The Health Benefits of Magnesium Malate

Facilitates bone and nerve development, muscle function, and protein synthesis

Man taking white supplement pills with water

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You may be familiar with supplement enthusiasts singing the praises of magnesium, and for good reason. Magnesium is important in the human body because it can support the muscles, aid in bone health, and even alleviate migraines and anxiety symptoms.

Many types of magnesium are available and they all have their own unique traits and suit various needs. There are at least 10 varieties available to consumers today, from the common magnesium citrate supplements that are easily absorbed in the body to the oral magnesium chloride geared toward digestive upset.

Then there’s magnesium malate. According to Willow Jarosh, MS, RD, the owner of Willow Jarosh Culinary Nutrition, "Magnesium malate is a compound of magnesium and malic acid, as opposed to other forms of magnesium that are compounds of magnesium and things like citric acid (magnesium citrate) or glycine (magnesium glycinate)."

Jarosh adds that magnesium malate is similar to other forms in that it provides magnesium to your body. "Mostly, the different forms differ by how well our bodies can absorb them." She goes on to say that there was a study done in mice which found that magnesium malate was more rapidly absorbed and kept blood levels of magnesium higher for longer. Many consider it to be the most bioavailable magnesium.

Health Benefits

There are many benefits of magnesium malate as magnesium plays a significant role in various bodily functions.

Willow Jarosh, MS, RD

Magnesium is incredibly important in the body. The benefits of magnesium malate are similar to that of other forms of magnesium—raising magnesium levels in the blood.

— Willow Jarosh, MS, RD

Although it’s involved in hundreds of processes in the body, there are some main benefits to keep in mind when taking magnesium malate.

Protein Synthesis

Creating proteins in the body is crucial in the work that cells do. Proteins are the big molecules that help the body function at its very best, regulating tissues and organs along the way.

Magnesium is a key player in the DNA that’s needed to create these proteins, which means taking magnesium malate can make your body work at its most optimal, down to the cells, proteins, and DNA. Getting enough magnesium can prevent or attenuate the muscle loss that occurs with age (sarcopenia) due to increased protein synthesis.

Muscle Function

Magnesium malate can help the muscles perform better, assisting them in contraction and relaxation. It’s even instrumental in building muscle. Studies have confirmed this benefit of magnesium, showing that magnesium boosts skeletal muscle mass, grip strength, and leg explosive power in men and women of all ages.

Nerve Function

It’s been found that magnesium malate can help transmit information from the brain to the rest of the body.

This means that it can aid in a number of neurological disorders, such as, according to a 2018 study, “migraine, chronic pain, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and stroke, as well as the commonly comorbid conditions of anxiety and depression.”

Bone Development

Magnesium is a top contributor to bone stabilization, growth, and mineralization, which can prevent diseases like osteoporosis.

As a 2013 study points out, controlling and maintaining what’s called “magnesium homeostasis” can “maintain bone integrity.”

Possible Side Effects

Jarosh lays out the potential side effects of magnesium malate, saying, “Getting too much magnesium from food isn’t a risk, since our bodies eliminate excess dietary magnesium via our kidneys.

While high amounts of magnesium from food sources isn't a problem, Jarosh notes that, "You can take large doses of supplemental magnesium" which can "lead to diarrhea, nausea, and abdominal cramping.”

Always consult with your doctor before taking any new supplement, including magnesium malate.

Dosage and Preparation

Your doctor can recommend an ideal magnesium malate dosage for you based upon how much magnesium is already in your body (which can be discovered from a blood test) and your unique needs, but generally, this is the recommended dosage, according to Jarosh.

Daily Recommended Magnesium Dosage

According to Jarosh, the daily recommendation for magnesium is as follows:

  • 400mg for men between the ages of 19 and 30
  • 310mg for women between the ages of 19 and 30
  • 420mg for men aged 31 to 50 and older
  • 320mg for woman aged 31 to 50 and older

Magnesium malate supplements are commonly taken orally with a meal, but you can also get magnesium from food sources.

As Jarosh explains, one ounce of pumpkin seeds contains 156mg of magnesium. One ounce of almonds contains 80mg of magesium. “Most nuts, seeds, and beans contain some magnesium,” she adds.

Jarosh also notes that, "If someone’s medical professional thinks they may not be getting enough magnesium, and they couldn’t get it from food sources, a supplement may be indicated. But the dosage and frequency would need to be personalized to that person’s needs."

Be sure to check with your doctor and/or pharmacist regarding drug interactions when taking magnesium malate. They can include certain diuretics, antibiotics, and anti-diabetes medications.

What to Look For

Magnesium malate supplements are available over the counter in a variety of dosages. It’s commonly made by natural supplement brands. Ensure the label does not make any claims about curing or preventing disease as the FDA directs brands not to make these unsubstantiated claims.

Check the label for third party testing, such as U.S. Pharmacopeia, NSF International, or ConsumerLab. You may want to look for whether or not the supplement contains ingredients derived from an animal, and whether those ingredient sources are antibiotic-free, free-range, or cage-free. Magnesium malate is not derived from animals but it's possible some other ingredients in the supplement could be.

Jarosh adds, “If someone is going to take a supplement, magnesium malate or others, I always recommend purchasing from a brand who does third-party testing to ensure purity.”

Other Questions

Should I take magnesium malate in the morning or at night?

Magnesium malate may help with energy production, so for that reason, people may use it in the morning to boost energy. However, it's the overall magnesium levels in your body over time that will make the most difference to your health, so take it whenever you can be most consistent.

Is magnesium malate good for anxiety?

The current available evidence suggests that magnesium may have beneficial effects on subjective anxiety in those prone to it. However, more research is necessary as the existing data is of poor quality and cannot be used to conclusively say that magnesium will help with anxiety.

What is the difference between magnesium malate and magnesium citrate?

Magnesium malate and magnesium citrate are both magnesium based supplements meant to boost your levels of magnesium. Magnesium malate combines the mineral magnesium and malic acid while magnesium citrate combines the mineral magnesium and citric acid.

9 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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By Shelby Deering
Shelby Deering is a lifestyle writer based in Madison, Wisconsin. She specializes in the connection between exercise and the mind, calming movement-based exercise like yoga, and running.