Can Taking Magnesium Improve Your Digestive Health?

Magnesium is a vital element that the body needs for several vital processes, including blood pressure management and muscular contraction. Numerous foods, including as fruits, vegetables, and beans, contain concentrated forms of it. It may also be used as a supplement. Keeping your magnesium levels in check may benefit your digestive system as well as your general health.

Magnesium for Digestive Health

Constipation may be lessened with the aid of magnesium supplements. Additionally, it may lessen the signs and symptoms of a certain digestive disorders, including heartburn and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). However, diarrhea is one way that ingesting too much magnesium might harm your digestive system.

Here’s what you need to know about taking magnesium for digestive health.

The Link Between Magnesium and Your Digestive System

Research is currently ongoing to determine how magnesium affects the gastrointestinal system’s health and functionality. According to research, magnesium may have an impact on the gut-brain axis, a signalling channel that connects your brain to the rest of your body.

Food passage through the digestive tract is known to be influenced by gut motility, which is another effect of magnesium. By relaxing the intestines and attracting water into the digestive system, the mineral influences gut motility. This explains why magnesium may aid in the treatment of ailments like constipation.

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Furthermore, early studies indicate that magnesium may have an effect on the variety of the microbiota, which is the collective word for the trillions of bacteria that reside in your digestive system.

Research conducted on animals indicates that low or insufficient blood magnesium levels may lead to a reduction in the number of good bacteria, such species of Bifidobacterium. Increased amounts of inflammatory proteins and impaired intestinal integrity may also result from low blood magnesium levels.

Benefits of Magnesium for Digestive Health

Magnesium may be able to help your digestive health in a number of ways due to its effects on the digestive tract.

May Improve Certain Digestive Diseases

Magnesium levels are often lower in patients with digestive diseases such as celiac disease and IBD (which includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis) than in the general population. This is brought on by both reduced intestinal absorption of magnesium and magnesium losses as a result of diarrhea. For this reason, individuals with digestive disorders who need assistance in maintaining normal magnesium levels may be prescribed magnesium supplements.

Studies reveal that individuals with Crohn’s disease who have lower magnesium levels also often have greater rates of poor sleep quality and increased disease activity. Inflammation in the body may also be aggravated by low magnesium levels, which can increase the symptoms of inflammatory diseases like IBD. Therefore, for those with IBD, taking a magnesium supplement may aid with symptoms and overall disease activity. To be certain, additional investigation is necessary.

May Calm Heartburn and Indigestion

Medication based on magnesium is often used to relieve pain associated with digestion, such as dyspepsia and heartburn.

Heartburn is a severe burning sensation that may occur in your neck or chest and is caused by stomach acid travelling up your esophagus. Magnesium acts as a neutralizer of excess stomach acid, relieving heartburn. Because of this, magnesium plays a crucial role in antacid medications like Pepcid (famotidine).

Upper abdominal pain known as indigestion may result from a number of factors, including eating too rapidly. People with functional dyspepsia, also referred to as chronic indigestion, have been shown to benefit from magnesium supplements, such as magnesium oxide.

Magnesium and Constipation

Constipation is a common ailment that is characterized by hard stool, frequent straining, infrequent bowel movements, and a feeling of incomplete emptying. It is usually treated with magnesium supplements.

Supplements containing magnesium, such as magnesium oxide, are useful in easing constipation symptoms. As an osmotic laxative, magnesium oxide works by attracting water into the intestines to assist ease constipation. This stimulates the intestines and facilitates bowel movements by increasing the volume and water content of your stool.

For both adults and children, magnesium oxide is thought to be a short-term, safe, and efficient therapy for constipation. In fact, studies have shown that magnesium oxide relieves constipation just as well as senna, a herbal laxative.

The frequency of spontaneous bowel movements and participant-reported quality of life were found to be improved by daily therapy with 1.5 grams of magnesium oxide for 28 days, which was equally effective as daily treatment with 1 gram of senna, according to a small 2021 trial including 90 persons with chronic constipation.

While magnesium oxide has been the subject of the most research when it comes to treating constipation, other forms of magnesium, such magnesium sulphate and magnesium citrate, may also be useful.

Magnesium and Diarrhea

Magnesium does not work well to cure diarrhea, although it may aid with constipation. Actually, one of the biggest adverse effects of magnesium is diarrhea, particularly if you take too much of the supplement.

Magnesium may specifically induce diarrhea in the forms of magnesium carbonate, magnesium chloride, magnesium gluconate, and magnesium oxide. These kinds of magnesium salts may induce diarrhea because they stimulate the movement of food through the intestines and leave unabsorbed salts in the intestines.

Remember that this digestive impact can only be brought on by magnesium supplements and drugs containing magnesium. Inadvertently consuming an excessive amount of magnesium via diet is generally safe since your kidneys can eliminate any surplus magnesium through urine.

How Much Magnesium Do You Need?

Age and gender have an impact on magnesium requirements. These are the current suggested daily consumption levels of magnesium. Remember that this is a recommended for the overall amount of magnesium consumed via diet, which includes both food and supplements:

The amount of magnesium in modern diets is often insufficient to maintain normal blood levels. Indeed, studies indicate that over 50% of Americans do not consume enough magnesium on a regular basis.

