Can You Take Magnesium Citrate After Eating?

Magnesium citrate is a supplemental form of magnesium, and you should take it with food or shortly after eating. Swallowing magnesium citrate on an empty stomach can lead to diarrhea and other types of digestive upset, according to MayoClinic.com. Talk to your doctor before you begin taking supplements, and ask what types and doses are best for you. Let him know if you experience an upset stomach or other side effects with the supplements.

A man clutches at his abdomen as if he is in pain. (Image: shih-wei/iStock/Getty Images)

RDA and How to Take Supplements

The amount of magnesium citrate you will need in a day will depend on your gender, as well as other factors, and your doctor can help you determine the correct dosage. Generally speaking, the recommended dietary allowance or RDA of magnesium is 270 to 400 mg for men and 280 to 300 mg for women, according to MayoClinic.com. Take your magnesium citrate supplement after eating and at the same time every day. Swallow the pill whole, and do not break or crush it unless your doctor has given you permission to do so.

Other Supplements and Sources

Magnesium comes in other supplemental forms, including magnesium gluconate and magnesium lactate. Along with magnesium citrate, these forms are the easiest for your body to absorb and use. Some other types of magnesium supplements are also available in multivitamins and laxatives. Additionally, you might consider talking to your doctor about adding more magnesium-rich foods to your diet, such as legumes, wheat bran, baked potatoes, pistachio nuts, squash seeds, bran cereals and even chocolate. This can help you meet the RDA and potentially lessen the amount of magnesium citrate you need to take.

Precautions and Overdosing

Magnesium citrate has the potential to interact with other medications you take, such as antibiotics and those used to treat high blood pressure, so it is important to tell your doctor about anything else you take. While rare, other more serious side effects of magnesium supplements include dizziness, flushing and trouble breathing. Contact your doctor immediately if you experience these symptoms. If you take high amounts of magnesium citrate, this may lead to an overdose. The symptoms of this include blurred vision, a rapid pulse, vomiting, difficulty breathing and severely low blood pressure. Seek medical attention as well if you experience signs of a magnesium overdose.

Additional Considerations

Ingesting an excess amount of certain substances can lower your blood magnesium levels, and these include caffeine, alcohol, soda and salt. Consuming these substances in large amounts puts you at risk for a deficiency, the symptoms of which include anxiety, sleep problems, poor nail growth and hyperventilation. Talk to your doctor about your dietary habits, and let her know if you ingest these substances frequently. This may alter the amount of magnesium citrate you need to take to stay healthy and prevent a deficiency.

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