The Difference Between Mag-Go and Natural Calm
Dealing with a kid’s constipation problem can be a big struggle for parents. Constipation is one of the most common complaints at Pediatric offices. Unfortunately, what is usually recommended is Miralax and I’ve written an entire article on Why Not Miralax HERE. I’m so grateful that many parents are looking for natural solutions.
If you google “natural solutions for constipation”, one of the most consistent pieces of advice in the natural parenting and integrative health community is to try Magnesium. Magnesium is a great solution for constipation because it acts as a stool softener, not a stimulant. I do not recommend using stimulant laxatives like Senokot on a regular basis because they force the bowel to contract. This can cause uncomfortable abdominal pain as well as toxic megacolon. You do not want to know what that is...trust me.
Magnesium, on the other hand, works as an osmotic laxative or stool softener by pulling water in the bowels. This does not cause smooth muscle contraction instead it gently helps pull the stool through. The other great thing about Magnesium is that it is extremely safe. There have been studies looking at the safety of Magnesium in healthy kids that have been taking it for years with virtually no side effects.
If Magnesium is safe and effective. Which is the best one to choose? Researching parents often find two options:
Raise Them Well Mag-Go or Natural Calm.
Let me explain the differences.
First let’s look at Natural Calm. I want to begin by mentioning that Natural Calm is not a bad product and can achieve positive results in some kids. However, there are a few reasons why I believe it is inferior to Mag-Go.
First is the type of Magnesium used. Natural Calm uses Magnesium Carbonate as the main source of Magnesium. Magnesium Carbonate is not a great stool softener in itself and is a pretty strong antacid. Magnesium Carbonate needs to be converted to Magnesium Citrate so this is why they include Citric Acid in the formula.
This presents two problems. First, the magnesium needs to be converted for it to work. The conversion process is not 100% reliable so the amount of Magnesium Citrate in each dose is variable. This can be challenging because you are not comparing exact doses, so if one day it works and the next day it doesn’t it may because the doses were not equivalent.
The other problem is that if the conversion is not 100% you are stuck with a lot of Magnesium Carbonate so you have to deal with problems of shutting down stomach acid. The decreased stomach acid can result in poor digestion itself and so it can actually make matters worse.
Why Mag-Go is better.
Mag-Go uses Magnesium Oxide which I believe is a superior version of Magnesium for constipation. Magnesium Oxide has the best research behind it for safety in kids as well as effectiveness.
A study out of Japan followed 120 kids from ages 1-14 and found that “none of the patients had side effects associated with hypermagnesia (too much magnesium in the blood)”. It is also the preferable form of Magnesium because it is not well absorbed. I know that sounds like a weird reason why it is better but because we are using it as a stool softener we do not want it absorbed into the blood. This limits the risk of hypermagnesia and optimizes the osmotic characteristics.
Magnesium Citrate on the other hand is absorbed into the bloodstream.
The other difference is that the Magnesium oxide dose is very consistent from dose to dose. Since Magnesium oxide does not need to be converted for it to work, we know that each dose of Mag-Go is going to give you almost exactly 600mg per scoop. This is useful when trying to figure out if something is going to work and the exact dose that should be used.
So if you are looking for a natural constipation solution I think that you would not go wrong with Natural Calm or Mag-Go. However, if you want consistent doses without the possible antacid effects in a safe, great-tasting drink I think you and your kids will be pleased with Mag-Go.