dr Sarah Brewer ex-Medical Director (20 years)
Dr Sarah Brewer MSc (Nutr Med), MA (Cantab), MB, BChir, RNutr, MBANT, CNHC, Dip IoD qualified from Cambridge University with degrees in Natural Sciences, Medicine and Surgery. After working in general practice, she gained a master's degree in nutritional medicine from the University of Surrey. Sarah is a registered Medical Doctor, a registered Nutritionist and a registered Nutritional Therapist. She is an award winning author of over 70 popular self-help books and a columnist for Prima magazine. Her debut novel is White Powder Of Gold. Dr Sarah Brewer is a registered medical doctor, nutritionist, nutritional therapist and author of over 70 self-help books.

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