Can Magnesium Supplements Cause Acid Reflux? All the Facts

Magnesium is an essential mineral required by our bodies for optimal functioning. 

While its benefits are numerous, many wonder, “can magnesium supplements cause acid reflux?” 

In this article, we will explore the relationship between magnesium and acid reflux, as well as discuss appropriate magnesium forms and dosages for those prone to acid reflux.

Does Magnesium Increase Acid Reflux?

Magnesium supplements do not typically increase acid reflux. In fact, some forms of magnesium may even prevent the acid from “reaching up”, thus helping alleviate symptoms in the short term. 

More on this in a bit.

However, we have to keep in mind that individual experiences may vary, and certain forms of magnesium (glycinate, for example) could potentially cause discomfort in some people.

Could that be acid reflux? It’s not very likely, but it could happen.

Will Magnesium Have Any Effects on Acid Reflux?

Magnesium can have an effect on acid reflux, as it plays a role in muscle relaxation.

Specifically, it can help relax the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), the muscle responsible for preventing stomach acid from flowing back into the esophagus, which is exactly what we mentioned a few seconds ago.

In some cases, magnesium may help alleviate acid reflux symptoms by improving this function, which is why many that suffer from GERD praise their magnesium supplements.

Are There Any Types of Magnesium That are Better for Acid Reflux Than Others?

Yes, certain forms of magnesium are better tolerated by individuals with acid reflux. 

Magnesium carbonate, for example, is one of them. [1]

This not-so-popular yet very bioavailable form of magnesium actually turns into magnesium chloride when it comes into touch with the hydrochloric acid in our stomachs, which could prove to be beneficial for your acid reflux.

Magnesium citrate, on the other hand, may cause stomach irritation in some individuals, potentially worsening acid reflux symptoms.

How Much Magnesium to Take When You Have Acid Reflux?

The appropriate dosage of magnesium depends on several factors, but the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for magnesium ranges from 310 mg to 420 mg per day for adults, depending on age and sex.

If you have acid reflux, starting with a lower dose and monitoring your symptoms is the best way to start. If you notice that acid reflux isn’t bothering you at lower doses, gradually start increasing your dose until you find what works best for you and your stomach.

But as always, it’s always best to consult with a physician or a doctor than experiment on your own.

What are the Possible Side Effects of Taking Magnesium?

Generally speaking, there aren’t any serious side effects to taking magnesium. In other words, if you’re a healthy individual and you adhere to RDA – magnesium shouldn’t cause any side effects.

That said, there could be some.

Some potential side effects (aside from the occasional acid reflux) of taking magnesium supplements include diarrhea, nausea, and stomach cramps

These side effects are generally mild and are often the results of a too large a dose.

Are There Any Supplements That Should Be Avoided for Those Prone to Acid Reflux?

While the effect of supplements can vary from person to person, some common ones to be cautious of are iron, calcium, and vitamin C.

Iron supplements can be particularly irritating to the stomach lining, potentially increasing the risk of heartburn or reflux. 

Calcium carbonate, a popular form of calcium supplement, can lead to increased stomach acid production, which can then trigger reflux symptoms. 

Vitamin C in its ascorbic acid form is another supplement to watch for, as its acidity can aggravate reflux symptoms. 

That said, daily habits and lifestyle choices are usually the ones to blame. Excess caffeine, alcohol, or a highly stressful lifestyle are more likely to cause heartburn and acid reflux than vitamin C or iron.

Are There Any Other Supplements That Could Help with Acid Reflux?

Thankfully, there are a few supplements you can take that can help with acid reflux and heartburn.

First up, we have betaine hydrochloride or betaine HCl.

This supplement is often used to increase stomach acid levels for those who have low acid production, which can actually contribute to acid reflux symptoms.[2] 

By supporting proper digestion and nutrient absorption, betaine HCl may help alleviate heartburn in some cases. 

Another helpful supplement is deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL), which has been found to soothe and protect the stomach lining, thereby reducing inflammation and promoting healing. 

However, there’s more research needed on this, as well as some FDA involvement – just for safety.

Probiotics are another great option, as they help balance the gut flora, improving overall digestion and potentially easing acid reflux symptoms. 

Lastly, melatonin, commonly known for its sleep–schedule-regulating properties, has been shown to improve esophageal sphincter function (the same as magnesium), which can help prevent stomach acid from entering the esophagus.

Conclusion

There you have it, a complete answer to “can magnesium supplements cause acid reflux?”

Magnesium supplements are generally safe and unlikely to cause acid reflux.

But, as fate would have it – that isn’t true for everyone.

Some of you will, unfortunately, experience some heartburn once you start taking magnesium.

Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to mitigate these side effects and enjoy the benefits of magnesium.

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