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Although constipation is a symptom of an underlying problem that should be addressed, sometimes urgent action is required to move things along. Magnesium citrate has a high success rate when used as a constipation remedies alternative.
Magnesium Citrate to the Rescue?
Constipation, which can include infrequent elimination, difficulty passing stools, incomplete bowel movements, or lacking the need for a bowel movement, can be toxic and stressful to the body. Metabolic waste, detoxified hormones, and environmental toxins that would normally be excreted through the bowels accumulate in the intestines, where they are absorbed back into the bloodstream. This not only eventually damages the lining of the intestinal walls; it also increases the body’s toxic burden. Symptoms of constipation include hormonal imbalances (PMS or menopausal symptoms), bad breath, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, headaches, heartburn, and indigestion. For these reasons, the use of magnesium citrate as a laxative can cleanse the bowels of these toxins and improve symptoms.
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Using Magnesium Citrate as a Laxative
Magnesium citrate works on constipation by pulling water into the intestines to increase stool volume and make the stool softer, which encourages peristalsis, or contraction and relaxation of the intestines. For constipation remedies purposes, most people have success mixing a powdered magnesium citrate in water or taking it as a supplement in capsule form.
However, taking too much magnesium citrate can quickly cause significant, watery diarrhea, so it’s important to start slowly and dose your way up to an effective level. You can either take it throughout the day or in a larger dose at night for a morning bowel movement. Some doctors recommend not exceeding 1,000 mg a day. Unlike some laxative herbs, magnesium citrate does not cause stomach cramps and is considered safe and gentle when used appropriately.
Magnesium Citrate: Much More Than an Alternative Constipation Remedy
When used appropriately, magnesium citrate does more than encourage healthy bowel movements. The mineral magnesium plays a role in more than 300 metabolic functions, including energy production and storage, the breakdown of fatty acids, protein synthesis, neurotransmitter activity, hormone regulation, muscle relaxation, and bone health. Many people also find taking magnesium citrate to be calming, making it a nice pre-bedtime ritual.
Determine the Cause of Your Constipation
Magnesium citrate can be highly effective in addressing constipation. However, if your constipation is chronic, it’s important to address the underlying cause. Causes of chronic constipation can include:
- Not drinking enough water
- Not eating enough fiber
- Poor thyroid function
- Gut dysbiosis—lack of healthy gut bacteria
- Lack of digestive enzymes
- Poor liver health
- Low stomach acid
- Poor communication between the brain and the digestive system
- Brain chemistry imbalances
- Food intolerances
- Chronic inflammation
- Magnesium deficiency
Relieving chronic constipation successfully will require addressing the underlying cause, which is certainly unique to each individual. Some successful approaches:
- Drink more water
- Increase fiber intake
- Eliminate gluten and dairy from the diet
- Take probiotics
- Address gut infections
- Manage a hypothyroid condition
- Boost low stomach acid with hydrochloric acid
- Follow an anti-inflammatory diet
So if you’re looking for safe, natural constipation remedies while you’re working on those true underlying causes, consider magnesium citrate. People with kidney disease or severe heart disease should take magnesium only under a doctor’s supervision.
Originally published in 2012, this post has been updated.