Health Benefits

Magnesium for Constipation

| Modified on Apr 04, 2024
Magnesium for Constipation

Magnesium is an effective natural treatment for constipation. There are many different forms of magnesium that can be used to achieve the desired results. Many who have suffered with constipation for decades have found relief with this simple remedy. Magnesium is helpful for constipation whether it is a temporary or chronic problem.

What Kind of Magnesium Should I take for Constipation?

Magnesium Citrate

Magnesium citrate can be found in powder form. 1/2 teaspoon contains 315 mg of magnesium.Capsules of magnesium citrate contain different amounts of magnesium, according to each manufacturer. There are ionic forms of magnesium citrate that are created to be easily absorbed and tasty to consume.

Epsom Salt

Most people are aware of the use of Epsom salt for soaking sprained ankles or muscle injuries. However, if you check your package directions, you will find instructions for taking Epsom salt internally for occasional relief of constipation. 1 teaspoon of Epsom salt contains 495 mg of magnesium sulfate.

Milk of Magnesia

Milk of Magnesia has been on the market since 1872. That is quite a history for a health product! Milk of magnesia contains 1200 mg of magnesium hydroxide per tablespoon. (Some brands and different concentrations may contain different amounts.) Usually 2-4 tablespoons is recommended for relief of occasional constipation. (Always check your package directions, though.) Typically, relief is experienced in 1/2 - 6 hours.

Magnesium Oil

Magnesium oil is made my dissolving magnesium chloride in pure water. It is usually sprayed on the skin to be absorbed transdermally, but some take it internally. 5 sprays of magnesium oil contains about 100 mg of magnesium. It can be added to water or juice for internal use.

How Much Magnesium Should I Take?

The RDA for magnesium is between 300-400 mg for adults, daily. Food sources of magnesium include nuts, legumes, leafy greens and whole grains. Many people do not get enough magnesium from their food. You may also need more magnesium than average if you exercise, or if your body doesn't absorb nutrients well from your food.

More is not necessarily better. While magnesium is water soluble and your body will generally flush out the excess on a daily basis, too much magnesium will cause uncomfortable symptoms as the body flushes out the excess. Magnesium is a relaxant, which is part of why it helps with constipation. It also draws water into the colon. If you have too much relaxing and water in the colon, you will get diarrhea and possibly stomach cramping, bloating, and gas.

With most supplements, it is best to start with less and increase slowly to reduce the risk of side effects. With magnesium, begin with a dose at bedtime. If that is not adequate for you, try a dose in the morning and in the evening. If that does not suffice, increase the amount of each dose. If you begin to experience loose stools, cut back a bit.

If your body has been low in magnesium for a long time, you may end up needing a surprising amount. You may also experience other health benefits from taking magnesium, including better sleep and less anxiety.

Magnesium should always be taken with plenty of water. Inadequate water intake is common with those with constipation. Because the magnesium is drawing water into the colon, it is removing it from the body. You will need to replace that water and make sure you are well hydrated.

Can I Use Magnesium Externally to Relieve Constipation?

Some will find that magnesium oil, sprayed on the skin, or Epsom salt baths will relieve constipation. Others need to either use these remedies internally, or choose another magnesium option for internal use.

How Long Can I Take a Magnesium Supplement for Constipation?

Some people take a magnesium supplement every day. However, you should follow manufacturers directions for taking magnesium supplements. If you find yourself needing a lot more magnesium than 500 mg a day, you may need to consider what factors are contributing to your constipation and try and eliminate the root cause of constipation. Dietary changes are usually the best solution for chronic constipation.

Magnesium for Constipation: Warnings

Too much magnesium can cause side effects, including diarrhea, cramping, low blood pressure, and heart irregularities. To avoid risks, start with smaller amounts and increase your dose slowly. Always monitor the effect that new supplements are having on your body.

Because magnesium supplements can interfere with medications, magnesium should be taken two hours before or after you take medications. If you are using magnesium on a daily basis and take prescription medications, you should consult with your doctor to make sure the combination is appropriate.

People with kidney problems also should work with their doctors to make sure that magnesium supplementation will not interfere with their kidney condition.

Have you tried magnesium for constipation? What type did you use? How did it work for you? Continue reading to learn how our readers fared when they took magnesium!

29 User Reviews

Posted by Nat (Brooklyn NY) on 08/18/2022

Magnesium long term worsens constipation

Magnesium and other stimulant supplements (such as senna leaf) may help tremendously in the beginning. But over time, more and more is required, and then they stop working.

