Can One Get Magnesium Citrate Overload?

Magnesium citrate treats constipation and empties the bowels when medically necessary. Although your body requires a certain amount of magnesium, an excess of magnesium citrate can cause health problems ranging from minor to life-threatening. For this reason, it's important to follow the dosage guidelines your health care provider or the product label provide. If you suspect you've overdosed, contact emergency services immediately.

Typical Dosages

For an adult, the typical dosage of magnesium citrate is 240 mL by mouth one time, explain experts from the website Children 6 to 12 years old may take 100 to 150 mL by mouth one time. Children younger than 6 years old may take 0.5 mL per kilogram of body weight, up to a maximum of 200 mL. Someone who has ingested more than the typically recommended amount may be at risk for magnesium citrate overdose.

Overdose Symptoms

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An overdose of magnesium citrate and other magnesium-containing laxatives can cause gastrointestinal problems including gastrointestinal irritation, abdominal pain, vomiting and watery diarrhea as well as painful bowel movements and urination, experts from the United States National Institutes of Health explain. You may also experience lowered blood pressure, slowed breathing and flushed skin. In severe cases of magnesium citrate overdose, coma and death can result.

Potential Side Effects

In some people, even the typical recommended dosage of magnesium citrate may cause adverse reactions that resemble overdose symptoms. You may experience mild side effects like upset stomach, diarrhea, dizziness or sweating. If the reactions you experience are mild, you can continue taking magnesium citrate as directed, experts advise, but talk to your health care provider about your symptoms. Loss of normal bowel function is a possible side effect of long-term magnesium citrate use and also something to discuss with a health care provider. Symptoms of allergic reaction include trouble breathing, swelling of your lips and tongue, tightening of your throat or hives. These symptoms require emergency medical attention.


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If you know you've taken an excessive amount of magnesium citrate or you experience overdose symptoms, immediately contact an emergency health care service, such as a poison control center. You may require activated charcoal by mouth to help absorb the excess magnesium citrate in your gastrointestinal tract. Severe cases may require emptying of the stomach through a tube in your mouth, IV fluids and breathing support. A first-time overdose is unlikely to be serious, according to experts. Serious problems are more likely in those abusing laxatives for weight loss.