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Magnesium Chloride: Is It Really the “Master Magnesium Compound”?

magnesium chloride flakes

Story at-a-glance -

  • Magnesium chloride is a naturally occurring inorganic compound that’s composed of one magnesium and two chloride ions
  • Magnesium chloride supplement contains only 12 percent elemental magnesium, which may seem low compared to other forms of this mineral, such as magnesium oxide and magnesium citrate
  • A study published in the Journal of Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism also confirms magnesium chloride’s positive effects on insulin sensitivity

Magnesium is one of the most important minerals in your body, as it's used by nearly every cell and organ, especially your heart, muscles and kidneys. If you're struggling to get enough magnesium from the foods you eat, then you may turn to magnesium supplements to make up for your deficiency.

One of the most popular forms of magnesium supplement in the market is magnesium chloride. In fact, it's even known as the "master magnesium compound" since it's said to be highly potent and effective.1 Read on to find out more about the benefits and uses of this supplement and whether it's indeed the best form of magnesium for your health.

What Is Magnesium Chloride?

Magnesium chloride is a naturally occurring inorganic compound that's composed of one magnesium and two chloride ions.2 It's usually extracted from places with high salt content, like the Great Salt Lake and the Dead Sea.3

This compound comes in anhydrous and multiple hydrated crystal forms, with the latter one being more readily available. The multiple hydrated crystal type of magnesium chloride is referred to as magnesium chloride hexahydrate, which is produced through an evaporation process and typically sold as magnesium flakes for bath and foot soaks.4

Magnesium chloride was first used for medicinal application during the World War I, when a French surgeon named Pierre Delbet made use of it as an antiseptic. Today, this compound is more commonly used as a supplement to prevent mineral deficiency and promote better overall health.5

Magnesium chloride supplement contains only 12 percent elemental magnesium, which may seem low compared to other forms of this mineral, such as magnesium oxide and magnesium citrate. However, it's actually better absorbed by the body than some of the other magnesium supplements because of its low stability constant, which allows it to be completely ionized across a wide range of pH levels. Its formula also gives it the capability to help improve hydrochloric acid production in the stomach.6

Get to Know the Benefits of Magnesium Chloride

Here are some potential benefits that magnesium chloride may provide by increasing the magnesium levels in your body:7

Better heart health

Optimized brain, muscle and nerve function

Mental and physical relaxation

Improved bone health

Lower blood sugar levels

Better digestive process

Stronger immune system

Lower risk of developing migraines

Improved sleep

Magnesium chloride is also believed to help fight free radicals and prevent a variety of illnesses, including tumors, arteriosclerosis, prostate problems, intestinal disorders and kidney stones.

What Are the Other Uses of Magnesium Chloride?

Aside from boosting magnesium levels in the body, magnesium chloride also aids in the production of hydrochloric acid. This helps improve the digestion process and absorption of vitamins and minerals and lower risk of diseases caused by bacteria and viruses.

Its zero stability constant also makes it suitable for transdermal magnesium therapy, which is why it's available in topical forms, like oil, gel, lotion and bath salts. In fact, these forms are more commonly used than the oral ones, as users and medical professionals have attested to their positive benefits to the skin, muscles and nervous system.8

Studies Done on Magnesium Chloride Support Its Benefits

Several studies have put magnesium chloride's efficiency to the test, and most of them showed positive results. For instance, a study conducted in 2008 focused on the effects of this compound in the treatment of depression in elderly Type 2 diabetes patients with hypomagnesemia. The results showed that daily supplementation of magnesium chloride led to an improvement of depression symptoms, confirming this compound's ability to promote overall mental balance.9

A study published in the Journal of Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism also confirms magnesium chloride's positive effects on insulin sensitivity. This study involved oral magnesium supplementation for overweight and non-diabetic patients. After the trial ended, the individuals showed a significant improvement in fasting plasma glucose and insulin sensitivity indices, which means that magnesium chloride may help prevent insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes.10

Even the efficiency of transdermal magnesium chloride was analyzed in a study conducted by the Herbal Research Center in United Kingdom. In this study, patients underwent transdermal magnesium treatment for 12 weeks. The results show that magnesium chloride did enhance cellular magnesium levels and promote detoxification.11

Magnesium Threonate: The Better Form of Magnesium Supplement

While magnesium chloride is proven to be effective in addressing magnesium deficiency, I don't believe that it's actually the best magnesium supplement in the market.

