Magnesium supplements are a popular choice among people looking to support their overall health and well-being. Magnesium citrate is a common form of magnesium supplement that is known for its laxative effects. While magnesium citrate can be an effective way to relieve constipation, it can also come with some unwanted side effects. For this reason, we recommend taking magnesium glycinate instead of magnesium citrate.
In this article, we'll explore the side effects of magnesium citrate and why magnesium glycinate may be a better choice for most people.
Side Effects of Magnesium Citrate
Magnesium citrate works by drawing water into the intestines, which can help soften stools and relieve constipation. However, this same mechanism of action can also lead to unwanted side effects, particularly in high doses. Some of the most common side effects of magnesium citrate include:
- Diarrhea: Magnesium citrate can cause loose stools or diarrhea, particularly when taken in high doses.
- Nausea: Some people may experience nausea or vomiting after taking magnesium citrate.
- Abdominal cramping: Magnesium citrate can cause abdominal cramping or discomfort.
- Dehydration: Magnesium citrate can cause the body to lose water, which can lead to dehydration if not properly managed.
- Electrolyte imbalances: Magnesium citrate can also disrupt the balance of electrolytes in the body, which can have a number of negative effects on health.
While these side effects are generally mild and go away on their own once magnesium citrate is discontinued, they can be uncomfortable and even dangerous in some cases. In rare cases, magnesium citrate can also cause allergic reactions, such as hives, swelling on the face, neck, throat, or tongue, or cause difficulty in breathing.
Why Magnesium Glycinate May Be a Better Choice
Magnesium glycinate is another form of magnesium supplement that is known for its high bioavailability and low risk of side effects. Unlike magnesium citrate, magnesium glycinate is less likely to cause digestive upset, making it a better choice for people with sensitive stomachs or digestive issues.
In addition, magnesium glycinate is better absorbed by the body than most other forms of magnesium, meaning that it may be more effective at addressing magnesium deficiencies. Magnesium glycinate is also less likely to cause electrolyte imbalances, which can be a concern for people with kidney problems or other health issues.
Magnesium Glycinate is a well tolerated supplement that may help you with a number of health conditions. Click the image below to find out more.
In a randomized, double-blind study published in Magnesium Research, researchers found that magnesium glycinate was more bioavailable than other forms of magnesium, including magnesium citrate. This suggests that magnesium glycinate may be a better choice for people looking to supplement with magnesium.
How to Choose the Right Magnesium Supplement
When choosing a magnesium supplement, it's important to consider your own health needs and the potential side effects of different forms of magnesium. If you're looking for a supplement to relieve constipation, magnesium citrate may be an effective choice, but be aware of the potential side effects.
If you're looking for a magnesium supplement to support overall health and well-being, magnesium glycinate may be a better choice.
Magnesium Citrate Side Effects FAQ
What are the most common side effects of taking magnesium citrate?
Common side effects of magnesium citrate include diarrhea, stomach pain or cramping, nausea, and vomiting. These side effects occur because magnesium citrate is a strong laxative that can cause the intestines to contract and eliminate stools from the body.
How long do the side effects of magnesium citrate last?
The duration of the side effects of magnesium citrate can vary depending on the individual and the dosage taken. Typically, the side effects can last for a few hours to a day or two.
Can magnesium citrate cause diarrhea?
Yes, diarrhea is a common side effect of magnesium citrate. Magnesium citrate works by drawing water into the intestines, which can result in loose stools or diarrhea.
Can magnesium citrate cause stomach pain or cramping?
Yes, stomach pain or cramping can occur as a side effect of magnesium citrate. This is because magnesium citrate can cause the intestines to contract, leading to discomfort or pain.
Can magnesium citrate cause nausea or vomiting?
Yes, nausea and vomiting can occur as a side effect of magnesium citrate. This can happen due to the strong laxative effect of magnesium citrate, which can cause the stomach to empty its contents quickly.
Can magnesium citrate cause dehydration?
Yes, magnesium citrate can cause dehydration if it is not taken with enough water or if excessive amounts are consumed. Dehydration can lead to symptoms such as dry mouth, increased thirst, and decreased urination.
Can magnesium citrate cause low blood pressure?
Magnesium citrate can potentially cause low blood pressure as a side effect. This is because magnesium can have a relaxing effect on blood vessels, leading to a decrease in blood pressure. Individuals with low blood pressure or those taking medications that lower blood pressure should use magnesium citrate with caution.
Can magnesium citrate interact with other medications and cause side effects?
Yes, magnesium citrate can interact with other medications, leading to potential side effects. Individuals taking medications for heart disease, high blood pressure, or diabetes should talk to their healthcare provider before using magnesium citrate.
Who is most at risk for experiencing side effects from magnesium citrate?
Individuals who are elderly, have kidney disease, or have a history of digestive issues may be at higher risk for experiencing side effects from magnesium citrate. Additionally, those taking certain medications or supplements may also be at increased risk.
How can I prevent or reduce the side effects of magnesium citrate?
To prevent or reduce the side effects of magnesium citrate, it is important to take it as directed and with enough water. It may also be helpful to start with a lower dose and gradually increase it as tolerated. It is also recommended to avoid taking magnesium citrate with other medications or supplements unless directed by a healthcare provider. If side effects persist or are severe, you may wish to switch to a different type of magnesium supplement.
Magnesium supplements can be a helpful way to support overall health and well-being, but it's important to choose the right form of magnesium for your needs. While magnesium citrate can be an effective way to relieve constipation, it can also come with unwanted side effects. Magnesium glycinate may be a better choice for people looking to supplement with magnesium, as it is better absorbed and less likely to cause digestive upset.