Magnesium citrate is a magnesium preparation or a chemical agent used as a saline laxative. This article provides some information about the uses and side effects of the same.
The human body needs a continuous supply of certain essential nutrients. Carbohydrates, proteins, and fats are considered as macronutrients as they are required in large amounts for the normal functioning of the body. However, the body also needs certain vitamins and minerals to function properly. Magnesium is one such mineral needed by the body, and magnesium citrate is the form in which magnesium is easily absorbed in the body.
What is Magnesium Citrate
Although magnesium is required in small amounts by the body, it plays a key role in over 300 different metabolic reactions in the body. Magnesium citrate is the magnesium salt of citric acid, obtained by the chemical reaction between magnesium carbonate and citric acid. It is considered as one of the most easily absorbable forms of magnesium and hence, is often used as a nutritional supplement. The magnesium content of this citrate salt is approximately 11%. It is available in the form of pills, oral solution, or as powder.
This compound is a hyperosmotic saline laxative that is commonly used to treat constipation. Once in the body, it works by pulling water from the cells and tissues into the small intestine, by a process known as osmosis. It attracts enough water to the small intestine to induce defecation.
Apart from being used as a laxative, these supplements are used for treating problems related to the colon and the rectum. It is also used as a dietary supplement to meet the daily magnesium requirement of the body. It also boosts the immune function of the body, helps in ammonia scavenging, enhances neuromuscular transmission, and acts as a calcium binder to the teeth. It is also used to treat kidney stones.
The compound is used as a bowel preparation to empty the intestine before a surgery. When this magnesium laxative is administered into the body, it attracts enough water into the intestine to stimulate bowel movements. This results in the complete elimination of all the waste matter that is present in the colon and cleans the bowel. However, there are certain bowel prep instructions that need to be followed. One can consult the physician for the same.
Despite the several benefits of this compound, there are some side effects associated with its use. These side effects generally arise when the compound is taken inappropriately or in excess. Some of the common side effects include dizziness, headache, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and excessive sweating. Some people may experience allergic reactions such as skin rash, facial swelling, shortness of breath, chest pain, and weakness. Although not life-threatening, these side effects can progress to severe conditions, in the absence of treatment.
Hence, it is advisable to seek medical attention when one observes any of these side effects. Pregnant women and nursing mothers should strictly avoid this laxative. This supplement as laxative is not recommended for those affected by stomach disorders, kidney diseases, and heart problems.
The preparation works best when taken on an empty stomach, followed by sufficient amounts of liquids. However, to avoid any unwanted side effects, it is advisable to consult a qualified health care professional for appropriate dosage.
Disclaimer: This WellnessKeen article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.