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Magnesium For Constipation?


What does the mineral magnesium have to do with constipation?

Well, quite a lot actually.

The relationship between magnesium and constipation – both the lack of magnesium contributing to constipation and optimal level of magnesium preventing constipation -  has been known for a long time in more non-mainstream avenues, but now clinical scientific research is catching up and proving the essential needs of magnesium for overall health – especially magnesium for constipation troubles.

magnesium for constipation

Magnesium is a mineral that without it you could not produce energy, your muscles would be in a chronic state of contraction, and you could not adjust the levels of cholesterol produced and released into the blood stream.

Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral, central element in chlorophyll and the basis of early life on the planet.

More than three hundred enzymes need it, including those needed to make the energy molecule ATP and to synthesize DNA, RNA, and proteins. Magnesium also plays a structural role in bone and in cell membranes, where it helps transport ions across the membrane. These ions regulate over 300 biochemical reactions in the body through their role as enzyme co-factors.

It helps to maintain normal muscle and nerve function, it keeps your heart rhythm steady, it is involved in maintaining a healthy immune system, and it is important for keeping your bones strong. It also helps to regulate blood sugar levels and blood pressure, and is involved in energy metabolism and protein synthesis.

This little macro-mineral sure does pack a powerful punch alright!


Magnesium; one of those minerals that our ancestors got a lot of… but now we modern humans don’t.

It’s believed that hunter and gatherers obtained around 700mg of magnesium per day. The current RDA (recommended dietary allowance) from the Institute of Medicine is 420mg from an adult male and 320 mg for an adult female.

To makes thing worse, a NHANES research study found daily magnesium intake in the USA was 326 mg in white men, 237 mg in black men, 237 mg in white women, and 177 mg in black women.

These magnesium average intakes are all under the RDA. It becomes a scary thought when the RDA of magnesium is potentially under what it should really be too.

Magnesium deficiency over an extended period can be fatal and has been linked to sudden death. Magnesium deficiency is also very damaging to developing babies. In one clinical trial, magnesium supplementation by pregnant mothers reduced the risk of cerebral palsy by 30 percent.

The symptoms of acute magnesium deficiency that you will tend to experience include:

  • Constipation
  • Muscle weakness, tremor, or spasm
  • Sleepiness, fatigue
  • Vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Poor memory
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Numbness, tingling
  • Muscle contractions, cramps

So what relationship exists between constipation and magnesium?

Well, as already mentioned, magnesium has direct affects on the body. Some of the attributes of magnesium that connect to constipation closely are:

  • It acts as a natural “anti-stress” agent, relaxing skeletal muscles as well as the smooth muscles of blood vessels and the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Magnesium increases water in your intestines which help initiate peristalsis (the wavelike motion which moves fecal matter through your intestines). The increaalsed water also softens the stool which allows it to pass more freely through the intestines.
  • It helps to regulate the electrical potential across cell membranes, helping cells to properly communicate with one another.
  • Magnesium is an essential for the proper metabolism of food once it is digested.
  • It plays a crucial role in the body’s ability to produce and release energy.
  • It helps maintain proper nerve function of the bowel.

Interestingly, a large study from 2006 that took place in Japan with 3,835 participants between the ages of 18-20 looked at the relationship between constipation and fiber, water, and magnesium intake. The results of the study found that constipation was not associated with low fiber intake or a low intake of water from fluids. Constipation was associated with a low intake of magnesium and a low intake of water from foods.

Another study from 2008 which looked at constipation in pre-school aged children found that those suffering from constipation had significantly lower levels of magnesium (as well as other micro nutrients and minerals) than those who were not suffering from constipation.

A study published recently in 2012 indicates that for every 50mg per day increase in intake of the magnesium, the risk of colon cancer was modestly reduced by 7%. Scientists from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden have reported from their studies that for every 100mg per day increase in magnesium, the risk of stroke was reduced by about 9%.

Magnesium has a broad peak health dosage.

There is no evidence or reports that anyone has ever reached toxic levels of magnesium through food consumption alone.

The initial symptom of magnesium toxicity from high-dose supplementation is diarrhea. In people with healthy kidneys, this is likely to be the only effect, which is why magnesium is generally safe as a laxative which I’ll speak about shortly.

Very high doses of magnesium— well above 2 grams— may lead to a fall in blood pressure, which in turn induces lethargy, confusion, disturbed heart rhythm, and poor kidney function. Extremely high doses can lead to cardiac arrest.

