Magnesium For Bloating

  • 1st Revision: Human Maryam Ikram


Do your trousers dig into your stomach after eating? Or maybe  your stomach is swollen  despite not eating  much. This might be an indication that you are suffering from acid reflux, constipation, gas, bloating or even indigestion.  This means that the food you are consuming isn’t being adequately digested. This reduces your ability to absorb the necessary nutrients from it and can result in more serious long-term health issues, such as chronic constipation, if not treated soon enough.

It is of course a necessity to eat, but the aftermath of a heavy meal may not always be so satisfying in fact, nearly one in three of us experience discomfort and painful bloating after meals.1 Typically, bloating refers to the feeling of a tight, swollen abdomen caused by a build-up of gas after eating.

Some common symptoms of bloating include:

  • Stomach pain (caused by trapped wind) 
  • The sensation of your stomach feeling stretched or tight (due to increased abdominal pressure)
  • Constipation (being unable to frequently empty your bowels which may cause pressure on  your gut)
  • Nausea
  • A physical increase in  abdominal diameter
  • Stomach rumbling (caused by the movement of gas and fluids in the gastrointestinal tract)

Maintaining a diet for a healthy gut may include consuming lots  of whole foods rich in fibre. However, if this is still not enough to curb your symptoms, the use of laxatives or supplements may help .

How does magnesium affect bloating?

One of the recommended and most popular supplements is magnesium, which is an important mineral  for many bodily functions, including maintaining muscle and nerve activity, blood pressure and controlling insulin and blood sugar levels.2 It also has a distinctive role in other functions in our body, for example, magnesium is able to support the activation (and the metabolism) of vitamin D in our bodies to regulate calcium and phosphate homeostasis in order for optimal bone growth and function.3

Whilst magnesium is a core mineral involved in our bodily functions, one system which is particularly  gaining interest is its involvement in the digestive system and maintaining a healthy gut. Did you know that it’s impossible to digest food without magnesium in our bodies? Without it our bodies cannot make hydrochloric acid (stomach acid) or the digestive enzymes needed for the breakdown of carbohydrates, proteins and fats.

Magnesium supplements  ease abdominal cramping, anxiety and constipation, and is recommended to those suffering with IBS; and to help beat the belly bloat! One symptom of magnesium deficiency is constipation and is a result of poor digestion. Magnesium can be given as an osmotic laxative, meaning it relaxes your bowels and pulls water into your intestines, which helps to soften your stool and make it easier to pass. Several studies have demonstrated the importance of incorporating magnesium in your diet to improve bowel movement and to avoid unwanted digestive issues.(4) Furthermore, increasing magnesium intake has shown to help reduce bloating and water retention associated with premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and constipation.  

Which form of magnesium is best for bloating?

Magnesium comes in many forms like Epsom salts, supplements, in food and  oils- with supplements and food being the most  effective at  increasing magnesium levels in the body.   Epsom salts, contain magnesium sulphate (MgSO4) and has been used as a treatment for constipation for the past  350 years.5 So, enjoying an Epsom bath and absorbing the magnesium from the salts through your skin is  a good gut (and mind) relaxant.

Laxatives may be prescribed to those suffering from constipation, IBS or excessive chronic bloating  and are thought to alter epithelial function in the gut. Of these, magnesium oxide (MgO) is an osmotic laxative and has been used for numerous decades. Also, the effects of magnesium sulphate-rich mineral water was investigated in a study of subjects with constipation and demonstrated that it improved the frequency of bowel movements in these participants.

The recommended daily amount (RDA) for magnesium is often attainable through dietary management and increasing the intake of magnesium-rich foods may be beneficial for bloating and IBS, and can be found in a variety of foods including:

  • Legumes (e.g., lentils, chickpeas and peas)
  • Nuts and seeds (e.g., flaxseed and pumpkin seeds)
  • Spinach and leafy greens
  • Yoghurt, milk and dairy

However, if you are still deficient in magnesium, supplements are available to take and exist in many forms, where each one will differ in absorption rates. Particular formulations of magnesium supplements are considered to help ease the onset of symptoms. The most common ones are:

  • Magnesium oxide
  • Magnesium citrate
  • Magnesium sulphate
  • Magnesium glycinate
  • Magnesium chloride
  • Magnesium gluconate

Which supplement is the best?

It’s important to try and understand what may be causing the initial issue and whether the bloating is a symptom of an underlying problem, rather than a condition. 

Magnesium citrate is the most popular magnesium supplement as it is  inexpensive and easily absorbed. It is gentler than some of the other magnesium compounds. Also depending on the need for supplements, a specific type may be more suited to your symptoms. But for constipation it is thought that magnesium citrate is best since citric acid is a mild laxative and magnesium also aids the digestive system.6

Other magnesium treatments such as bathing with Epsom salts have shown limited evidence in preventing bloating, although it is recommended that Epsom salts can be consumed with water to have a better effect on constipation. Those with kidney disease or heart disease are advised to avoid consumption due to changes in electrolyte imbalances and changes in fluid.  

