Magnesium oxide and magnesium chelate are very similar, as far as what they are used for. Magnesium is a very important mineral for our bodies, and though we can get sufficient magnesium through proper diet, many do not eat well and need extra magnesium. Both of these medicines are used to place extra magnesium in our bodies and to help with hundreds of metabolic reactions in our bodies, states The main difference between the two is that chelated magnesium is easier for the body to absorb.


Both drugs can help to maintain proper magnesium levels in our bodies, and thus help to maintain proper health. Many patients will use these medications to treat heartburn, sour stomach or acid indigestion, explains The drugs are also used to treat short term constipation, as they help to rapidly empty the bowel. also states that magnesium drugs such as these can help with long and heavy menstrual cycles, migraine headaches, osteoporosis, ADHD and can be used to improve heart health.


The precautions for both drugs are quite similar. Before taking these medications, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any medications, have kidney, liver and heart disease or high blood pressure, states To prevent any complications, it is important to not take any other magnesium supplements, laxatives, antacid pills or any other drugs will using either drug. Also, states that it is not known if these drugs affect unborn babies, but women need to speak with their doctor if they are pregnant or plan on becoming pregnant.

How to Take

The difference between the two medications is that chelated magnesium is bonded to nitrogen to make sure that it does not interact with other compounds, explains This helps with absorption of the drug. Both should be taken as directed, with plenty of water, and in some cases, food. These medications are usually taken 1 to 4 times a day, but in cases where they are taken as a laxative, take your dose late in the day and as needed. Neither should be taken for long periods of time, and in case of an overdose, contact your doctor immediately.

Side Effects

If you experience swelling of the throat, lips, tongue or face and have difficulty breathing, you may be having an allergic reaction to the drug. This reaction can be very serious, thus seek immediate medical attention. Less serious side effects are cramping and diarrhea, states Serious side effects may include dizziness, nausea, vomiting, itching, rash, hives, weakness, mental or mood changes, lightheadedness and unusual tiredness, informs Again, call your doctor if you experience any of these, as you may need to stop taking these medications.


It is very important to understand what other drugs should not be taking while using either drug. states that drugs such as "a tetracycline antibiotic (such as doxycycline), a fluoroquinolone antibiotic (such as Cipro), penicillamine, digoxin, and nitrofurantoin" should not be taking while patients are using magnesium oxide and magnesium chelate. Magnesium supplements can interact with these drugs and cause adverse effects on the body. For more information on these drugs, please speak with your doctor to prevent any complications and to see if these drugs are right for you.