While increasing the amount of fruits, vegetables, and beans in your diet will help you consume more magnesium, some individuals, especially those who have digestive disorders like IBD, might need to take magnesium supplements. Different types of magnesium at varied amounts may be found in magnesium supplements.

Because there are so many options available for magnesium supplements, it is advisable to speak with a healthcare professional to determine which kind and dosage are best for your individual requirements.

Take into consideration that the highest daily intake of a nutrient that is unlikely to cause damage, known as the Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL), is presently established at 350 mg. The UL is exclusive to magnesium supplements.

Higher dosages of magnesium are safe and beneficial in treating specific medical disorders, such as constipation, despite the fact that the UL is set at 350 mg per day. The recommended daily dosage of magnesium, for example, varies, but the majority of research examining the benefits of magnesium oxide supplements for constipation has employed 1-2 grams—or 1,000 mg–2,000 mg—taken in separate doses.

Although magnesium dosages beyond the upper limit of safety may be used, you should normally not exceed the upper limit unless directed by a healthcare professional.

Types of Magnesium Supplements

There are several types of magnesium available, such as magnesium glycinate, magnesium oxide, and magnesium citrate.

Certain kinds of magnesium are more suited for certain medical issues. For instance, magnesium oxide works well to relieve constipation symptoms, but it might make other digestive disorders worse, such diarrhea.

Furthermore, some types of magnesium are more advantageous for maintaining the body’s total magnesium status than others because they are more readily absorbed by the body. When compared to other forms of magnesium, such as magnesium oxide and magnesium sulphate, magnesium citrate, magnesium glycinate, magnesium acetyl taurate, and magnesium malate are better absorbed by the targeted target.

Food Sources of Magnesium

Foods high in magnesium include beans, nuts, and leafy greens.

Some of the best dietary sources of magnesium include:

  • Spinach: 156 mg per cooked cup, or 37% of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Pumpkin seeds: 156 mg per ounce, or 37% of the DV
  • Swiss chard: 150 mg per cooked cup, or 36% of the DV
  • Dark chocolate: 129 mg per 2-ounce serving, or 31% of the DV
  • Chia seeds: 111 mg per ounce, or 29% of the DV
  • Edamame: 100 mg per cup or 24% of the DV
  • Black beans: 120 mg per cup, or 28% of the DV
  • Brown rice: 84 mg or 20% of the DV
  • Almonds: 80 mg per ounce, or 19% of the DV
  • Cashews: 74 mg, or 18% of the DV

Since magnesium may be found in a wide range of plant foods, eating a diversified diet rich in nutrient-dense foods—especially vegetables, nuts, seeds, and beans—is the best method to promote healthy magnesium levels.

How To Get More Magnesium in Your Diet

Increasing the amount of foods high in magnesium in your diet will help you consume more of the mineral.

Here are a few helpful tips for increasing your magnesium intake:

  • Add leafy greens to soups, salads, and grain meals, such as Swiss chard and spinach.
  • Replace animal proteins with legumes and beans that are high in magnesium.
  • Snack on nuts and seeds for a high-nutrient snack.
  • Give way to your desires for chocolate with this rich in magnesium hot chocolate sweetened with monk fruit.
  • Use lentils, chickpeas, and black beans to make tasty plant-based soups and chili.

These meals include fibre, which encourages the development of healthy bacteria in the digestive system and keeps bowel motions regular and pleasant, in addition to other substances that support digestive health and magnesium.

Potential Side Effects

Even while magnesium supplements are normally well taken and regarded as safe, they might have unfavourable side effects, such as problems related to the digestive system.

For instance, adverse effects of magnesium oxide and magnesium chloride, among other forms of the mineral, include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Mild abdominal pain

You may need to experiment with a different, more absorbable kind of magnesium or adjust your dosage if you discover that taking a magnesium supplement is giving you stomach trouble.

An excess of magnesium may also have unfavourable consequences. Although most individuals may safely consume magnesium oxide, some groups, including those with renal illness, may have elevated blood levels of magnesium as a result of excessive dosages of the substance. In some circumstances, this may be lethal. Because of this, taking large amounts of magnesium oxide should only be done so under the guidance of a medical professional.

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When using magnesium supplements, certain persons are more likely to have elevated magnesium levels. For instance, using high-dose magnesium supplements increases the risk of acquiring elevated blood levels of magnesium in older persons with gastrointestinal disorders and those with renal illness.

Additionally, since magnesium may intensify the effects of certain drugs, those using blood pressure and blood sugar-lowering medications should consult with their doctor before taking magnesium supplements.


Magnesium is vital for overall health, which includes digestive function. Individuals suffering from digestive disorders including constipation and inflammatory bowel disease may find the mineral beneficial.

For those suffering from Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, magnesium supplementation in particular may help alleviate constipation symptoms and lower disease activity. Moreover, magnesium helps ease indigestion and heartburn. You could, however, have diarrhea if you take the pill in excess.

Even while magnesium may be found in a variety of foods, certain individuals, such as those who have certain digestive disorders, might need to take supplements to keep their magnesium levels at their ideal levels. It’s ideal to engage with a healthcare professional who can assist you in selecting an efficient and safe type of magnesium that is most appropriate for your unique set of health demands if you’re interested in taking magnesium to boost digestive health.


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