Magnesium citrate is an over-the-counter liquid supplement used to clear out your bowels. You may need magnesium citrate to relieve constipation or to prepare your body for surgery by aiding in waste elimination. Magnesium citrate has an extremely bitter flavor, so mixing it with soda may help mask the unpleasant flavor. While magnesium citrate is generally safe, you should not take it with without supervision from your physician.
What is Magnesium?
Magnesium is a mineral you need for strong bones, production of energy from carbohydrates and fats, protein synthesis and ion transport across cell membranes. Ions are positively or negatively charged molecules, such as potassium and sodium, that act as electrolytes by helping electricity flow through fluids in your body. This process is essential for nerve impulses, muscle contraction and normal heart beats. Since magnesium plays a role in ion transport and fluid balance, it can be used as a laxative supplement in one of its salt forms, which is referred to as magnesium citrate.
How it Works
Magnesium citrate is a hyperosmotic saline type of laxative, meaning it pulls fluid from between cells throughout your body and transports it to your small intestine. Movement of fluid into your small intestine triggers your bowels to move. Usually, this results in a bowel movement within three hours, says the American Cancer Society. Ingesting magnesium citrate mixed with soda gradually over a few hours can help create a bowel movement, relieving constipation or clearing out your bowels the night before surgery.
How to Take it
Refrigerating your bottle of liquid magnesium citrate prior to consumption helps it blend into cold drinks so it is easier for you to swallow. Due to its strong, unpleasant flavor, mixing it with your favorite beverage can make it more enjoyable. Pour a serving of chilled magnesium citrate over ice and top it off with your favorite lemon-lime soda or ginger ale. The bitter, fruity flavor of magnesium citrate blends well with these flavors of soda. You can also mix it with juice or dilute it with water. No matter how you take magnesium citrate, you should drink plenty of water after you take it to help replace fluids you will lose.
Follow your healthcare provider's directions when taking magnesium citrate. This supplement causes uncontrollable diarrhea at large doses so you should not take it until you are comfortable in your own home. Since each person reacts differently to the effects of magnesium citrate, your doctor may adjust your dosage to fit your needs. You can purchase 10 oz. bottles at your local pharmacy, but your doctor may not want you to take it all at once.