Magnesium Citrate (and other magnesium forms) if taken in larger dosages should only be used short-term or from time to time.

Posted by Dly1972 (Oregon) on 07/14/2018

As far back as I can remember, I have always been someone who only had two-three bowel movements per week. When I was pregnant with my first, I had horrible constipation and nothing seemed to work. I ended up with hemorrhoids. About four or five years ago someone mentioned trying magnesium for regularity. It has worked wonders for me and helped me to have a daily BM. I recently went to my annual physical and asked my doctor who knows I have been taking magnesium for years if it was okay that I have been using it long-term. For some reason they had in my charts that I was using the oxide version. He recommended I try stool softeners or some of the other OTC methods you see commercials for. Well, I have tried three stool softeners a day for the past several days and have only had two BM and now have hemorrhoids again. I have blood work done every year and everything always is great. I am thinking I should just go back to what was working for me.

Anyone else using mag. citrate long-term without any long-term complications? The doctor told me that the dose that is normal for prescribing is 1.7g and I am only taking 400mg every night.

Replied by Teena
(Melbourne, Australia)
233 posts

Dly1972, actually there are concerns that the way some mag citrate is manufactured creates msg. I have used mag malate with success in the past, the malate is what is in Apple cider vinegar, now though I use food grade Epsom salts, as the body needs sulphur too. Magnesium is vital for every microscopic cell in your body. And can stop a heart attack. Best to you.

Replied by Sophie
(United Kingdom)

I've been taking magnesium, both magnesium citrate and magnesium chloride (liquid version) for years. It's been great for ending constipation and insomnia.


I do not think there are long term use consequences, quite the opposite. Also, take Cholacol by Standard Process with a large (fatty)meal and HCL, that would definitely cure your constipations.

Posted by Yolanda (Los Angeles, Ca) on 04/06/2016

Never felt so light and constipation free for as long as I can remember. No doubt magnesium helped. I have literally tried everything else for constipation. 2 tablets of magnesium citrate 200 mg before bedtime is all it takes. And I need to mention it also helped me ease my anxiety and I am sleeping like a baby every night. Now I am always excited to wake up in the morning because my trip in the bathroom is eazy breazy. 😊

A warning though.. Make sure you have no problems in your kidney before you take it. And check with your doctor if you have any other ailments. Thanks Earth Clinic for the chance to share this and be able to help others who are in the same boat as I was!!

Posted by Lou (Tyler, Tx) on 11/06/2015

If you chase the Epsom salts with fresh squeezed grapefruit juice, it takes away that bad after taste.

Posted by Empressvee (Philadelphia, PA) on 08/23/2014

Amazed and thrilled at how quickly magnesium cured my chronic constipation! Started with 1000 mgs at night, found that was a bit much, dropped to 500, taken every night, have easy bm at least once a day, usually twice.

Posted by Carriec (Southern Utah, Usa) on 03/17/2013

I am one that has had constipation problems since I was a child. A couple years ago I found Magnesium did wonders, and since the product 'C--m' came out in the powdered form I just purchased the magnesium as Magnesium Citrate POWDER. It's less than $10 bucks and you can easily stir the amount you need in water. I drink it before bedtime. I sleep like a baby thru the nite, and, like clockwork, have a bowel movement in the morning. For someone who has struggled with this condition since age 4 (which means 4 decades now) I feel like I have found the miracle cure and I'm finally "normal". For those that don't like the sour taste of citrate, I mix some Stevia in it. I sure wish my mother would have known of the simplicity of Magnesium Citrate Powder when I was a child. It's so simple and easy for a child to take. You could easily mix it with orange juice or the like. I just hope this information helps you mothers out there. Like many other posts have stated, we seem to be a magnesium deficient people right now.

Posted by Anon (Anon) on 10/03/2012

I've tried psyllium, magnesium sulfate, teas, salt water. They all work, but taking a single magnesium pill works faster and seems much gentler. And it doesn't taste bad. Don't recall the dosage. I try to take zinc, potassium, calcium with it to keep the minerals balanced. It seems to work for indigestion, too. Might work for acid reflux, which I don't get.

