Does Magnesium Citrate Cause Bloating?

Does Magnesium Citrate Cause Bloating

Magnesium citrate is a commonly used supplement known for its ability to support functions like muscle and nerve performance, heart health, and bone integrity. However, like any supplement, it carries a potential risk of side effects.

Many people worry about whether magnesium citrate causes bloating. It’s important to know how the body reacts to magnesium citrate, so you can handle and reduce any unwanted effects if you decide to use it.

In today’s article, we discuss whether magnesium citrate causes bloating. We’ll look at its benefits and possible side effects, explain how the body uses this supplement, and give tips on handling any discomfort.

What is Magnesium Citrate?

Magnesium citrate is a type of medicine called a saline laxative. Doctors prescribe it to treat constipation or before certain medical procedures.

Magnesium citrate works by attracting water into the intestines, which can help with bowel movements and relieve constipation. This form of magnesium is available over-the-counter in both pill and liquid forms which makes it accessible for various needs.

What is it Used For?

Magnesium citrate is used mainly to relieve occasional constipation. By drawing water into the intestines, magnesium citrate softens the stool and promotes a bowel movement which provide relief within 30 minutes to 6 hours.

It is sometimes used before bowel surgeries or tests like colonoscopies to help clear out the bowel. Besides being a laxative, it’s also taken as a supplement to fix low magnesium levels, which helps with muscle and nerve functions.

Side Effects of Magnesium Citrate

Some possible side effects of magnesium citrate include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Nausea
  • Electrolyte imbalance
  • Gas
  • Increased thirst
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Low blood pressure

These side effects are not harmful in most cases but they can be uncomfortable and disruptive to daily activities. It’s important to follow the recommended dosage and consult a doctor if you experience any severe or persistent symptoms.

Understanding Bloating and Its Causes

Bloating is a common condition that results in a feeling of fullness and tightness in the abdomen, often accompanied by visible swelling or distension. This can occur due to different reasons, like the buildup of gas within the digestive system, overeating, hormonal changes, or certain medical conditions.

Common Causes of Bloating

There are many common causes of bloating, such as:

  • Gas build-up: This often occurs when undigested food is broken down in the large intestine, releasing gas.
  • Overeating: Consuming large meals can stretch the stomach and may cause a sensation of bloating.
  • Swallowing air: Talking while eating, drinking through a straw, or chewing gum can cause more air to be swallowed and cause of it.
  • Certain foods: Foods like beans, lentils, carbonated drinks, and certain vegetables such as broccoli and cabbage can also contribute to gas and bloating.
  • Food intolerances: Lactose intolerance or gluten sensitivity can lead to bloating when consuming dairy products or gluten.
  • Constipation: Hard stools in the intestines can slow down the digestive process, causing bloating.
  • Hormonal changes: Many women experience bloating as a symptom of PMS or during the menstrual cycle.

Can Magnesium Citrate Really Cause Bloating?

Yes, magnesium citrate can cause bloating in some people. Although it’s a relatively common side effect, it’s important to understand why it happens.

Magnesium citrate works by drawing water into the intestines to facilitate bowel movements. This increased water content can lead to the production of gas which may result in bloating and discomfort.

Also, since magnesium citrate stimulates bowel activity, the rapid movement of the intestines can trap gas and cause discomfort.

People who are sensitive or take larger amounts are more likely to feel bloated or have stomach issues like diarrhea and cramps.

So if you decide to use magnesium citrate and are concerned about bloating, try starting with a smaller amount to see how your body reacts. Drink plenty of water to help with any discomfort.

RELATED: Can You Take Magnesium Glycinate and Magnesium Threonate Together?

Dosage and Recommendations

For the right dosage of magnesium citrate, it’s important to follow your healthcare provider’s advice and stick to the guidelines on the product label.

Generally, for treating constipation in adults, the recommended dosage is 195-300 mL PO (by mouth) in a single daily dose or in divided doses with a full glass of water. Follow these directions to get the best results and avoid side effects like bloating or stomach discomfort. If your symptoms are severe or don’t go away, talk to a healthcare provider. 

