how many magnesium citrate tablets should I take for constipation

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How Many Magnesium Citrate Tablets Should I Take For Constipation? - What Is The Safe Dose Of Magnesium Citrate? - How Many Magnesium Citrate Tablets Are Safe To Take?

How many magnesium citrate tablets should I take for constipation? 

This question surely pops-up in your head if you suffer from constipation very often. 

You can take up to 2400 mg of magnesium citrate tablets, which is 6 times the recommended daily dose (400mg) of magnesium i.e if your tablet is 200mg, you can take 10 to 12 tablets of magnesium citrate. If the constipation is not cured within 5 days, you must consult with your doctor. 1

You may think about why you have to take this many tablets for your symptoms and how does it work. 

Let’s dig a little deep to know a little more.

1. What Is Magnesium Citrate?

Magnesium Citrate is a salt of magnesium with citric acid. It is medically used as a bowel laxative. People who have constipation, bowel irritability, or undergoing an intestine surgery are advised to take this salt.

2. How Does Magnesium Citrate Work For Constipation?

Before understanding the mechanism of action of Magnesium Citrate, you need to know why constipation develops. 

Constipation occurs due to less water in your intestine making your stool dry. Dehydration, an unhealthy diet, a few medications, and lack of exercise are a few reasons behind it. It commonly affects older adults and women.

Magnesium Citrate is one of the over the counter (OTC) available supplement for constipation. It mainly acts as an osmotic laxative. Osmotic laxatives tend to retain water in the bowel “liquefying “the area hence increasing the gut motility.

Magnesium Citrate has a gentle effect on the gut. You don’t have to rush to the bathroom unless you overuse it.

2. What Is The Safe Dosage Of Magnesium Citrate For Constipation?

Magnesium Citrate is supplied in a tablet and suspension form.

The usual strength available is;

  • Tablet 100mg to 200mg (elemental)

The dosage recommendation is as follows.

  • The daily adult dose of elemental magnesium is 400 mg.2
  • The recommended dose for constipation in the adult is 6 times the adult daily requirement that is approximately 2400mg per day i.e 10-12 tablets of 200 mg.1
  • This Practice shouldn’t continue beyond 5 days.
  • If you are suffering from chronic constipation, you must consult with your doctor.

3. Direction of Use

  • Use the direction as advised by the label and your doctor.
  • Take the tablet with a glass of water.
  • It takes about 30 minutes to 6 hours to produce bowel movements.
  • If you are not having bowel movement even after the use of the Magnesium Citrate, contact your doctor for the condition.
  • Storage should be at a dry place and room temperature.


4. What Happens If You Overuse It?

  • Overdose from supplements can cause nausea and abdominal cramps.2
  • The increase gastric motility due to unabsorbed salt in the intestine leads to diarrhea.3
  • Very large amounts, approximately 5000mg/day can lead to magnesium toxicity. 4

5. Who Should Use It With Precaution?

Magnesium Citrate can interact with various drug groups.

  • Osteoporosis Medications-Bisphosphonates: Magnesium citrate can alter the absorption of oral bisphosphonates e.g. alendronate. Bisphosphonates are used for the treatment of osteoporosis.5
  • Antibiotics: Magnesium Citrate can interact with antibiotics like tetracycline, ciprofloxacin, and levofloxacin. These antibiotics should be taken 6 hours after or 2 hours earlier to the magnesium supplement.5
  • Diuretics-Blood pressure medications: Some of the blood pressure regulation medicines can enhance or sometimes reduce the magnesium in the body.6

People with the following conditions should take the magnesium as directed by their physician.

  • People with kidney diseases
  • An instant change in bowel habits
  • People who have been advised magnesium or sodium-restricted diet
  • Stomach Ache, Feeling Nausea and Vomiting

6. Take-Home Message

Magnesium citrate is commonly used over the counter drug available for dietary supplements and remedy for constipation. The dose of the elemental Magnesium citrate for constipation differs from the dose of the liquid form for the same purpose.

The Constipation relieving dose of magnesium citrate is near 2400mg, a 5 to 6 times the dose of the daily required magnesium. This much dose for the constipation problem shouldn’t exceed beyond 5 days. After 5 days if the condition persists, you should contact your doctor.


  1. Magnesium Citrate-
  2. Institute of Medicine (IOM). Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary Reference Intakes: Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Vitamin D and Fluoride. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1997
  3. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. Magnesium. 2013
  4. Kutsal E, Aydemir C, Eldes N, Demirel F, Polat R, Taspnar O, Kulah E. Severe hypermagnesemia as a result of excessive cathartic ingestion in a child without renal failure. Pediatr Emerg Care 2007;23:570-2.
  5. Magnesium- 
  6. Sarafidis PA, Georgianos PI, Lasaridis AN. Diuretics in clinical practice. Part II: electrolyte and acid-base disorders complicating diuretic therapy. Expert Opin Drug Saf 2010;9:259-73.


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