When it comes to magnesium supplements, I personally recommend magnesium threonate over magnesium chloride. Magnesium threonate is a newer and emerging type of magnesium that has the ability to penetrate cell membranes, including the mitochondria, which results in higher energy levels. It can also penetrate the blood-brain barrier, which may help enhance your memory.

What makes this formulation even better than magnesium chloride is that it doesn't have a laxative effect. Its high absorption rate allows you to increase your magnesium levels without experiencing loose bowel movement.

However, if you're still considering magnesium chloride as a possible supplement, then you should be aware of its proper dosage.

The Recommended Dosage for Magnesium Chloride Supplement

It's important to note that the proper dosage of magnesium chloride may vary for every person. It's best to talk to your physician to figure out the specific amount of magnesium chloride that you need to take. This may depend on several factors, including your health condition, age, gender and response to treatment.

However, in general, the recommended dose of magnesium chloride in tablet extended release form is 535 milligrams (mg), which contains around 64 mg elemental magnesium. This supplement must be taken orally once a day.12

It's best to take this supplement with a meal to reduce the side effects that it may cause. Be sure not to increase your dosage or take this supplement more often than recommended by your doctor, as doing so may lead to hypermagnesemia and cause a variety of serious side effects.13

Beware of the Possible Side Effects of Magnesium Chloride

As with other magnesium supplements, the most common side effect that you may encounter from taking magnesium chloride is loose stools. There are also rare cases when this supplement may cause adverse reactions that require immediate medical care. Some of these serious side effects include:14

Allergic reactions, such as skin rashes, itching and swelling

Upset stomach


Shortness of breath


Severe diarrhea

Moreover, you may want to avoid taking magnesium chloride if you're suffering from any of the following conditions:15

Magnesium chloride may also interact with other medications, such as:16


Cellulose sodium phosphate


Sodium polystyrene sulfonate



If you're taking any of the medications mentioned above, make sure that you talk to your physician before using magnesium chloride to determine if it's suitable for your condition.

A Healthy Diet Is the Best Source of Magnesium

You shouldn't just rely on supplements to make up for your magnesium deficiency. Keep in mind that the best way to maintain proper magnesium levels in the body is by eating healthy foods that are rich in this nutrient. Leafy green vegetables are some of the best sources of magnesium, some of which include:17



Dried agar seaweed


Brussels sprouts

Swiss chard

Bok choy

Turnip greens

Other foods that have high magnesium content include avocados, wild-caught Alaskan salmon, squash and unsweetened cocoa powder.

Pay Attention to Your Calcium, Vitamin K2 and Vitamin D Levels Too

If you want to make the most out of your magnesium supplement, then you should monitor your calcium, vitamin K2 and vitamin D intake. Keep in mind that these four nutrients work together to provide optimum health benefits.

Calcium may help regulate the muscle-relaxing effect of magnesium. However, excessive amounts of it may lead to heart attack, stroke and even death, so make sure that you maintain the magnesium to calcium ratio of 1:1. Meanwhile, increasing your vitamin K2 levels may also help prevent the health complications caused by excessive calcium intake, whereas vitamin D helps improve your body's absorption of calcium and magnesium.

Balancing your nutrient levels not only helps you enjoy the benefits of different vitamins and minerals, but also prevents the possible complications caused by unbalanced nutrient ratios.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Magnesium Chloride

Q: What is the formula for magnesium chloride?

A: The formula for magnesium chloride is MgCl2, as it consists of one magnesium and two chloride ions.18

Q: What is magnesium chloride used for?

A: Magnesium chloride is primarily used as a supplement to help fight magnesium deficiency. It may also be used topically to help alleviate muscle aches and treat skin conditions, such as acne, psoriasis, eczema and dermatitis.19

Q: How is magnesium chloride made?

A: Magnesium chloride is produced when magnesium reacts to chlorine and creates an ionic bond. It's usually found in brine water and seawater, and may be extracted by mixing the water source with magnesium hydroxide and calcium oxide to create a slurry. Once the slurry has settled at the bottom of the container, the solid substances are removed and the remaining mixture is subjected to a thermal treatment process called calcination.20

Q: What does magnesium chloride do in the body?

A: Magnesium chloride helps increase the magnesium levels in the body, which leads to various health benefits, including better brain function, lower blood sugar levels, improved heart health and stabilized mood, among others. It may also help increase the production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, resulting in better digestion process.21