magnesium for constipation

Why Use Magnesium and Magnesium Supplements for Constipation?

Constipation is characterised as difficulties in having bowel movements due to hard stools. The movement of waste inside the intestine slows down and becomes hard. Constipation is an expression of malfunctioning of your digestive system

Prolonged lack of bowel movements for weeks is considered chronic constipation. Lack of enough fiber in foods, dehydration or some underlying serious medical condition can cause constipation.

Magnesium sulphate (Epsom Salt) and a supplement Magnesium citrate can relieve your constipation effectively and safely due to their osmotic laxative properties.

Constipation and its Symptoms?

In the most simple explanation constipation is difficult in passing stools normally. It is a very common problem and is considered chronic constipation if difficulties of passing stools persists or you have infrequent bowel movements for several weeks.


The signs and symptoms of constipation include

  • Hard stools
  • Fewer stools than normal
  • Feeling of blockage in rectum
  • Straining for bowel movement
  • Unable to completely pass stools
  • Needing help to pass stools from rectum either by pressing stomach or using fingers to remove stools

There are a number of home remedies to relieve constipation and magnesium citrate is one such effective option.

What Causes Constipation?

When your stools move too slowly through your digestive system it may become dry and hard and difficult to pass. This condition is constipation and is caused by several different factors in combination. Some of the main causes are

  • Dehydration
  • Being a female
  • Old age
  • Low fiber diet
  • Lack of physical activities
  • Eating disorders
  • Certain medications such as antidepressants and blood pressure lowering drugs

In addition to these factors some underlying health conditions may also cause constipation. These include pregnancy, diabetes, cancers, hemorrhoids, hypothyroidism, stroke, spinal injury and scores of many neurological and psychological conditions.

In certain cases the constipation resolves on its own and you will never know what caused it. But if any if the above mentioned underlying conditions are causing your chronic constipation then you must consult your doctor.

Magnesium Supplements

Magnesium has been used as a remedy for constipation for ages.

Magnesium is an important mineral that regulates your body's health. One of the main symptom of magnesium deficiency is constipation.

Therefore taking magnesium supplement obviously relieves constipation.

However constipation not caused by magnesium deficiency also can be relieved with magnesium supplements. Magnesium citrate is one such supplement which is easily absorbed by the body to produce the desired results.

Other popular magnesium based products are Magnesium hydroxide popularly known as milk of magnesia and magnesium sulfate or epsom salt.

How Does Magnesium Give Constipation Relief?

magnesium for constipation infographic

Magnesium generally is considered osmotic laxative. Magnesium citrate is one of the most useful compounds which gets absorbed by the body faster than other magnesium compounds. Therefore it is widely used for constipation.

What it does is it absorbs water and brings it to the digestive track and rest of the body. This makes your stools loose and allows them to travel freely. This easy passing of stools relieves your constipation.

It is important to consume more water or Fluids in the form of juices to ensure that your body gets enough water to stay hydrated as most of this water goes into the gut to soften the stools.

When you take magnesium citrate you will observe that your normal urine volumes are significantly reduced. This is because the cat is absorbing the water therefore the urinary tract does not get enough fluids to expel. This can cause dehydration. So too yourself up with more fluids throughout the day.

You can also use epsom salt ( Magnesium sulphate ) for relieving your constipation. You can add 1 tablespoon of epsom salt in an 8 ounce glass of water. Dissolve it well by mixing and drink it. If you don't like the taste then add some lemon juice to taste and drink it. Take another dose after 4-6 hours. Limit yourself to drinking magnesium sulphate to twice daily until your constipation is resolved. Epsom salt is an FDA approved remedy for constipation.


Effective Doses of Magnesium Citrate for Constipation

Magnesium citrate is a fast acting osmotic laxative. If you take 2.4-4.8 g of magnesium citrate then you are likely to get your stools passed within the next 6 hours.

How you take also decides the doses. If you are taking lower doses 600mg then you will have to take it for several days before the desired result of normal stools is achieved. If you take higher doses then within weeks your constipation will get resolved.

If you are taking magnesium citrate as a supplement, then start with 600mg and gradually increase.

Absorption of magnesium citrate is better when taken with water or juices.

For a quick relief higher dose to the extent of double of the above given limits have been found to be safe.

Your doctor is really the right person to choose the correct doses based on your constipation history.

Foods Containing Magnesium

The list of magnesium rich food is big but following are some of the most common magnesium rich food items.

  • Almonds
  • Cashew nuts
  • Peanuts
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Coffee
  • Cocoa
  • Soybeans
  • Navy bean sprouts
  • Black-eyed peas
  • Lima beans
  • Tofu
  • Artichokes
  • Okra
  • Spinach
  • Parsley
  • Swiss chard
  • Broccoli
  • Lettuce
  • Potatoes
  • Apple
  • Avocados
  • Figs
  • Whole wheat
  • Quinoa
  • Eggs
  • Mackerel
  • Halibut
  • Salmon
  • Bacon
  • Chicken breast

The amount of magnesium you get from these food items is low and while long term use of these food items will certainly help you to get rid of your magnesium deficiency. They may not help you to resolve your current problem of constipation.

Use magnesium supplements for constipation.

Precautions and Tips

Magnesium citrate works inside your intestine and doesn't affect your entire body. This makes it relatively safer particularly when taken for a shorter period.

Take get following precautions while consuming magnesium citrate

Excessive consumption can cause diarrhoea
Long term use can disturb the electrolyte balance in your body.
Consume more water as magnesium takes most body fluids to the intestine keeping the rest of the body dehydrated.
Too much magnesium can cause magnesium toxicity.

It is always important to monitor the consumption of magnesium citrate and get alerted if these symptoms are experienced.

Otherwise magnesium citrate in reasonable doses is a safe remedy for constipation.