Because of magnesium’s role in regulating muscle contraction, and the release of neurotransmitters related to muscular activity, physical sensations of relaxation are likely to occur. Calcium re-uptake, a process that is enabled by magnesium, allows for more effective “rest” periods between contractions within muscle fibers and tissues.
Magnesium by nature is hygroscopic (attracts and holds water molecules from the surrounding environment) and so, therefore, every application of magnesium orally is readily expected to produce subtle to drastic laxative effects on the bowel. Magnesium sulfate (Epsom salt) is commonly used as a stool softener and laxative. Magnesium chloride has also been sometimes used orally for this purpose, but is regarded too readily absorbed by the bowel, despite low gut magnesium absorption in general, making it an inferior laxative when compared to magnesium sulfate. The laxative properties of ingested magnesium suggest marginal intracellular absorption at best while the continuous use of laxative substances has been widely attributed to exacerbation of gastrointestinal afflictions such as bowel sensitivity, diarrhea, electrolyte imbalance, and dehydration.
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