So what is the best way to go about getting yourself out of magnesium deficiency and into a good magnesium range?

Eating food alone, fifty percent of Americans get under 250mg a day. Few Americans reach 400mg a day.

I consider 400-700mg the peak range for magnesium status.

Foods – nuts, chocolate, coffee, beans, etc – high in magnesium tend to be troublesome for people with constipation.

This means that the easiest and most simple way to ensure you have a good magnesium status is to supplement.

I recommend taking a daily dose of between 200-300mg of magnesium. I recommend using a chelated magnesium such as magnesium citrate or glycinate.

I must say something about magnesium being used as a type of laxative. Out of all types of laxatives, using a magnesium supplement is probably the safest of them all in my opinion. The treatment has been known an used for decades. A magnesium intake of around 800-1000mg is usually the amount needed to induce the loose stools effect.

From my personal experience I think its ok to use this method every now and then, but don’t fool yourself for one minute in thinking that you’ve cured your constipation. What you’re really doing is just tricking your body into producing loose stools. The effects of medium to long term use of this method has not been studied so to be totally honest I tend to not recommend it at all to anyone.

Magnesium WORKS WONDERS to overcome constipation when used together with other CRITICAL methods. I’ve laid out the whole process of overcoming constipation in my new book ‘Cure Your Constipation – The 3 Step Formula to End Your Constipation Nightmare Forever’ . It contains over 300 pages of step-by-step guides and the most important information you NEED TO KNOW to be free of your constipation! It’s also backed up with over 300 references (scientific, journals, articles, etc.) as well! This is the REAL DEAL! To find out how you can get your hands on a copy CLICK HERE NOW.


Best in health,

Kristopher Cleary

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9 Responses to Magnesium For Constipation?

  1. NG #

    Hi Kris,
    Your advice has helped me a lot, thank you! I am currently down from 6 Peri-Colace/day to 2, soon to be 0! How much Vit C and Magnesium do I have to take? How much is too much? I am currently taking about 2000 VBit C and 1000 Mag… and there is nothing closely resembling the word ‘loose’ happening here. It’s a constant struggle… HELP

    NO breads or ‘empty’ carbs
    LOTS of fresh fruits and veggies
    I’ve increased olive oil and coconut oil and switched from non-fat yogurt to lo-fat and sometimes even whole (gggaaaasssspp!)
    one or two small portions of chicken or fish or beef
    NO junk food, only some nuts and seeds
    The only dairy that I eat is yogurt and milk in my coffee
    I’ve reduced my fiber intake – I switched from Steel Cut Oatmeal and a banana for breakfast to eggs and prune juice

    I still need to do a few enemas each week because I really have to keep from getting backed up. I’m still uncomfortable and bloated… what more can I do?

    Thank you again for all of your great advice

  2. Kristopher Cleary #

    Hi NG,

    I think you’re on the right track. But here some quick thoughts:

    - try upping your fat intake to around 50-60% of your calories – don’t be afraid of ‘whole’ yogurt, introduce grassfed butter, etc.

    - reduce your fruit intake to only one or two servings a day.

    - swap the milk for fermented milk – look into making your own kefir. Also get some more fermented foods into your diet such as sauerkraut and kimchi.

    - introduce homemade bone broth with every meal.

    - 2g of vitamin c is fine. Maybe reduce your magnesium level to 800mg and see if that changes anything.

    - I also recommend practicing some de-stressing activities such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, or even yoga.

    - Your lack of gut motility could be contributing. Serotonin and GABA are two neurotransmitters that are produced in large amounts in the gut, in fact, much larger amounts than in the brain. Serotonin, in particular, is associated with gut motility. So, in some cases, 5-HTP, which is a precursor to serotonin, can improve constipation. It’s really safe to take and I recommend 100 mg in the evening time.



    • NG #

      Thanks so much for the reply Kris.

      I’ve taken to eating sauerkraut every day, and I have ordered a book about fermenting so I will be attempting to add more fermented foods to my diet as that seems to be helping. I have also been cooking all of my veggies. I’ve cut out salads for now. I grill or roast my veggies, with olive oil, so I have really increased my fat intake. In the last two years I’ve lost almost 70 lbs, I closely watch my calories, so I am hesitant about too much fat. I do notice, however, that since I’ve added a lot of fat, I am never hungry and eat the same amount of calories by the end of the day. But, BUTTER? really?

