10 Apr Can Magnesium Supplements Be Used to Treat Both Migraines & Constipation Simultaneously?
Magnesium is one of the most frequently prescribed supplements in practice. Two of the common uses of magnesium supplements are to treat muscle spasms/migraines and constipation. However, these two indications are actuallyopposed to each other in clinical settings.
Absorbability – The Cause of Opposition
Different absorption rates of various magnesium supplements are the reason for this opposing relationship between treatments of muscle spasms/migraines and constipation.
Magnesium salts are in general poorly absorbed because their absorbability depends on their solubility. They need to first dissociate into their ionic forms before they can be absorbed via facilitated diffusion.
Magnesium citrate and malate are considered two of the better absorbable salts because of their good solubility, but their absorption rates only range from 30-40%.
On the other hand, Magnesium Bisglycinate Chelate (Mg-BC) is NOT a SALT. It is a unique chelate form of magnesium that is recognized by our body as food (dipeptide) and absorbed directly via a different pathway from that of the ionic Mg.
Therefore, Mg-BC’s absorption rate is much higher than that of ionic Mg and NOT dependent to on the pH in the stomach or food intake. Studies have shown that Mg-BC’s absorption rate is about 228% of that of Magnesium Citrate
In addition, because serum Mg2+ levels are highly regulated by the body via globulin-binding of these ions, Mg-BC’s absorption mechanism enables better incorporation of itself into the targeted tissues, such as muscle and bone.
All of the above merits of Mg-BC make it the magnesium supplement of choice in treating muscle spasms, anxiety and migraines, but is Mg-BC a good form to treat constipation? The answer is “NO” because a well-absorbed magnesium supplement like Mg-BC may cause relaxation of the smooth muscle of the gut and actually provide little to no benefit in promoting bowel peristalsis.
A Good Laxative Magnesium Supplement MUST Have POOR Absorption Rate
The laxative effect of magnesium salts is due to the osmotic gradient created by the ingested molecules in their passage through the gut lumen. When magnesium salt is not readily absorbed in the gut, it can draw water from the interstitial space into the lumen resulting in softened stool or diarrhea.
Magnesium oxide (MgO), for instance, is often used in conventional medicine as a stool softener, as the fractional absorption rate is only 4% because of its poor solubility. Other magnesium salts with higher absorption rates, such as citrate and sulfate (30-35%), will still draw water into the lumen to cause soft stool due to their ionic nature.