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Magnesium citrate

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Magnesium citrate
IUPAC name
Magnesium 2-hydroxypropane-1,2,3-tricarboxylate
3D model (JSmol)
ECHA InfoCard 100.121.319 Edit this at Wikidata
EC Number
  • 231-923-9
  • InChI=1S/2C6H8O7.3Mg/c2*7-3(8)1-6(13,5(11)12)2-4(9)10;;;/h2*13H,1-2H2,(H,7,8)(H,9,10)(H,11,12);;;/q;;3*+2/p-6 checkY
  • C(C(=O)O)C(CC(=O)[O-])(C(=O)[O-])O.[Mg+2]
Molar mass 214.412 g·mol−1
20 g/100ml
A06AD19 (WHO) A12CC04 (WHO), B05CB03 (WHO)
Related compounds
Related salts
Magnesium citrate (3:2)
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
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Magnesium citrate is a magnesium preparation in salt form with citric acid in a 1:1 ratio (1 magnesium atom per citrate molecule). It contains 11.33% magnesium by weight.

The name "magnesium citrate" is ambiguous and sometimes may refer to other salts such as trimagnesium dicitrate which has a magnesium:citrate ratio of 3:2, or monomagnesium dicitrate with a ratio of 1:2, or a mix of two or three of the salts of magnesium and citric acid.

Magnesium citrate (sensu lato) is used medicinally as a saline laxative and to completely empty the bowel prior to a major surgery or colonoscopy. It is available without a prescription, both as a generic and under various brand names. It is also used in the pill form as a magnesium dietary supplement.

As a food additive, magnesium citrate is used to regulate acidity and is known as E number E345.

Mechanism of action[edit]

Magnesium citrate works by attracting water through the tissues by a process known as osmosis. Once in the intestine, it can attract enough water into the intestine to induce defecation.[1][2] The additional water stimulates bowel motility. This means it can also be used to treat rectal and colon problems. Magnesium citrate functions best on an empty stomach, and should always be followed with a full (eight ounce or 250 ml) glass of water or juice to help counteract water loss and aid in absorption. Magnesium citrate solutions generally produce bowel movement in one-half to three hours.[3]

Use and dosage[edit]

The maximum upper tolerance limit (UTL) for magnesium in supplement form for adults is 350 mg of elemental magnesium per day, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).[4] In addition, according to the NIH, total dietary requirements for magnesium from all sources (in other words, food and supplements) is 320–420 mg of elemental magnesium per day, though there is no UT for dietary magnesium.


Magnesium citrate is used as a laxative agent.[5][6] It is not recommended for use in children and infants two years of age or less.[7]

Magnesium deficiency treatment[edit]

Although less common, as a magnesium supplement the citrate form is sometimes used because it is believed to be more bioavailable than other common pill forms, such as magnesium oxide.[8][citation needed] But, according to one study, magnesium gluconate was found to be marginally more bioavailable than even magnesium citrate.[9]

Potassium-magnesium citrate, as a supplement in pill form, is useful for the prevention of kidney stones.[10]

Side effects[edit]

Magnesium citrate is generally not a harmful substance, but care should be taken by consulting a healthcare professional if any adverse health problems are suspected or experienced. Extreme magnesium overdose can result in serious complications such as slow heart beat, low blood pressure, nausea, drowsiness, etc. If severe enough, an overdose can even result in coma or death.[11] However, a moderate overdose will be excreted through the kidneys, unless one has serious kidney problems. Rectal bleeding or failure to have a bowel movement after use could be signs of a serious condition.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Song, Ki Hwan; Suh, Wu Seok; Jeong, Jin Sik; Kim, Dong Sik; Kim, Sang Woo; Kwak, Dong Min; Hwang, Jong Seong; Kim, Hyun Jin; Park, Man Woo; Shim, Min Chul; Koo, Ja-Il (October 2014). "Effectiveness of Sodium Picosulfate/Magnesium Citrate (PICO) for Colonoscopy Preparation". Annals of Coloproctology. 30 (5): 222–227. doi:10.3393/ac.2014.30.5.222. ISSN 2287-9714. PMC 4213938. PMID 25360429.
  2. ^ Ogbru, Omudhome, PharmD (2 December 2021). "Magnesium Citrate". medicinenet.com.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  3. ^ "Magnesium Citrate". WebMD. Retrieved 31 August 2017.
  4. ^ "Magnesium". ods.od.nih.gov. US: Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health.
  5. ^ "Magnesium Citrate: MedlinePlus Drug Information". medlineplus.gov.
  6. ^ "Magnesium Citrate – an overview | ScienceDirect Topics". sciencedirect.com.
  7. ^ "magnesium_citrate-oral" at medicinenet.com
  8. ^ Schuchardt, Jan Philipp; Hahn, Andreas (2017). "Intestinal Absorption and Factors Influencing Bioavailability of Magnesium- An Update". Current Nutrition & Food Science. 13 (4): 260–278. doi:10.2174/1573401313666170427162740. PMC 5652077. PMID 29123461 – via Bentham Science.
  9. ^ Coudray, C; Rambeau, M; Feillet-Coudray, C; et al. (December 2005). "Study of magnesium bioavailability from ten organic and inorganic Mg salts in Mg-depleted rats using a stable isotope approach". Magnesium Research. 18 (4): 215–23. PMID 16548135.
  10. ^ Ettinger, B; Pak, CY; Citron, JT; Thomas, C; Adams-Huet, B; Vangessel, A (December 1997). "Potassium-magnesium citrate is an effective prophylaxis against recurrent calcium oxalate nephrolithiasis". J Urol. 158 (6): 2069–73. doi:10.1016/S0022-5347(01)68155-2. PMID 9366314.
  11. ^ magnesium citrate. Cerner Multum. Drugs.com. 12 April 2009.

External links[edit]