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Magnesium is needed for a number of vital functions of our bodies. Magnesium is also useful for providing relief from constipation.
However, consuming too much of magnesium, or taking the wrong magnesium supplement could make you end up with the runs.
If you’re wondering about which type of magnesium supplement you should take (just in case you feel blocked), read on.
Magnesium, by itself, is an unstable ion and needs to be bound to another substance, such as oxygen, citric acid, chloride or amino acid, in order to become stable. Each of these “partners” have varying properties.
In fact, the difference between various magnesium supplement is due to the differences in the substances magnesium binds to. Therefore, the choice of magnesium supplement depends entirely on an individual’s need. Following are some types of magnesium supplements and how effective they are as laxatives.
Magnesium Hydroxide also known as “Milk of Magnesia”, is one of the most common compounds in the market. Normally, it is used as a laxative, but if taken in excess, magnesium hydrochloride can cause diarrhea. This is because only 4% of it gets absorbed by the body. The remaining 96% passes through the intestines unabsorbed, causing a laxative effect.
Magnesium Citrate is a combination of magnesium and citric acid. It is absorbed by the body better than most magnesium compounds (approximately 20%), due to which it has a milder laxative effect than magnesium hydroxide.
Magnesium sulfate is a potent laxative, and causes diarrhea and bloating when administered intravenously. However, unlike other compounds, this compound has a better degree of absorbability through the skin. Thus, it is used more as a bath salt (commonly known as Epsom salt) than as a laxative. Due to this property, it is added to body lotions as well. These salts are not meant to be consumed orally, and when applied topically, are not very effective as laxatives either.
Magnesium malate is a combination of magnesium and malic acid. Both, malic acid and magnesium, provide relief from the symptoms of fibromyalgia by boosting the body’s ability synthesize ATP and generate energy (ATP aka adenosine triphosphate is a molecule that provides energy on activation). This combination also produces a mild laxative effect that is similar to magnesium citrate.
To conclude, magnesium hydroxide is the strongest laxative among all due to its low absorbability level. However, it should be taken in small amounts to prevent diarrhea, and subsequent dehydration.
Magnesium is contraindicated in patients with renal problems as well as patients who are on certain antibiotics, diuretics and beta-blockers. Do remember to talk to your doctor before you start a course of magnesium for constipation.