Q:

How does magnesium citrate relieve constipation?

A:

Quick Answer

Magnesium citrate is an osmotic laxative that softens stool by drawing more water into the intestines, according to Dr. Steve Clark, N.D. It also relaxes bowel spasms. Magnesium is a muscle relaxant.

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Full Answer

Dr. Steve Clark recommends using magnesium citrate to relieve constipation because it is gentle, non-addictive and does not cause bowel spasms or urgency unless the recommended dosage is exceeded. He recommends taking no more than 300 milligrams with each meal, for a maximum of 900 milligrams per day. It is also safe for pregnant and nursing women.

Magnesium citrate causes bowel movements within 30 minutes to six hours of the initial dose, reports MedicineNet. It is available as a liquid or in tablet form and is sometimes prescribed to evacuate the bowels completely. Children under the age of 12 should not take more than 210 milliliters per day, while children between the ages of 2 and 6 are further limited to 90 milliliters per day. Adults and children alike should take magnesium citrate with a full glass of water.

Magnesium citrate is known to interact poorly with several medications and antibiotics, according to MedicineNet. The laxative decreases the body's ability to absorb them and obtain their full therapeutic benefit.

Side effects include bloating, cramping and diarrhea, says MedicineNet. More serious side effects include nausea, vomiting and electrolyte imbalance.

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