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Magnesium Citrate Side Effects

Magnesium Citrate Side Effects

Magnesium citrate, a rich source of magnesium, plays a key role in the metabolic reactions of our body. However, its improper use can have several side effects. Read on to know more...
Bidisha Mukherjee
Last Updated: Feb 8, 2018
Magnesium citrate is a common magnesium salt which is made from magnesium carbonate and citric acid. It is a chemical agent with some excellent medicinal values. Its magnesium content is as high as eleven percent. For this reason, it is often taken as a nutritional supplement. The magnesium available from this can be absorbed by our body quite easily, and so, it is considered to be an important supplementary source of magnesium. Consumption of adequate amounts of vitamin B6 enhances the process of absorption of magnesium into cells.
Side Effects of Magnesium Supplements
Magnesium citrate supplement is more or less safe for people of all age groups except for small children who are below the age of 9 years. It can be taken by elderly people as well. According to The Agricultural Research Service of USDA (United States Department of Agriculture), the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of magnesium for men and women over age 31 is 420 mg and 320 mg daily respectively. For small and young children below 19, you should consult your physician for proper dosage of the supplements. Magnesium citrate does not cause any harm to your body as long as it is taken in correct dosage. If taken in excess, it has a number of side effects. Moreover, it should not be used by people with certain medical conditions. Some side effects are listed below:
  • Discomfort and Diarrhea: Intake of magnesium citrate can lead to severe diarrhea in some people. Actually, when too much of water is pulled out into the intestine, it results in frequent bowel movements and watery stools. In such cases, diarrhea is often accompanied by abdominal discomfort, cramps, bloating, etc.
  • Nausea and Vomiting: Some people complain about mild nausea after taking the supplement which may even result in loss of appetite. However, if severe nausea and vomiting occur together, then it could be a sign of an overdose. In that case, a doctor needs to be consulted.
  • Allergic Reaction: It can cause severe allergic reaction in some people which can be identified with skin rashes, itching, swelling of face, lips or tongue, rectal bleeding, choking, breathing difficulty, etc. Such reactions need to be evaluated by doctors immediately.
  • Giddiness and Dizziness: In some rare cases, people experience giddiness or lightheadedness. If it is mild and is happening once in a while, then it can be ignored. However, frequent episodes of dizziness could be a possible indication of high levels of magnesium in the blood.
  • Abdominal Pain: Constipation often hurts the stomach due to pressure from the intestines and this pain gets aggravated by the intake of magnesium citrate. This is because the laxative tries to force out the fecal matter through the intestines.
  • Increased Dependency: Patients suffering from chronic constipation should not take it for a prolonged period of time as the body may lose its natural ability to carry out the function of bowel movement. In this condition, their body becomes dependent on laxative for bowel movements.
  • Interference with Other Medicines: It may interfere with the working of other medicines. So, if you are taking any other medicine, ask your doctor whether you can take it or not. While taking this laxative with any other drugs, you must make sure that there is a gap of 2 hours between its consumption and other medicines.
  • Worsening of the Condition: It is not suitable for those people who have kidney diseases, heart ailments or any history of anal fissures. Pregnant women should avoid it as the drug can aggravate the problem of fluid retention further. Lactating mother should not use it as it can enter the body of the infant through breast milk.
Magnesium citrate is often used as a saline laxative. Before any surgery, it is administered to the patient to evacuate the bowel. When taken orally, it has a natural tendency to draw out large amount of water from the tissues into the bowel. This excess of water inside the small intestine promotes bowel movement and facilitates faster elimination of wastes from the body. For this reason, it is used for treating constipation and other colon or rectal problems.
You must have noticed that the side effects of magnesium citrate can vary from mild to severe. Usually, it does not lead to any serious life-threatening conditions. However, if you notice any of the side effects after taking the supplement, then you must stop using it and inform your doctor about the same. You can prevent some of these complications if you take the supplement in an empty stomach and follow it up with ample amounts of fluid like water or fruit juice.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.