The chemical formula for magnesium chloride is MgCl2. It is present in hydrated forms such as MgCl2.6H2O. It is a highly soluble Lewis acid. It is extracted from seawater and is a source of magnesium for metallurgical processes. Industrially, it is prepared by Dow’s process using magnesium hydroxide Mg(OH)2 and hydrochloric acid HCl. Pure magnesium chloride is a white or colorless, odorless and bitter-tasting compound.
Magnesium chloride contains one ion of magnesium and two ions of chlorine. It is a trusted magnesium supplement. A proper amount of magnesium chloride helps to balance the quantity of magnesium in the body. Magnesium chloride scores a point over other available magnesium supplements, because it can provide a greater proportion of magnesium per molecule. Hence, it is regarded as the most effective magnesium supplement.
The common forms of magnesium chloride supplements are tablets and capsules. They are to be ingested with water. Capsules are designed for slow release within the body. However, people suffering from kidney ailments and allergies must take magnesium chloride only upon the proper prescription from a doctor. Magnesium chloride also interferes with other herbal supplements. Hence, caution is advised.
The symptoms of an overdose of magnesium chloride are flushing, vomiting, dizziness, nausea, headache, hives, closing of the throat, etc. A large overdose may even prove fatal.
There are many industrial uses of magnesium chloride besides its medicinal uses. It is a raw material in the preparation of cement and refrigeration brine. Fireproofing equipment can be made using magnesium chloride due to its non-combustible properties. It is also used in post-treatment for textiles and paper.
Perhaps the most common function of magnesium chloride is as a de-icing agent. Magnesium chloride powder is sprinkled on the roads and pavements before the temperature approaches freezing point. This reduces snow formation on the road and improves driving conditions. One more advantage in using magnesium chloride as a de-icing agent is that it does not interfere with underground electric utilities. It is also being controversially used as a dust suppressant on roads and in homes.