The Health Benefits of Magnesium Malate

This supplement may help with fatigue and muscle performance

Table of Contents
View All
Table of Contents

Magnesium malate is a combination of magnesium and malic acid. Its many health benefits include being anti-inflammatory, alleviating depression, and increasing your ability to tolerate exercise. It can be helpful for treating or preventing many health conditions, including:

  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Osteoporosis
  • Headache and migraine
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Fibromyalgia and related conditions

Magnesium and malic acid both have health benefits and can be taken separately. However, studies suggest your body doesn't absorb magnesium well when it's by itself. Binding it to malic acid helps your body use magnesium.

This article looks at the health benefits of magnesium malate, how to get more through your diet, what research says about its use in neuromuscular conditions, the possible risks, dosages, and what to look for when buying magnesium malate supplements.

A woman grasps her neck and lower back, where redness indicates muscle pain.

bymuratdeniz / Getty Images

What Is Magnesium Malate Good For?

Magnesium and malic acid both have several health benefits. Combining them gives you the benefits of both.


Magnesium is the fourth most plentiful mineral in your body. It plays a role in more than 300 reactions with myriad impacts on your health. These include:

  • Producing adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is the primary form of energy used by your cells
  • Making DNA and RNA (genetic material)
  • Forming proteins that your body needs for a variety of functions
  • Regulating muscle contraction
  • Controlling blood pressure
  • Insulin use, which affects blood sugar regulation
  • Cardiac (heart) excitability
  • Contraction and relaxation of blood vessels
  • Nerve transmission

Because it's involved in all these important functions, getting enough magnesium may help prevent or treat a wide range of chronic illnesses. These include:

Research also suggests it can help recovery after a nerve injury.

Malic Acid

Malic acid has far fewer roles in your body but still may help prevent or treat some conditions and bolster certain process in your body. Malic acid plays a role in:

  • Energy production via ATP
  • Muscle pain
  • Recovery from exercise
  • Skin health (when used topically)
  • Preventing calcium-oxalate kidney stones

For people who get that type of kidney stone, supplements containing calcium citrate and calcium malate are a source of calcium that doesn't contribute to stone production.

Research has also suggested that it can help your body absorb medications, and because of this, it's often given alongside medicines for liver dysfunction or high levels of ammonia in the blood.

Possible Side Effects

Magnesium can have a laxative effect. High doses of magnesium malate are linked with intestinal problems such as:

  • Persistent diarrhea
  • Upset stomach
  • Vomiting
  • Gas and bloating
  • Cramping

Malic acid hasn't been researched enough to establish side effects.

Drug Interactions

Some research suggests that magnesium may interact badly with heart medications. Other, unknown interactions are possible.

Be sure to go over your complete list of medications and supplements with your healthcare provider and pharmacist. They can help you identify potential problems.


It's well-established that magnesium can lower blood pressure. You shouldn't take it if you're at risk for hypotension (low blood pressure).

If you're on medication for hypertension (high blood pressure), ask your healthcare provider if magnesium is safe for you. Combining magnesium with your medication may lower your blood pressure too much.

Dosage and Preparation

Magnesium malate supplements are most often taken orally (by mouth) with a meal.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of magnesium, varies by age, gender, and whether you're pregnant or lactating.

Recommended Daily Allowance of Magnesium
Age Male Female Pregnancy Lactation
19-30  400mg 310mg 400mg 360mg
31-Up  420mg 320mg 360mg 320mg
Source: NIH Office of Dietary Supplements

No recommended daily allowance has been established for malic acid. Daily dosages of malic acid are generally between 1,200 milligrams (mg) and 2,800 mg.

These dosages are general guidelines. You should check with your healthcare provider to see what dosage is right for you based on your health history and current medications.

What to Look For

In the United States, supplements aren't regulated like pharmaceutical products. When buying them, make sure to check the Supplement Facts. That lists the active ingredients per serving plus any added ingredients such as fillers, binders, and flavorings.

Also, look for a seal of approval from a third-party quality testing organization such as:

  • ConsumerLab
  • U.S. Pharmacopeia
  • NSF International

Seals from these organizations don't guarantee safety or effectiveness, but they do mean the product matches what's on the label and is free from dangerous contaminants.

Absorbable Forms

Other forms of magnesium that may improve absorption include:

  • Magnesium sulfate
  • Magnesium oxalate
  • Magnesium citrate

Dietary Sources

You can increase magnesium levels through your diet, as well. Foods rich in magnesium include:

  • Pumpkin and chia seeds
  • Almonds, cashews, and peanuts
  • Boiled spinach
  • Shredded wheat cereal
  • Soymilk
  • Black beans
  • Edamame
  • Peanut butter
  • Potatoes
  • Rice
  • Yogurt
  • Oatmeal

A 2016 review of research found that industrial agriculture has lowered the amount of magnesium the average person gets through foods. That means you may need supplements to correct a magnesium deficiency.

