Magnesium citrate generally works within three hours. However, the effectiveness of magnesium citrate depends on a number of factors, such as dosage, condition being treated and whether it is taken on an empty stomach. Drinking 8 ounces of water when taking magnesium citrate is the best way to speed up its effects.
Magnesium citrate is used to remove stools from the intestines. Magnesium citrate is most often given to patients before a surgical procedure. For example, patients are directed to take magnesium citrate prior to a colonoscopy so that the test can be performed accurately. Magnesium citrate is also used to alleviate constipation and bloating.
Magnesium citrate is a saline laxative that works by increasing the fluid level in the small intestines. When the intestines are lubricated, stools flow more freely, which eliminates constipation. In addition to relieving constipation, magnesium citrate also promotes the body to produce more stools.
Magnesium citrate is only intended to be used sporadically. If this product is used frequently in a short amount of time, severe intestinal problems occur. Symptoms of overuse include diarrhea, vomiting, stomach cramps, weakness and weight loss. It's important to take magnesium as directed because too much use causes the intestines to only produce a stool when activated by the magnesium citrate.