A simple way to sidestep magnesium’s one major side effect

Q: I need more magnesium, but every time I take even a small amount, I end up with diarrhea. What can I do?

Dr. Fred: The first thing you should do is check to see what type of magnesium you are taking. All magnesium is not created equal. Magnesium oxide is the most common form on the market. And doctors use this form specifically for its laxative properties when they want to induce bowel movement in patients. (This is also true for magnesium sulfate.)

Especially if you’re having issues with loose stools, try supplementing with either magnesium orotate or magnesium taurate instead. Those forms are readily bio-available and you shouldn’t have an issue taking them.

Don’t forget to fill up on magnesium-rich foods, while you’re at it. Pumpkin seeds, spinach, swiss chard, sesame seeds, cashews, and sunflower seeds are all great natural sources of this critical mineral.