You can get malic acid from several fruits and some vegetables. Foods rich in malic acid include:

  • Apples
  • Cherries
  • Strawberries
  • Papayas
  • Pineapples
  • Oranges
  • Grapes
  • Apricots
  • Mangoes
  • Plums
  • Tomatoes
  • Carrots
  • Olives
  • Peas
  • Potatoes
  • Corn


Magnesium malate is a combination of magnesium and malic acid. The combination makes it easier for your body to absorb and use magnesium.

Both supplements have important health benefits and are used to treat and prevent myriad conditions, including Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, asthma, fibromyalgia, high blood pressure, and some pregnancy-related problems.

Digestive side effects are possible. Magnesium may interact badly with heart medications.

Recommended daily amounts of magnesium vary based on age, sex, pregnancy/lactation status, and health conditions. Recommendations aren't established for malic acid.

With this or any supplement, ask your healthcare provider whether it's safe and what dosage is right for you. Look for products that are certified by independent testing organizations. You can also get magnesium and malic acid through certain foods.

18 Sources
Verywell Health 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.
  1. National Institutes of Health, National Center for Biotechnology Information. Magnesium in headache.

  2. Uysal N, Kizildag S, Yuce Z, et al. Timeline (bioavailability of magnesium compounds in hours: Which magnesium compound works best? Biol Trace Elem Res. 2019 Jan;187(1):128-136. doi:10.1007/s12011-018-1351-9

  3. Gröber U, Schmidt J, Kisters K. Magnesium in prevention and therapyNutrients. 2015;7(9):8199-8226. Published 2015 Sep 23. doi:10.3390/nu7095388

  4. Muscular Dystrophy Association. Find a neuromuscular disease.

  5. Kirkland AE, Sarlo GL, Holton KF. The role of magnesium in neurological disordersNutrients. 2018;10(6):730. Published 2018 Jun 6. doi:10.3390/nu10060730

  6. Volpe SL. Magnesium in disease prevention and overall healthAdv Nutr. 2013;4(3):378S-83S. Published 2013 May 1. doi:10.3945/an.112.003483

  7. Chen YJ, Cheng FC, Chen CJ, et al. Down-regulated expression of magnesium transporter genes following a high magnesium diet attenuates sciatic nerve crush injuryNeurosurgery. 2019;84(4):965-976. doi:10.1093/neuros/nyy120

  8. National Institutes of Health, U.S. National Library of Medicine: PubChem. Malic acid (compound).

  9. Qiang F. Effect of malate-oligosaccharide solution on antioxidant capacity of endurance athletesOpen Biomed Eng J. 2015;9:326-329. Published 2015 Oct 19. doi:10.2174/1874120701509010326

  10. Food and Drug Administration. Alpha hydroxy acids.

  11. Rodgers AL, Webber D, de Charmoy R, Jackson GE, Ravenscroft N. Malic acid supplementation increases urinary citrate excretion and urinary pH: implications for the potential treatment of calcium oxalate stone diseaseJ Endourol. 2014;28(2):229-236. doi:10.1089/end.2013.0477

  12. Wei Z, Xu Y, Xu Q, Cao W, Huang H, Liu H. Microbial biosynthesis of l-malic acid and related metabolic engineering strategies: Advances and prospectsFront Bioeng Biotechnol. 2021;9:765685. Published 2021 Sep 29. doi:10.3389/fbioe.2021.765685

  13. University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. Pediatric magnesium (Mag-Ox) uses and side effects.

  14. Fang X, Wang K, Han D, et al. Circulating magnesium levels and incidence of coronary heart diseases, hypertension, and type 2 diabetes mellitus: a meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. BMC Med. 2016 8;14 (1):210. doi:10.1186/s12916-016-0742-z

  15. Fairley J, Zhang L, Glassford N, Bellomo R. Magnesium status and magnesium therapy in cardiac surgery: a systematic review and meta-analysis focusing on arrhythmia prevention. Journal of Critical Care. 2017 42:69-77. doi:10.1016/j.jcrc.2017.05.038

  16. Schutten JC, Joosten MM, de Borst MH, Bakker SJL. Magnesium and Blood Pressure: A Physiology-Based Approach. Adv Chronic Kidney Dis. 2018 25(3):244-250. doi:10.1053/j.ackd.2017.12.003

  17. Wanli G, Hussain N, Zongsuo L, Dongfeng Y. Magnesium deficiency in plants: an urgent problem, The Crop Journal, 2016 4(2): 83-91. doi:10.1016/j.cj.2015.11.003

  18. United States Department of Agriculture. L-malic acid - handling/processing.

Additional Reading

By Adrienne Dellwo
Adrienne Dellwo is an experienced journalist who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and has written extensively on the topic.