Can I Take Magnesium to Relieve My Constipation?

by Patti Croft October 01, 2021

The Importance of Magnesium

By now, most of us have heard about magnesium and how critical it is for our health. Since it is involved in over 300 processes in the body, we need to make sure we get optimal levels of it. Many people live with magnesium deficiency and may not know that's what is causing their health problems.

Some people have considered getting magnesium supplements to help relieve constipation. There is a lot of confusion surrounding the different forms of magnesium. So before you run to the local pharmacy, let's get into some benefits of magnesium, various forms of it, and how it keeps the body functioning properly.

Easing Constipation

Many people get embarrassed when it comes to discussing IBS issues like constipation. Most of us would prefer not mention it, even to our doctors. Let's be honest, unless you're a kid, no one wants to talk about poop!

We might get over-the-counter laxatives to help with more frequent bowel movements. Those may come with harsh side effects and even cause diarrhea or bloating.

Magnesium can be a natural way to help relieve constipation. When magnesium gets kept at proper levels, many of your bodily functions will work as they've been designed. That includes gastrointestinal functions.

Magnesium can work as an effective muscle relaxer. Since our intestinal walls have muscles, taking magnesium supplements can help to relax our intestines and establish a smoother bowel movement.

Magnesium Use for Constipation

When it comes to magnesium, all supplements are not the same. If you have low magnesium, you want to get the kind that works with your body without causing side effects.

If you go to the local grocery store, you may see many supplements that use magnesium oxide. That is the cheapest form of magnesium available and the one you want to steer away from when possible. It goes right through your system and can create a laxative effect. That doesn't mean it's the best choice for your constipation issues. You want your bowel movements to be regular. Making frequent trips to the bathroom throughout the day can not only be uncomfortable but time-consuming as well. Diarrhea is the most common side effect of using magnesium oxide. This type of magnesium is better for an ingredient in antacids and milk of magnesia.

Magnesium citrate is a good choice if you're experiencing gastrointestinal problems like occasional constipation. It is one of the most bioavailable forms of magnesium you can find. That makes it easy to absorb into your digestive tract, where it can help produce regular bowel movements.

There are other forms of magnesium, also. Magnesium sulfate is in Epsom salt. Many people take Epsom salt baths to get in their dose of magnesium and to relax achy muscles. It dissolves fast since it has a salt-like texture.

Magnesium taurate can also get used for constipation, but it is known for its blood pressure and cardiovascular benefits. Research shows this mineral can reduce blood pressure naturally. Some studies show promising results of magnesium helping patients with kidney disease.

Magnesium L-Threonate can get used for treating occasional constipation. It is more widely used to treat certain brain disorders like memory loss and depression. When combined with other supplementation, it can make a powerful impact on brain health.

You can take magnesium chloride to treat magnesium deficiency as well. Many people find this type especially helpful for constipation and heartburn. That is a salt that includes chlorine and gets easily absorbed into the digestive tract.

There are even more forms of magnesium available, but these are the most common types to treat constipation. If you need a mild laxative, supplementing with one of these should help.

How Much Should You Take?

Like with any vitamin or mineral, your body needs enough to maintain proper health. You don't want to overdo it with magnesium because that can cause cramping and general digestive health discomfort.

You need enough magnesium in your system to transport nutrients like calcium throughout your body. When you get the proper amount of magnesium, your blood pressure will be better, and your digestive health will improve.

Adult females need around 310 mg of magnesium per day to function at their best. Males need even more, at around 400 mg.

Taking too much magnesium can lead to magnesium toxicity. That could cause irregular heartbeat, nausea and vomiting, hypotension, and a whole host of other side effects. Taking too many supplements can affect your body as much as not taking enough.

Best Way to Take Magnesium

Magnesium can be taken in either pill or liquid form. In many over-the-counter laxatives, you will find it in a liquid. Many people believe that works faster because the stomach doesn't have to break it down.

When supplementing daily with magnesium, most people find it easy to take it in pill or capsule form. It can get added easily to your daily vitamin and mineral intake.

