What Is Magnesium Complex For?

Magnesium is an important mineral required by your body for several critical biological processes, including the function of your heart, muscles and brain. You can find magnesium in almost all animal and plant food sources. This helps to explain why dietary deficiencies in this mineral are not common. However, in cases of magnesium deficiency, you can treat the deficiency by taking magnesium supplements, such as magnesium complex. You should, however, speak with a medical professional prior to taking any magnesium supplement.



Pure magnesium is both reactive and flammable. Magnesium complexes combine the magnesium mineral with another compound in order to produce a more stable magnesium mineral. Forms of magnesium complex sold in supplement form include magnesium glycinate, magnesium carbonate, magnesium oxide, magnesium hydroxide and magnesium chloride.

Magnesium Complex

By combining magnesium with other compounds to produce a magnesium complex supplement, manufacturers can slightly change some of the natural properties of the magnesium. Therefore, it is important to always consult a physician prior to taking a magnesium supplement in order to make sure you take the best form of magnesium for your medical condition. In most cases, the added compound combined with magnesium in magnesium complex supplements is a salt, such as citrate or malate. In addition to making the magnesium more stable, magnesium complexes also typically have a higher bioavailability making them more easily absorbed by your body than other forms of magnesium supplements.

Citrate and Malate

Magnesium citrate is magnesium combined with citric acid and has a chemical formula of C6H6O7Mg. In liquid form, medical professionals often recommend magnesium citrate as a saline laxative to treat constipation or to entirely empty the intestines prior to surgery. Doctors commonly recommend magnesium citrate in capsule form to treat various magnesium deficiencies. Magnesium malate, on the other hand, is magnesium combined with malic acid and has a chemical formula of C4H4MgO5. Doctors commonly recommend magnesium malate to treat fibromyalgia, a disease characterized by headaches, fatigue, muscle pain, stiffness and memory problems.


Magnesium complexes commonly contain either citrate or malic acid. However, other magnesium complex formulations may contain ingredients such as the plant fiber cellulose, gelatin, silicon dioxide and water. Most doctors and magnesium complex manufacturers recommend taking two magnesium complex capsules twice a day with a meal. However, you should always consult a medical professional prior to consuming magnesium complex to get advice on your specific condition.

  • "The A to Z of Vitamins, Minerals and Supplements"; Tova, R.N. Navarra; 2006
  • "The Magnesium Miracle"; Carolyn Dean; 2006
  • "New Perspectives in Magnesium Research: Nutrition and Health"; Yoshiki Nishizawa, et al.; 2010

This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.