The differing bioavailability of magnesium salts remains an open question, both at the cellular and systemic level. However, this issue is relevant for identifying the most effective magnesium supplement. We compared the effects of three widely used magnesium salts: MgSO4, MgCl2 and Mg pidolate, on the proliferation of four human cell types: promyelocytic leukaemia HL60, osteoblast-like Saos-2 and U-2 OS, and endothelial cells from the umbilical vein. The three magnesium salts had no effect on endothelial and leukemic cell growth, but magnesium pidolate impaired cell growth in osteoblast-like cells. In particular, in Saos-2 cells, 1 mM pidolate induced a slight accumulation of cells in the G0/G1 phase of the cell cycle and, in parallel, an early rise in intracellular calcium and a late decrease in intracellular magnesium content. Interestingly, when cultured in 5 mM magnesium pidolate, Saos-2 cells grew as fast as the controls. Moreover, intracellular magnesium and calcium concentrations did not vary. These results suggest a lower bioavailability of magnesium pidolate in osteoblast-like cells.