This Popular Supplement Can Help You Poop Fast

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Coming in both prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) forms, laxatives are medications that can help jumpstart our bowels when constipation has brought things to a standstill. Some laxatives work by softening stool, while others prompt muscle activity within the colon (per Cleveland Clinic). While effective, laxatives can come with uncomfortable side effects, including flatulence, bloating, and cramping. Excess use of these medications can lead to more serious side effects, such as intestinal blockages, chronic constipation, dehydration, and more. As a more natural alternative, there’s one popular supplement you can reach for that may help expel waste from the body when you’re in need of fast relief.

Among its many potential health benefits, magnesium is a mineral that may help boost mood, improve sleep, alleviate migraines, and help regulate blood sugar levels (per Healthline). Certain forms of magnesium have also been linked with increased gut motility, according to GoodRx Health. This includes magnesium oxide, magnesium citrate, and magnesium hydroxide. Depending on what kind of magnesium a person takes, these supplements can come in the form of capsules, chewables, powders, liquids, and more.

Magnesium may help accelerate bowel movements

While it’s not uncommon to experience constipation every once in a while (such as when eating foods that are known to cause constipation), people with chronic constipation are those who poop less than three times weekly, experience strain during defecation, and pass stool that is hard and lumpy rather than soft and smooth (per Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology). For those with chronic constipation, these uncomfortable symptoms persist for over six months. 

However, findings of a 2019 study published in the Journal of Neurogastroenterology and Motility found that the use of magnesium oxide may improve stool form in patients with chronic constipation, as well as speed up how long it takes these patients to go number two. Over the course of 28 days, 16 female patients were given a placebo while 17 patients received magnesium oxide treatment three times daily for cases of mild to moderate chronic constipation. Those in the magnesium oxide group exhibited improvements in stool form and decreases in the time it took for waste to move through the colon.

Types of magnesium that may help relieve constipation

While magnesium may benefit our gastrointestinal health, it is not advised for patients with certain health conditions. GoodRx Health reports that magnesium oxide, in particular, is not recommended for individuals with kidney issues, as the supplement can increase concentrations of magnesium in the blood. 

While magnesium oxide is usually taken as a pill or powder, magnesium citrate is alternatively a liquid supplement that can be mixed with other beverages. To see any positive effects on constipation, however, it often requires one to consume large doses, which can be difficult due to magnesium citrate’s somewhat unpleasant taste. The recommended dosage will be smaller for children than for adults, so it’s important to follow all instructions on the label.

Commonly referred to as Milk of Magnesia, magnesium hydroxide is another form of this popular supplement that can be taken as a liquid, tablet, or chewable. Much like magnesium oxide, there is a risk of dangerous increases in magnesium levels in the blood. 

Before taking any supplements, be sure to consult with your doctor to ensure that magnesium is a safe option for constipation relief.

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