How much magnesium should I take for bloating?

The amount of magnesium required depends on age and sex.  NHS guidelines suggest that people assigned male at birth (PAMAB)  should aim to consume 300 mg and people assigned female at birth (PAFAB)  should aim to consume 270 mg of magnesium per day.

Essential vitamins and minerals do not  act alone but rather work  together to maintain a healthy body. To maximise the benefits, it is recommended to take vitamin B6 alongside  magnesium supplements. They are often marketed together as they work synergistically and have greater benefits when paired. They are said to improve functions such as:

  • Sleep, as both vitamins work together to ensure adequate synthesis of melatonin
  • Blood sugar control by improving insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance
  • Inflammation
  • Premenstrual syndrome when  taken together they can reduce bloating and tiredness to a greater degree

Side effects and other concerns

Most people who take magnesium supplements don’t experience any side effects, but over-supplementation with magnesium can be toxic and cause more serious side effects, such as:

  • Mild diarrhoea
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain

It is important to note that magnesium supplements may also interact with certain medications, like antibiotics or diuretics, making them less effective. The risk of magnesium toxicity is particularly higher in people with kidney problems and thus caution should be taken when taking supplements.

Equally, low magnesium levels may exacerbate or induce other undesirable complications such as migraines, osteoporosis, diabetes and even heart disease.(7 ) Therefore, it is essential that you take the recommended amount of  magnesium either through diet or supplementation.

Bloating that comes and goes is typically digestive or hormonal and is not likely to be serious. However, if your bloating  does not subside and is accompanied by other symptoms such as fever, severe abdominal pain or vomiting, you should seek medical attention to rule out other issues. 

These may include:

  • Pancreatic insufficiency: a form of pancreatic dysfunction in which your pancreas is not  able to produce enough digestive enzymes
  • Inflammation of the stomach (gastritis) or intestines (enteritis): which is usually caused by bacterial infection
  • Ascites: a gradual build-up of fluid in the abdominal cavity usually caused by liver disease, kidney or heart failure

These symptoms may suggest a deeper issue that may need to be addressed and therefore it would be advisable to seek medical attention.


Bloating is something that we all experience – and magnesium can be an excellent mineral to help curb these symptoms. Magnesium can be taken as many forms, and increasing magnesium-rich foods and supplementation has proven to help deficiencies and to be helpful in bloating , constipation and IBS. However, this may not be a solution for long-term treatment and therefore you should see a doctor to discuss other treatment options.


  1. Foley A, Burgell R, Barrett JS, Gibson PR. Management Strategies for Abdominal Bloating and Distension. Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2014 Sep;10(9):561–71.  Available from:
  2. Kim DJ, Xun P, Liu K, Loria C, Yokota K, Jacobs DR, et al. Magnesium intake in relation to systemic inflammation, insulin resistance, and the incidence of diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2010 Dec;33(12):2604–10.  Available from:
  3. Uwitonze AM, Razzaque MS. Role of Magnesium in Vitamin D Activation and Function. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2018 Mar 1;118(3):181–9.  Available from:
  4. Schuchardt JP, Hahn A. Intestinal Absorption and Factors Influencing Bioavailability of Magnesium-An Update. Curr Nutr Food Sci. 2017 Nov;13(4):260–78.  Available from:
  5. Mori H, Tack J, Suzuki H. Magnesium Oxide in Constipation. Nutrients. 2021 Jan 28;13(2):421.  Available from:
  6. Portalatin M, Winstead N. Medical Management of Constipation. Clin Colon Rectal Surg. 2012 Mar;25(1):12–9.  Available from:
  7. Gröber U, Schmidt J, Kisters K. Magnesium in Prevention and Therapy. Nutrients. 2015 Sep 23;7(9):8199–226.  Available from;
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

Get our health newsletter

Get daily health and wellness advice from our medical team.
Your privacy is important to us. Any information you provide to this website may be placed by us on our servers. If you do not agree do not provide the information.

Sabah Bharde

PhD student in Neurophysiology – Queen Mary, University of London

Sabah completed her undergraduate studies at Royal Holloway, University of London, attaining a BSc (Hons) in Biochemistry, followed by an MRes degree in Pharmacology at King’s College London. After her MRes, Sabah joined the lab of Dr Shafaq Sikandar, where she studies the peripheral mechanisms underlying the transition from acute to chronic pain.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * presents all health information in line with our terms and conditions. It is essential to understand that the medical information available on our platform is not intended to substitute the relationship between a patient and their physician or doctor, as well as any medical guidance they offer. Always consult with a healthcare professional before making any decisions based on the information found on our website.
Klarity is a citizen-centric health data management platform that enables citizens to securely access, control and share their own health data. Klarity Health Library aims to provide clear and evidence-based health and wellness related informative articles. 
Klarity / Managed Self Ltd
Alum House
5 Alum Chine Road
Westbourne Bournemouth BH4 8DT
VAT Number: 362 5758 74
Company Number: 10696687

Phone Number:

 +44 20 3239 9818