Magnesium carbonate, also known as dolomite or magnesite, is a mineral salt used to treat hypomagnesemia (low amounts of magnesium in the blood) or digestive issues like heartburn and indigestion that are caused by excessive stomach acid.
In this post, we’ll explore the primary uses of magnesium carbonate. We’ll also discuss why you might not want to take magnesium carbonate (unless it’s combined with citric acid to make magnesium citrate). Plus, we’ll talk about what high-quality forms of magnesium could be better for your health.
Possible Clinical Benefits of Magnesium Carbonate
Heartburn and acid reflux
As mentioned, magnesium carbonate has antacid qualities that can help relieve heartburn and acid reflux. Over-the-counter and prescription antacids often combine magnesium carbonate or magnesium hydroxide with aluminum hydroxide or calcium carbonate to neutralize stomach acid.
Combatting calcium pyrophosphate dihydrate disease (CPPD)
Calcium pyrophosphate dihydrate disease (CPPD) is a painful rheumatologic condition in which crystals of calcium pyrophosphate dihydrate accumulate in connective tissue and joints. In a study by England’s Bristol Royal Infirmary, half of the participants with chronic CPPD received 10 milligrams of magnesium carbonate, and those patients reported significant relief from their symptoms.
Lowering phosphate levels in dialysis
In hemodialysis patients, phosphate levels can build up to unhealthy levels, which can cause bone and mineral disorders and problems with calcification.
In a study published in the journal International Urology and Nephrology, a team of researchers studied the effect of using magnesium carbonate (MgCO3) as a binder in dialysis patients to decrease the buildup of phosphate levels.
The study concluded that magnesium carbonate administered for 6 months acts as an effective agent for controlling blood phosphate levels for these patients.
How to Take Magnesium Carbonate
As an antacid medication, magnesium carbonate is commonly sold under the brand names Gaviscon, Foaming Antacid, and Acid Gone.
If you are taking a magnesium carbonate supplement, take the product as directed and follow the instructions of your healthcare provider or pharmacist.
Take a magnesium supplement with food and a full glass of water unless otherwise directed by a doctor. This can help you reduce stomach upset and diarrhea.
If your magnesium carbonate supplement comes in an extended-release or delayed-release tablet or capsule, do not crush or chew the medication. Swallow the tablet or capsule whole to avoid releasing all the medication into your system at once.
If your medication is in liquid form, use a measuring device or cup to ensure the correct dosage. Don’t use a household spoon to measure the medication. Shake the bottle well each time before taking your medication.
The Relationship Between Stomach Acid and Magnesium Absorption
There is a close relationship between digestive issues and magnesium absorption. Stomach acid is necessary to help absorb magnesium in the digestive tract, and we need normal amounts of magnesium to regulate the stomach acid we produce.
When we chronically use acid-blocking medications, it can decrease overall stomach acid levels and lead to poor magnesium absorption. This can perpetuate our stomach problems!
The symptoms of low magnesium levels are:
- Elevated heart rate
- Muscle aches or cramps
- Voicebox spasms
- Muscle weakness
(Learn more about signs of low magnesium here.)
If you find out that you are low on magnesium while taking acid-blocking medications, talk to your healthcare provider about potentially supplementing your diet with magnesium citrate to increase your levels.
Our disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most current information possible, but medications affect each person differently. We cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects of magnesium carbonate, and this information is not a substitute for medical advice. Before you start taking any medications, discuss any possible side effects or interactions with your healthcare provider who knows your medical history.
Is Magnesium Carbonate a Good Choice for Heartburn and Stomach Upset?
Antacid medications are supposed to decrease acid in your stomach, therefore giving you relief from heartburn and stomach upset. But some experts believe that digestive issues are caused by too little stomach acid.
In her book The Magnesium Miracle, Dr. Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D., says:
“Heartburn and indigestion, the result of bad eating habits, plague the nation. But the ‘cure’ in this case is no better than the disease. The roiling and burning in the gut from sugary junk food and greasy fast food is being inappropriately blamed on too much stomach acid. In many cases, heartburn is due to sugar fermentation in the stomach and a backflow of pancreatic enzymes from the small intestine.”
Magnesium carbonate does not resolve the issue of too little stomach acid because it is too alkaline. By formulation, magnesium carbonate doesn’t include an acid. Thus, it may not be the best choice for long-term relief from heartburn and stomach upset.
Get Relief From Digestive Symptoms with Magnesium Citrate
If you struggle with heartburn symptoms, adding a magnesium citrate supplement to your diet may help.
Magnesium citrate enhances digestion and also helps you keep up your magnesium levels. That’s because it contains citric acid, which counters the alkalinity of magnesium and helps to create the right acidity for digestion.
Natural Calm® magnesium citrate powder is made by combining magnesium carbonate with citric acid. When mixed with water, Natural Calm creates magnesium citrate, which is more easily absorbed in the small intestine than magnesium carbonate supplements.
The magnesium in Natural Calm magnesium is sourced from deep in the ocean, where magnesium naturally occurs.
Natural Calm has been made this way for over 30 years, and in that time has garnered tens of thousands of five-star reviews from customers around the world, and dozens of supplement awards.
It is a highly-absorbable magnesium supplement that is gentle on your stomach and easy to consume. You can sip Natural Calm throughout the day, or drink your full daily dose in the morning or evening, depending on how your digestive symptoms respond.
You can find Natural Calm in our online store or at retailers across Canada.