Friday, April 5, 2019

Magnesium Citrate: the Prime Mover

Not actually Erin.
& is used with permission.
If you've used opioids at all (or if you've seen the movie Trainspotting), you know that they cause terrible constipation.

How terrible? A few years back my mother had neck surgery and was given a small supply of oxycodone for the pain. She was constipated (and in extreme discomfort) for ten days. I eventually called her doctor, made an appointment, and took her to the appointment myself; mom is stubborn and doesn't want to spend money if she doesn't have to, but I was worried her intestine would rupture and she'd go septic.

Her doctor didn't write us a prescription. Instead, we were told to buy a bottle of magnesium citrate at the nearest supermarket and to follow its directions. We did, and the results were phenomenal: within 4-6 hours of ingestion, a 10 day streak of constipation ended.
WARNING: The results of magnesium citrate can be dramatic. And potentially messy. And sometimes even explosive. What I'm saying is this: Clear your calendar, don't stay too far from the bathroom, wear easily removable clothes, and maybe put down some drop cloths in case you don't make it to the toilet in time. 
Frightening, yes, but also frighteningly effective.  There's a reason I call magnesium citrate the "prime mover", and that reason is it will move anything in your colon. In extreme cases, you may need to take a dose of Miralax alongside it. If you are still constipated after that, you're going to need surgery.

In less extreme circumstances, smaller doses of Mag C will prevent such blockage in the first place. To use my mother as another example, after coming home from the hospital she has taken a drink from the bottle every time she takes an oxy. So far, this has succeeded in keeping her regular.

Every prepper needs a bottle of Mag C in their cupboard.
  • Available: You can find it in every drug store and supermarket in the country. 
  • Affordable: A store/generic brand costs about a dollar for a 10 ounce bottle. 
  • Stable: It's shelf-stable for at least 2 years (and you're all familiar with my rants about expiration dates), so long as you don't open the bottle it doesn't require refrigeration; if you don't drink it all at once, then screw the lid on tightly and refrigerate it to reduce its interaction with oxygen. Dispose of it after a week past opening. 
  • Effective: Read the reviews; you'll find comments like "the bottom fell out of me", "colonoscopy prep" and... well... this

Buy a bottle of Mag C, put it in your medicine cabinet and forget about it. At worst, you're out a dollar. But if you have a stubborn blockage that you need removed, then just drink the Prime Mover and wait.

Disclaimer: Anyone with irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, or other diseases of the intestine shouldn't use magnesium citrate as it will trigger a bad IBS/UC attack. Consult your physician for other options.


  1. Also if you take dietary supplementation and you have any of those lower-digestive-tract ailments, CHECK YOUR MAGNESIUM SUPPLEMENTATION CAREFULLY! Mag C is a common form of dietary supplement, and believe me, it WILL have the same effect! (Ask me how I know...or don't.)

    1. FYI you can get the stuff in powder form as a dietary supplement, and don't have to refrigerate it or throw out the container a week after opening. Lasts a long time from what I can tell, as long as you keep it dry.


The Fine Print

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution- Noncommercial- No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Creative Commons License

Erin Palette is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to