The ability of this mineral to produce regularity appears to happen by two different mechanisms. First, it relaxes the muscles in the intestines which helps to establish a smoother rhythm. Next, it also attracts water, and this increased amount of water in the colon serves to soften the stool, helping to make stools easier to pass. A deficiency of this essential mineral can cause interference in the transmission of nerve and muscle impulses, causing irritability and nervousness. Whether this deficiency is what causes IBS, or the irritability and nervousness causes IBS, no one is sure. But this powerful mineral is worth a try.
Even though magnesium does have a softening and regulating effect, it does not carry the risk of dependence from long term use as is the case with laxatives. A word of caution: do not confuse this supplement with the laxative Milk of Magnesia. Milk of Magnesia contains a completely different form of the supplement called magnesium hydroxide, which is specifically intended to be used as a laxative. Along with the risk of developing a dependence on this, it can also cause severe gas and bloating, which is one thing that we are trying to avoid!
If you decide to try to supplement on your own, remember that it may take a few days to get used to it. If too much is taken too quickly, before your body has a chance to adjust, it can cause loose stools. Start with approximately 200 mg per day. Once you take the time to tweak the dosage, you will find that the supplement provides just the right amount of regularity with full and complete bowel movements, all with no side effects! In fact, this supplement can be beneficial in treating many disorders, other than just helping with bowel function. Along with the symptoms of IBS, a deficiency can show up as insomnia, irritability, poor digestion, rapid heartbeat, and seizures. Some nutritionists and holistic doctors also say that a deficiency is the root cause of many cardiovascular problems.