General Dosage Guidelines

  • For Adults and Children 12 years and older: 240 mL (approximately 10 fluid ounces) of liquid magnesium citrate, taken preferably on an empty stomach.
  • For Children 6 to 11 years old: 100-150 mL (approximately 5 fluid ounces) of liquid magnesium citrate, but it’s vital to consult a pediatrician before administering.
  • For Children under 6 years old: Use under the guidance and supervision of a doctor.

Recommendations for Use

  1. Start with a Lower Dose: If you’re using magnesium citrate for the first time, it’s often a good idea to start with a smaller dose to see how your body reacts.
  2. Stay Hydrated: Drinking plenty of water is crucial while taking magnesium citrate to help prevent dehydration and aid in the effectiveness of the laxative action.
  3. Timing: It’s best taken when you have easy access to a restroom as its effects can begin in as little as 30 minutes but may take up to 6 hours.
  4. Dietary Considerations: Incorporate dietary fibres like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to help maintain regular bowel movements and possibly reduce the need for frequent laxative use.
  5. Consult a Healthcare Provider: Before starting magnesium citrate, consult with a doctor, especially if you have medical conditions such as kidney disease, heart disease, or stomach/intestinal problems.

Alternatives to Magnesium Citrate

Natural Remedies for Constipation

If you’d prefer to avoid using magnesium citrate, there are several natural remedies that may help alleviate constipation:

  • Dietary Fiber: Increasing intake of fiber-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes can help maintain regular bowel movements.
  • Hydration: Drinking plenty of water throughout the day helps keep stools soft and supports digestive health.
  • Exercise: Regular physical activity stimulates digestion and can help prevent constipation.
  • Probiotics: Consuming probiotic-rich foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, or taking a daily probiotic supplement can improve gut health and assist with bowel regularity.
  • Prunes and Prune Juice: Prunes are high in fiber and contain sorbitol, which acts as a natural laxative.
  • Magnesium-Rich Foods: Including foods high in magnesium, like leafy green vegetables, nuts, and seeds, can support digestive health.

ALSO READ: 7-Second Bowel Release Morning Ritual by Dr. Gina Sam

Over-the-Counter Alternatives

There are also many over-the-counter alternatives to magnesium citrate that can help you in relieving constipation:

  • Psyllium Husk: A natural fiber supplement that adds bulk to stools and helps with regularity.
  • Docusate Sodium: A stool softener that makes it easier to pass stools.
  • Bisacodyl: A stimulant laxative that promotes bowel movements by stimulating intestinal muscles.
  • Polyethylene Glycol (PEG): An osmotic laxative that retains water in the stool to soften it and make bowel movements more comfortable.
  • Senna: A natural laxative derived from the pods and leaves of the senna plant that stimulates bowel activity.

When considering any alternative, it’s always best to consult with a healthcare provider to ensure it’s suitable for your specific health needs.


Magnesium citrate is a helpful supplement with many health benefits, but it can make some people feel bloated. By knowing the possible side effects, adjusting your dosage, and considering alternatives, you can enjoy the advantages of magnesium citrate without the discomfort.

If you’re experiencing persistent bloating or other digestive issues, consult with a provider to determine the best course of action. And remember, achieving digestive health is a journey—stay informed, be patient, and listen to your body.


How can I reduce bloating caused by magnesium citrate?

To reduce bloating caused by magnesium citrate, start with a lower dose and gradually increase it to see how your body reacts. Drink plenty of water to help alleviate discomfort and aid bowel movements. Try to take magnesium citrate on an empty stomach and incorporate dietary fiber into your diet to support regular digestive function.

What is the best time to take magnesium citrate for constipation?

The best time to take magnesium citrate for constipation is when you have easy access to a restroom, as its effects can start anywhere from 30 minutes to 6 hours after consumption. Ideally, take it on an empty stomach for quicker results, but always follow the recommendations of your healthcare provider.

How long does magnesium citrate stay in your system?

Magnesium citrate generally stays in your system for about 20 to 24 hours. The effects of the laxative, such as bowel movements, usually start within 30 minutes to 6 hours after ingestion and can last for several hours. However, the exact duration can vary based on individual factors like metabolism and overall digestive health.



The information provided in this article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Don’t ignore professional medical advice or put off seeking it just because of something you read here. Although we aim to offer precise and current information, we do not guarantee its completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability, or availability for any purpose. Using the information in this document is at your own risk. We are not responsible for any losses or damages caused by our content.

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