Magnesium Citrate | Benefits, Side Effects & Dosage

What Is Magnesium Citrate?

Magnesium is a naturally occurring mineral that plays a major role in your body’s system. It is essential for the functioning of your cells, muscles, bones, nerves and heart. You should usually get enough magnesium via a well-balanced healthy diet, but certain conditions can mean your body loses magnesium faster than you can replace it via food sources such as green leafy vegetables, spinach, nuts and grains.

Magnesium citrate is often prescribed as a supplement to treat magnesium deficiency. Magnesium citrate is a compound of magnesium carbonate and citric acids.

Men should consume between 410 and 420 milligrams of magnesium per day, and women should consume between 310 and 320 milligrams every day.

Your body may lose magnesium, or not have enough, when you don’t consume enough in your diet, or when you’re ill.

Citric acids, the other part of the compound that is magnesium citrate, is found in citrus fruits. It is a natural acidity regulator and can enhance the activity of other antioxidants.

Magnesium Citrate Benefits

The Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS), part of the National Institutes of Health, considers magnesium the fourth most abundant mineral in your body. Around half of this content is in your teeth and bones, with the rest in your tissue and vital organs. Magnesium plays an integral role in over 300 of your body’s biochemical reactions, while also maintaining your muscle function, nervous and immune systems.

As a fitness and workout supplement, magnesium contributes to a reduction of tiredness and fatigue and to electrolyte balance. Magnesium helps your body to produce energy as well as supporting the functioning of your brain and heart. It also supports healthy blood pressure. Magnesium helps to turn glucose into energy for your brain.

Magnesium citrate may be used medically as a saline laxative, to help with bowel movements and constipation. It does this by attracting water to your intestines to induce movement.

Further to this, you may not have heard that magnesium could be the aid you’ve been looking for to ward off agonising leg cramps that attack you in the night after a rigorous workout. It’s true: research from Keele University says that magnesium citrate is a cure for nocturnal leg cramps in place of the conventional treatment, quinine.

Magnesium Citrate Side Effects

Magnesium citrate is not considered a harmful substance, but people with pre-existing health concerns, pregnant women and children are advised to seek medical advice prior to usage. The most common side effects include diarrhoea, bloating, abdominal cramps, vomiting, nausea and an imbalance of electrolytes. An overdose of magnesium citrate can result in low blood pressure, drowsiness and a slow heart rate.

Magnesium Citrate Dosage

When considering magnesium citrate as part of your workout regimen, you need to bear in mind what your body needs and the demands of your training. Your body needs the right kind of nutrients in order to perform and develop correctly. As a dietary supplement, we recommend consuming 2g Magnesium Citrate (providing approximately 300mg of Magnesium), on a daily basis. Of course, going back to the subject of side effects, you must be cautious of how much magnesium you have taken in from other sources and supplements to avoid the potential laxative effects.

Magnesium Citrate Tablets vs. Powder

The powder or pills debate always comes down to the same simple points, which you need to decide for yourself. These are how fast you need to get your supplement, how easy it is dissolved, the cost and transportation.

In powder form, your body will be able to get the nutrients it needs faster as it is more easily absorbed when mixed with liquids. A tablet creates one more obstacle for your digestive system to break down.

While tablets give you a precise dose each time (while powders can spill and get lost during transportation in your shaker inside your gym bag) tablets can be more costly and come with the burden of having to swallow a certain number of pills in comparison to mixing a few easy scoops in with some fruit juice or whey.

Our articles should be used for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to be taken as medical advice. If you’re concerned, consult a health professional before taking dietary supplements or introducing any major changes to your diet.

Liam Swithenbank

Liam Swithenbank

Writer and expert

Liam Swithenbank is an expert supplier quality assurance technologist. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Sport and Exercise Science and a Master of Science degree in Nutrition, and his expertise now lie in specialist ingredients for sports nutrition products. Liam’s academic research has involved investigating the effects of sodium bicarbonate on power output in elite rugby players, and also the effects of beetroot juice on VO2 max on a cohort of well-trained runners. For his postgraduate thesis, Liam investigated the effects of protein intake on lean tissue mass. Liam’s experience spans from working in compliance and labelling to developing new products, for a number of large companies in the UK. Liam is a big believer in balance, and believes moderation is key to sustain a healthy and active lifestyle. Find out more about Liam’s experience here: During his spare time Liam enjoys rock climbing, cycling and good food. Liam is a massive foodie and enjoys creating and developing new and exciting recipes in his home kitchen.