Difference Between Magnesium and Magnesium Citrate

Magnesium vs Magnesium Citrate

There are numerous magnesium compounds. They are useful in many ways in chemical laboratories, industries, medicine and even in our day-to-day lives.


Magnesium is the 12th element in the periodic table. It is in the alkaline earth metal group, and in the 3rd period. Magnesium is depicted, as Mg. Magnesium is one of the most abundant molecules in the earth. It is an essential element in macro level for plants and animals. Magnesium has the electron configuration of 1s2 2s2 2p6 3s2. Since there are two electrons in the outer most orbital, magnesium likes to donate that electron to another more electronegative atom and form a +2 charge ion. The atomic weight of Mg is about 24 g mol-1, and it is light weighted, but a strong metal. Mg is a crystalline solid with a silvery color. But it is highly reactive with oxygen, thus forms a magnesium oxide layer, which is dark in color. This MgO layer acts as a protective layer. So naturally, Mg is not found as a pure element. When free Mg is burnt, it gives a characteristic sparkling white flame. Mg is also highly soluble in water, and reacts with water, at room temperature, releasing hydrogen gas bubbles. Magnesium also reacts well with most acids and produces MgCl2 and H2 gas. Mg is largely found in seawater and minerals like dolomite, magnesite, carnallite, talc, etc. Magnesium is extracted from seawater by adding calcium hydroxide. The resulting magnesium hydroxide precipitate can be filtered out, and it is then reacted with HCl to produce MgCl2 again. By electrolysis of magnesium chloride, Mg can be separated at the cathode. Mg is used in organic reactions (Grignard reagent), and in many other laboratory reactions. Moreover, Mg compounds are incorporated into food, fertilizers and culture media, since it is an essential element for growth and development of organisms.

Magnesium Citrate

Magnesium citrate is the Mg salt of citric acid. It is widely used for medicinal purposes under the brand names citrate of Magnesia, Citroma, Citroma Cherry, Citroma Lemon. Since magnesium is essential for human bodies, especially for muscle and nerve functions, it can be given in compound form as magnesium citrate. This is given as a laxative to induce bowel movements and treat constipation. Magnesium citrate attracts water, thus can increase the water amount in the intestine, and induce defecation. The compound is not generally harmful, but if you have allergies, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, it is better consulting a doctor before you take this drug. For the best result, this drug should be taken in an empty stomach followed by a full glass of water. Overdose of magnesium citrate can cause vomiting, nausea, low blood pressure, coma and death.

What is the difference between Magnesium and Magnesium Citrate?

• Magnesium citrate is a molecule of magnesium element.

• Magnesium citrate is a drug and can be used for many medicinal purposes, whereas magnesium itself cannot be used for medicinal purposes.