Milk of magnesia - Benefits of Magnesium HydroxideMilk of magnesia, also known by the generic name magnesium hydroxide, is a medicine that is used as a hydrating laxative and an antacid. It is not a dairy product, but rather a milky-white liquid that is made from magnesium hydroxide, purified water, and sodium hypochlorite. This medicine usually relieves uncomfortable gastrointestinal symptoms within 30 minutes and constipation within six hours.
Considered to be one of the best laxative, when consumed it neutralizes excess of stomach acid by pulling salt or saline solution from the blood into the intestines. This increases the water content which provides a flushing or laxative action within the intestines. Magnesium hydroxide is the most prominent component of antacids, and laxatives hence, milk of magnesia as a laxative interferes with the absorption of folic acid and iron in the body.
Treatment of Stomach Discomfort
Magnesium hydroxide is an alkaline suspension, which means that it is able to neutralize acids. When a patient swallows this medicine, the hydroxide ions in it react with the hydrogen ions in stomach acid, transforming both into water. This makes milk of magnesia effective in fighting excess stomach acid, which can cause indigestion, heartburn, and stomach ulcers. When used as an antacid, the usual adult dose is from 0.02 – 0.05 oz (500 mg to 1,500 mg).
Treatment of Constipation
The magnesium in milk of magnesia is what makes it an effective laxative. The mineral ions draw water into the intestinal tract from the surrounding body tissues. This extra water softens and increases the volume of feces, which stimulates the nerves in the intestines and causes a bowel movement. For the treatment of constipation, an adult dose is between 0.07 – 0.18 oz (2,000 mg and 5,000 mg).
Milk of Magnesia Laxative - Benefits
As an antacid, it functions by the process of neutralization, where the hydroxide ions from the Mg(OH)2 combine with acidic H+ ions produced in the form of hydrochloric acid by parietal cells in the stomach to form water. As a laxative, milk of magnesia functions by absorbing Mg2+ inadequately from the intestinal tract, so that it extracts water from the surrounding tissues by osmosis. This increases the water content that softens the feces and improves the volume of feces in the intestine, which automatically stimulates the intestine mobility. Along with this, Mg2+ ions release CCK (cholecystokinin, a peptide hormone of the gastrointestinal system responsible for stimulating the digestion of fat and protein), which causes intraluminal accumulation of water, electrolytes and intestinal motility.
Other Benefits of Milk of Magnesia
• Milk of magnesia laxative is available in the form of chewable tablets, capsules, or as liquids having variety of added flavors. It is not only used to relieve constipation or other gastro-intestinal problems, but also helps in alleviating indigestion and heartburn.
• It is used as a non-antiperspirant armpit deodorant.
• It also works against canker sores (aphthous ulcer) when utilized topically.
• If you have symptoms of seborrhea and dandruff, it works as a folk remedy when applied and massaged few minutes before hair washing.
• It is also beneficial in treating acne or oily skin when applied topically. All you have to do is to apply it on your face, allow it to dry and then rinse it. In fact, its oil-blotting properties makes it the best primer before applying makeup. • Therefore, all those who suffer slight increase in oil production during the summer months should keep milk of magnesia on hand for those seasonal outbreaks and other skincare issues.
• Milk of magnesia is also considered to be useful for treating seborrheic dermatitis, a drying and flaking of the skin similar to dandruff but often occurs on the face.
• For industrial applications, powdered magnesium hydroxide, being a non-hazardous alkali, neutralizes acidic waste waters and plays an important role in the Biorock method of building artificial reefs.
How to use Milk of Magnesia Oral ?
Take this product by mouth as directed. For the chewable form, chew thoroughly before swallowing. For the liquid form, shake the bottle well before each dose. Carefully measure the dose using a special measuring device/spoon. Do not use a household spoon because you may not get the correct dose. If you are taking this medication for constipation, drink a full glass of water (8 ounces or 240 milliliters) with each dose. Follow all directions on the product package, or use as directed by your doctor. If you are uncertain about any of the information, consult your doctor or pharmacist.
Milk of Magnesia Ingredients
This compound is referred to as an alkaline suspension, and goes through a lot of chemical process before it is formed. In its most basic form, this compound is form by metathesis reaction from the following ingredients:
• Magnesium salts
• Ammonium hydroxide
• Magnesium oxide
• Beryllium hydroxide
• Calcium hydroxide
• Barium hydroxide
• Strontium hydroxide
However, its main active ingredients remain to be magnesium hydroxide, with inactive ingredients such as sodium hypochlorite and purified water.
Milk of magnesia can react with certain antibiotics, and may be harmful to fetuses or newborns. Patients who are taking antibiotics, or who are pregnant or nursing, need to consult with a medical professional before taking this type of medicine. As with any other medication, milk of magnesia does occasionally produce side effects, including weakness, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Most patients tolerate it well, so those with severe side effects should be sure to contact a healthcare provider. All patients should only use magnesium hydroxide for up to one week, unless otherwise instructed by a medical professional.
Patients with severe or chronic kidney disease are typically advised to limit their intake of magnesium, so they should only use milk of magnesia under the orders of a healthcare provider who is familiar with the condition. Healthy kidneys remove this mineral from the body quickly while unhealthy kidneys may not be able to effectively do so. This could lead to toxic levels in the blood, a condition called hypermagnesemia.
Milk of magnesia is sold over the counter. It comes in the traditional liquid suspension, as well as chewable tablets and capsules, and may be unflavored or flavored, usually in mint or cherry. Health professionals often recommend taking it with a full glass of juice or water to help with absorption.