TL;DR Magnesium is a natural laxative that helps you poop by increasing the amount of water in your bowel and relaxing your intestines.
You’re on the toilet pushing, grunting, perhaps even breaking a sweat. It’s a valiant effort to start the fudge shuttle, but you’re firing blanks into the bowl. That iced coffee didn’t get things moving, and now you’re desperate for relief.
Turns out the answer to your bathroom woes might be magnesium.
In case you were dozing off in high school science class, magnesium is the fourth-most prevalent mineral in your body. It’s also an electrolyte that your body needs to support muscle function, heart rhythm, blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and your immune system.
However, one of magnesium’s most underrated benefits is its ability to help you churn out smooth deuces on the throne.
Keep reading to learn how magnesium makes you poop, how to take it, and what to expect when it comes out the other end.
Does Magnesium Make You Poop?
Yes, magnesium is a natural laxative that’s been shown to help people poop and relieve occasional constipation. A 2019 study found that taking 1.5 grams of magnesium oxide per day helped constipated adults poop faster, more often, and even optimize their poop texture.
Magnesium has two effects that give you the urge to go:
1. Stool Softener: Magnesium is an osmotic laxative, which is a fancy way of saying it pulls water into your intestines. This softens the stool in your colon, making it easier to push out of your butt. Think of it like adding water to dry, clumpy pancake batter.
2. Muscle Relaxation: Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxant that helps relax your intestines. This gives your poop a chance to make a clean escape from your colon.
Because of magnesium’s powerful laxative effect, it’s a popular ingredient in many over-the-counter laxatives.
How to Use Magnesium for Constipation
There are three popular forms of magnesium you can use to make yourself poop: magnesium citrate, magnesium oxide, and milk of magnesia.
Magnesium citrate is usually the best form of magnesium to make you poop because it gets absorbed into your system faster. It’s a saline laxative that’s often used to clear people’s colons before a colonoscopy.
Magnesium citrate comes in either a capsule or liquid form, which you can snag at your local drugstore.
Recommended dosage for constipation relief: Usually 10 ounces for adults
How long does it take to work? Magnesium citrate usually makes you poop within 30 minutes to 3 hours.
Pro tip: Drink a full glass of water after to prevent dehydration.
Magnesium oxide is a salt that combines magnesium and oxygen. You can take it as a powder or a capsule.
Recommended dosage: You can take a 250 milligram dose of magnesium every 12 hours until you get the urge to poop
How long does it take to work? Magnesium oxide usually makes you poop within 30 minutes to 3 hours.
Milk of Magnesia
Milk of magnesia (AKA magnesium hydroxide) is another type of saline laxative. There are no cows or dairy involved in this “milk”—it gets its name because it’s sold as a milky-white liquid.
Milk of magnesia has been around since the 1800s and you can get a bottle at pretty much any drug store or supermarket.
Recommended dosage: adults can take 30-60 mL once per day, followed by an 8-ounce glass of water
How long does it take to work? Milk of magnesia can make you poop in as little as 30 minutes, but it could take up to six hours.
Is It Ok to Take Magnesium Every Day?
You can take a magnesium supplement every day, just be aware that the maximum dose is 2 grams, or 2,000 milligrams, daily.
Keep in mind that most people get enough magnesium from their diet. The best food sources of magnesium are green leafy vegetables, nuts, and whole grains. However, people with medical conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) might have low magnesium levels and need an extra boost.
Taking too much magnesium might jack up your stomach and cause side effects like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, bloating, and cramping.
Can Magnesium Cause Frequent Bowel Movements?
Upping your magnesium intake can definitely make you poop more frequently, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing if you deal with chronic constipation.
Doctors say it’s healthy to poop anywhere between 3 times per day to 3 times per week, so as long as you’re in that range, you’re golden—or brown, rather.
Eating magnesium-rich foods like spinach, chia seeds, and peanuts probably won’t send you sprinting towards the toilet every hour. That said, if you’re taking magnesium capsules or powders that are specifically designed to make you crap, you might be spending more time on the throne than usual.
You Handle the Magnesium, We’ll Handle the Mess
If you pop a magnesium supplement, there’s a strong chance you’ll be committing what the UN would consider a war crime in the bathroom in a matter of hours. When that happens, don’t count on dry toilet paper to clean up the mess down below.
While you’re in the laxative aisle, make a detour and pick up a pack of DUDE Wipes. No matter how much you need to wipe, we guarantee your butt will stay smooth and fresh 24/7.