Posted by Dimple (Sandpoint, Idaho, Usa) on 01/02/2012

I have had issues with constipation most of my life. For a long time I used wheat bran, and it worked quite well, but I developed an allergy to wheat. Nothing else worked until, after I found this site, I read about using magnesium. I had some epsom salts, so I dissolved some in water and drank it. It worked well, and I had relief next morning. Now I take Magnesium oxide tablets, 250 mg, one 3 times a day. Problem solved!

Posted by Maria (Gippsland, Australia) on 09/22/2011

Magnesium is great for constipation, it can also be cheap. Start at a lower dose and gradually increase it till you have loose bowel movements then back the dose down until they are not loose. You will probably need to go back and forth to find the dose that is right for you. For some reason some of us have greater needs for magnesium and I have found most people I know who deal with long term constipation issues (often from childhood) have a much greater need for it. Magnesium chloride made into magnesium oil is great, but I and many others have used with success epsom salts. Used because of its availability and price. We started with 1/4 teaspoon first thing in the morning and also in the evening and generally taking it up to 1 teaspoon then lowering it. Have a chaser of water with lemon juice to follow for the taste. Currently I'm using magnesium citrate as I was able to get it for a good price at the time.

If your feces contains undigested food you need digestive enzymes. As these can be expensive you could first try ginger, taken as tablets or powdered ginger in hot water (ginger tea) with each meal. For some people the ginger works, after 3 - 6 months use, better than the enzymes. Also make sure you drink enough water and eat plenty of veg for fibre.

Posted by Joylie (Solana Beach, Ca) on 08/18/2011

Magnesium is very important for solving constipation problems. Some people take 400 to 600 mgs. I don't always take that much, but I do make sure I have plenty of magnesium. I also squirt a little magnesium oil on me.

Posted by Warren (Costa Mesa, Ca) on 07/31/2011

Lots of great coments and remedies for consipition. I've tried most of them and the last thing of which I'm doing now is 1 tbsp of Epson salts with plenty of water. Epson salts is really gross tasting so I put in capsules. It takes 10 caps for a tbsp, so the going down is smooth.

Replied by John
(Boise, Id)

Thanks for the info. For me it takes 1/2 TBSP in a large glass of water before going to bed and another dose upon arising. Sometimes I have a second dose in the morning. It works easy and very cheap.

Posted by Redclary (Oklahoma City, Ok) on 06/28/2011

I would like to know more about pressure points. I like the results so far. I had a 9 lb breach baby 38 years ago. All turned out well but for awhile I had constipation problems like you would not believe. An older doctor that I went to told me to take 5T of Milk of Magnesia with a full glass of warm water then drink two more warm waters later in the day. Do this for week one. Next week lower it to 4T and continue for five weeks until you are down to 1T. Of course I was staying home. Everything the regular doctor and the hospital gave me did not help. This worked wonderfully and I never had any more problems with constipation after that.

Posted by Bg43214 (Columbus, Oh, Usa) on 04/25/2011

I tried the ACV 'solution' for constipation and had very bad luck with it........

Now I use magnesium capsules, 500 mg. , and take one each day after suppertime...... I did not have really bad constipation, but thought I could do better in that 'department', so to speak!!

I took one capsule for 10 days in a row and got incredible results..... now I will try taking one every other day for 10 days to see what happens with that 'dosage'.......

I'm one of those 'every 2 - 3 days' kinda guys; imagine my utter amazement when, within 3 days, I was 'going' every day for 6 days in a row!!! And without any diarrhea-type misery!! I never in my life did that.......... but now I'm going to experiment with the every other day and see how that works out.....

Believe me, if you've tried everything with no luck, try magnesium capsules!!!!!!

They are far better than forcing down Apple Cider Vinegar with water everyday!! YUK!!

so grab yourself some magnesium capsules and away you'll go!!!!!!!!!!!

Replied by Mario

ACV gives me constipation for some reason.

Posted by Lily (Brisbane, Queensland, Australia) on 03/01/2011

Hi Jennifer, I always found fibre to be very unhelpful for constipation, as soon as I started taking magnesium which I was difficient in, the constipation went away. Vitamin c in high doses will help also. Lily.

Posted by Suzief1 (Huntington Beach, Ca) on 06/04/2010

magnesium and calcium are excellent to help with constipation... Had problems my entire life and when I hit 50 decided I needed extra calcium and it was recommended to take it with magnesium for obsorbtion... I am now for the the past 6 yrs. regular and sleep like a baby! I take two pills at bedtime with a large glass of water and the results are great in the morning! Good luck... And trust me! This works!

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