      Just to clarify, tho, the weight loss is not the cause of the chronic constipation. I have had several abdominal surgeries that have left me with adhesions, so I am literally BLOCKED. I believe this is why the Vit C works better for me than enemas. I use them a few times a week, but they don’t seem to do much. keeping the stools soft is IMPERATIVE in my case. But I don’t want to be dependent on Vit C either. How long can I take these large doses and not cause a new problem? I take 6000 mg some days, just to ‘stay loose’. That has me concerned. I’m going every day so I keep taking it, but I am trying to improve my diet.

      I ordered the 5-HTP and I am drinking broth. How about Whey Protein? I can’t tolerate lactose. I drink lactose free milk and almond milk. Will whey protein help or hurt? You mentioned GABA, is that a supplement I should take, as well as the 5-HTP?

      a real concern that I have is once I am completely done with the Peri Colace and I improve my intestinal flora, I am still, always going to have abdominal adhesions, so how will I ever be ‘normal’?

      Thanks so much for your help. You can’t imagine how much it helps.

      :) NG

      • Kristopher Cleary #

        Hi NG,

        I sent you an email.


  3. Jim #

    Hello Kris,

    You’re providing wonderful information here. It’s always disheartening information like this is not mainstream. Perhaps becoming so, however? There’s no doubt gut flora has been a focus for many folks as of late.

    Regarding constipation, are you aware of anyone achieving positive results by fasting with a complete focus on lactobacillus? I’m not referring to simply eating a bunch of yogurt or taking probiotic medications. For example, consuming nothing but warm raw milk or cultured dairy products(along with Celtic/Himalayan salt) for a couple of days. Then after a day or two(or three), continuing the cultured dairy with an increase in grass fed animal products, fermented vegetables, and perhaps raw honey.

    In other words, create sort of an ideal environment and a good chance for delivery to the lower gut.

    Thank you,

    • Kristopher Cleary #

      Hi Jim,

      Thanks for the question, an interesting one at that!

      I haven’t read any stories or studies where someone has fasted for a couple of days whilst using only lactobacillus intake. It would be an interesting experiment.

      It’s interesting to note that other foods and nutrients can supplement and help newly digested probiotics improve their chances of finding a new home in the colon.

      Also, generally speaking, changes in ones gut environment happens with consistent application over a period of time. In many cases, time is the most important aspect. Consuming lots and lots of different probiotics creates breadth so-to-speak, whilst consistent probiotic intake over time allows for DEPTH to develop in ones health – a new strong ‘foundation’ in other words.

      Thanks for the question.

      Best in health,


  4. Jay #

    Nice job on your blog. I was diagnosed with a bout of diverticulitis. That was 8 weeks ago and I have constipation, but also loose stool when I do go, so not sure about that, as I thought constipation involved hard stools. The gastroentologist suggests high fiber diet – he is board certified chief at well known hospital.

    Question, is magnesium citrate OK? It was what I took, with dulcolax, for my colonoscopy.

    51, high level sports, but off the mat with this darn stomach condition. Also, by the way, Dr. Ohira probiotic was recommended to me as the best pill form…thoughts?

    • Kristopher Cleary #

      Hi Jay,

      It sounds like you have alternate constipation and diarrhea – an IBS quality.

      Magnesium Citrate is fine and is actually what I personally use.

      Yes, Dr Ohira is one of the better probiotic supplements out there. I also recommend eating live probiotic bacteria found in yogurt (better if the yogurt is homemade), fermented food like sauerkraut, kimchi, kefire, etc (all best if they’re made at home – they are simple to make!)

      You gotta get back to your sports so let me know how you get on Jay!



  5. Megan #

    Hi Kris! It’s been a while since I’ve been here…but I’m glad I came back! I have been taking magnesium oxide (1000-2000 mg every night) for over a year now. It has been a life-saver for me!! I have not been impacted one time since I’ve been taking them. I take them every night before bed with a half to a whole bottle of water (so like 8-16 oz). 90% of the time, it works predictably. Sometimes I don’t go, but I don’t feel constipated, just don’t have the urge. Lately though, I have noticed it’s not working quite as well or predictably as it used to. Can long-term use cause it to become ineffective? I sure hope not!! LOL. What is your opinion?

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