- Magnesium citrate is a useful supplement for preventing constipation and migraine attacks.
- Magnesium citrate can reduce constipation in as little as 30 minutes but more commonly, it will take over 6 hours to have an effect.
- Magnesium citrate may take around a week of regular supplementation to improve your muscle health.
What Is Magnesium Citrate?
Magnesium citrate is formed when an organic salt called citrate is added to magnesium to create a new compound.
Magnesium is a mineral, but it also acts as an electrolyte – providing many different key roles in the body. (Source)
There are many different types of magnesium, including glycinate, oxide and taurate.
They all have unique advantages and benefits, and which one is right for you really depends on what your particular health goals are.
What Is Magnesium Citrate’s Role In The Body?
Magnesium citrate acts as an electrolyte, helping to keep your fluids balanced. You need to get sufficient amounts of potassium, sodium and magnesium, as well as adequate water intake, to achieve optimum fluid balance in the body.
This is especially true if you are very active, sweat a lot through exercise, and/ or live in a warmer climate.
But magnesium citrate also has a number of other roles in the body. It helps your muscles to function normally too. (Source)
This is because when combined with calcium ions, magnesium supports the effective contraction of your muscles.
It also promotes muscle relaxation which is key after taxing workouts. (Source)
Other health benefits of magnesium include:
- It stimulates the release of water into the intestines. This in turn helps to promote a regular bowel movement and therefore can both prevent and treat constipation. (Source)
- It helps to transport calcium so that new bone growth can occur.
- It can support the electrical activity in the heart to prevent irregular heartbeats. (Source)
Despite magnesium being found in common foods such as peanut butter and leafy greens, many people aren’t getting enough and magnesium deficiency is fairly common.
A deficiency in magnesium can cause its own symptoms as well as worsen a variety of chronic conditions.
Symptoms of magnesium deficiency include: (Source)
- Muscle spasms or twitches
- Irregular heartbeat
- Worsening of fibromyalgia
- Weak bones/ osteoporosis
How Long Does Magnesium Citrate Take To Work?
Magnesium citrate can work pretty quickly.
But it all depends on what you trying to treat with it, as well as how much you take.
How Long Until Magnesium Citrate Will Make You Poop?
Magnesium citrate can work pretty quickly if you are using it as a laxative. It may even produce effects in as little as 30 minutes. (Source)
But this is usually when you have taken a medicinal laxative product containing magnesium citrate- as part of a bowel prep procedure.
Otherwise, magnesium citrate taken at recommended doses may stimulate a bowel movement in around 6 hours. So it can be a good idea to take it before bed to help you reduce morning constipation. (Source)
Also, how you take magnesium may affect how quickly it works. Some people find that powdered magnesium added to water can work quicker than if it’s taken in tablet form.
This can be because it’s absorbed quicker and more directly into the gut.
How Long Does It Take For Magnesium To Work For Muscles?
Again, this isn’t an exact science as everybody will metabolize magnesium a little bit differently.
And, it also depends on the form and quantity that you take. But, after one week of consistent use, you may notice beneficial effects on your muscles.
This might mean you have more energy during muscle-based workouts, or it could be that you notice less aches and pains post-workout.
It may reduce that annoying delayed onset muscle soreness that’s so common post-gym.
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Why Is Magnesium Citrate Not Working After 6 Hours?
Obviously, if you are feeling constipated, you want quick and effective treatment.
This is why it can be disappointing if you take a dose of magnesium citrate and then notice that 6 hours later nothing is “moving”.
But remember that lots of factors affect constipation, and these can include your hydration levels, your fibre intake and how active you are.
So whilst magnesium citrate can be a great anti-constipation aid, it’s worth combining it with these other factors for the best outcomes.
And if you are taking the recommended amounts of magnesium, try to be patient and avoid overdosing, as this can potentially have some dangerous side effects.
The chances are you just need to up your fluid and fibre intake too.
But, reassuringly, magnesium toxicity is only really likely if you regularly consume amounts higher than 5000 mg per day, which is far higher than the amount commonly used in supplements (350mg). (Source)
Some people may end up taking too much magnesium if they use a lot of antacids, laxatives and other forms of magnesium supplements too.
For most of us, adding in a safe amount of magnesium citrate can make a big improvement to our health and well-being on a daily basis, and if you don’t think you’re getting enough I’d definitely recommend you consider supplementation.
Remember that if you’re stressed you use up magnesium much quicker, so even if you have a magnesium-rich diet, you still might need a helping hand.
Combining magnesium with other nutrients works best, as magnesium works synergistically with things like calcium to increase its beneficial effects.
So, taking a well-rounded superfood supplement such as Supergreen Tonik could be the way to go.
That’s because as well as providing you with a daily insurance policy of nutrients you need, it also offers you antioxidants, adaptogens and more – so why not get started today?
Julia is a health content editor and nutritionist from Norwich, UK. She has worked as a health coach in private practice and for the national health service. She undertook an MSc in nutritional medicine to deepen her knowledge.
She enjoys producing evidence-based content which inspires people to become healthier and happier.