Make sure you read the directions carefully on the supplement or medication label. Different companies will use varying amounts in each serving, so you want to know how much you are getting in each dose.

How Soon Will It Work?

If you've taken an osmotic laxative, you know the feeling of waiting around for it to work. These are the common types found in local pharmacies and grocery stores. They work by absorbing water into the colon. That can take some time, and then once they work, you may experience cramping and diarrhea, which can lead to electrolyte imbalance.

Most evidence points to a timeframe of two to six hours for bowel movements to occur. That could be longer or shorter than over-the-counter laxatives, but it is crucial to remember this is a natural approach. While it may not resolve constipation as quickly as other laxatives, it doesn't come with harsh side effects.

The time it takes for magnesium to relieve constipation also depends on other factors like how deficient you may be and how long you've been supplementing. It could also depend on your diet. If you've suffered from chronic constipation, it could take longer for your body to adjust.

Food Sources of Magnesium

Although most people are deficient in magnesium, it is imperative to note that we can alleviate some of that with our diets. Since new farming methods deplete the soil and added pesticides reduce the nutritional value, supplementing is likely a good idea for most people.

To get in more magnesium, look to foods like sweet potatoes, avocados, and dark leafy greens. Many nuts are also magnesium-rich and can easily get added in as a snack during the day. Magnesium can also get found in fatty fish. Some foods that have magnesium also have potassium which will help with electrolyte issues.

A diet rich in healthy foods will help keep your magnesium levels higher. Many functional healthcare professionals advocate for better diets to produce better overall health. The standard American diet has stripped us of many nutrients we need to function at peak performance levels. Foods play a significant role in how we feel and how our bodies react to outside environmental factors.

Side Effects of Magnesium

Most of the side effects of taking magnesium are mild. Your body will adjust to the proper levels, and you may go through a short period of cramping and seeing a laxative effect. That will even out after your body adjusts to it. Loose stools may be a result of taking too much magnesium or taking the wrong form.

Many doctors will allow breastfeeding moms to take magnesium. The absorption rate for infants is low, so it isn't likely to affect the baby.

Although some research shows magnesium can help people with kidney disease, too much can overwork them. For this reason, if you have kidney issues, it's good to get medical advice from your doctor before starting a magnesium supplement.

If you have low blood pressure, you should talk to your healthcare professional before adding this supplement since magnesium can lower blood pressure.

In rare cases, it can cause an irregular heartbeat. If you have cardiovascular problems, check with your doctor for any drug interactions.

Some people may experience slower breathing, but that is a rare side effect. That is usually caused by taking higher than recommended doses.

You Don't Have to Live With Constipation

If you have suffered from constipation, you should know that you don't have to live with chronic discomfort. Getting your body back in synch may be easier than you think. You don't always have to reach for an over-the-counter medication that may result in harmful side effects. You can take a natural approach to healthcare that can remedy occasional or chronic constipation.

Magnesium supplements can be an incredible way to make sure you get adequate amounts of this vital mineral in your body. It's an inexpensive way to add to a healthy lifestyle. Ultimately, your healthcare is up to you. Give your body the best chance to have natural health from the inside out.

References :

https://www.med.umich.edu/1libr/MBCP/Magnesium.pdf

https://www.verywellhealth.com/magnesium-for-constipation-and-ibsc-1944780

https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-522-2202/magnesium-citrate-oral/magnesium-citrate-oral/details

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/magnesium-types#3.-Magnesium-chloride

https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a601074.html

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK500569/#:~:text=Oral%20absorption%20of%20magnesium%20by,no%20special%20precautions%20are%20required.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29793667/ https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/d01008a1#:~:text=Magnesium%20citrate%20should%20produce%20a,the%20medicine%20produces%20no%20results.

Patti Croft
Patti Croft

Patti Croft is a Certified Health Data Analyst with a thirst for all things natural and holistic. Coupled with her MBA, Patti uses her skill set here at NuVision Health Center to dive into the research. Her expertise is in taking complex medical data and delivering it in a way that readers can understand and implement into their lives.



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