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Any scientific proof that Epsom salt absorbs Magnesium trandermally?

Discussion in 'General Treatment' started by amaru7, Jul 24, 2017.

  1. amaru7

    amaru7 Senior Member

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    I was lead to the conclusion that it would be the best way to absorb magnesium and rais sulfate level while relaxing. But now I found a few links that do state otherwhise. Does anyone have experience or opinion on this?


    http://www.rd.com/health/wellness/does-epsom-salt-work/
    http://abcnews.go.com/Health/truth-epsom-salt/story?id=29675918
    https://www.scienceworld.ca/blog/ever-wonder-about-epsom-salts
    (Interesting comments. Especially the last one.)
    https://tonic.vice.com/en_us/article/evg7nk/theres-no-proof-epsom-salt-baths-actually-do-anything
     
  2. arewenearlythereyet

    arewenearlythereyet Senior Member

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    I was a sceptic, but have tested the sleep part and definitely benefit from more deep sleep on the nights that I have an Epsom salt bath. Normally I get 1 hr of deep sleep according to my fit bit. I have an Es bath twice per week and those nights I get around 1.5 hrs deep sleep. This seems fairly consistent. It might just be the temperature of course but the other effects (better concentration, less agitation ) on the day immediately after the bath makes me think there is something in it. I haven't seen specific papers for Epsom salts but transdermal medication has been proven beyond doubt (in terms of the skin being permeable to small molecules etc) in other areas. Magnesium sulphate is quite small so I assumed this was possible for Epsom salts. I think the benefit is from the elemental magnesium rather than the sulphate though.
     
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  3. Richard7

    Richard7 Senior Member

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  4. alicec

    alicec Senior Member

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    I do recall reading a small study about topical magnesium oil (magnesium chloride) raising blood levels of magnesium but can't find it at the moment.

    The articles are probably right that there have been few if any scientific studies of the efficacy of Epsom salts bath (who would fund such a study?), but the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

    You will find abundant anecdotal evidence of the benefit of topical magnesium on PR and other places. The warmth of a bath might be a contributing factor for those who use the bath technique, but some of us apply the solution directly to the skin and skip the bath.

    I for one find considerable benefit for muscle aches and pains and I know from blood tests that my RBC magnesium is at the top of the range.

    Then of course there is the several thousands of years of experience of people seeking out mineral springs for bathing and drinking, to the apparent benefit of numerous health complaints.

    The articles suggest that ionic substances applied to the skin are not readily taken up into blood and cells since they can't cross cell membranes.

    They don't appear to have heard of transporter molecules whose job it is to do just that - carry charged substances across cell membranes. There are several transporters for magnesium and several for sulfate ( I believe the benefit of Epsom salts comes from both the magnesium and sulfate moieties). Some of these at least are found in skin.
     
  5. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    My own technique for applying Epsom salts is not to use a bath, but to apply a saturated solution of Epsom salts directly to the skin of my body from head to toe, and let it dry for a couple of minutes before putting my clothes back on. More info about my technique here.

    This is because unless you want to place many kilos of Epsom salts into your bath water (which would be very expensive), you are not going to get a high concentration of Epsom salts on the skin, because your Epsom salts are diluted in all the bathwater. Whereas when you apply a saturated solution of Epsom salts directly to your skin, you are getting the maximum concentration possible.

    Magnesium cream (which is just a solution of magnesium chloride in water) is applied in the same way: directly to the skin.

    I used transdermal Epsom salts mainly for its anti-anxiety effects (high doses of magnesium act as an NMDA receptor blocker, which has an anxiolytic effect). It is very easy to observe the anti-anxiety effects of transdermal magnesium when you have anxiety disorder — anxiolytic effects that I did not experience when I took around 500 mg of elemental magnesium orally.

    So the fact that oral supplementation did not have noticeable anti-anxiety effects seems to indicate that transdermally you absorb substantially more magnesium than the 500 mg I took orally. My guess is that I was transdermally absorbing around 2000 mg or more of magnesium, when applying the Epsom salts saturated solution to my skin from head to toe.



    Generally speaking, the 500 Dalton rule for the skin penetration of chemical compounds says that only compounds whose molecular weight is less than 500 daltons can pass through the skin. The molecular weight of Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) is 120.4 daltons, so that's well below the 500 dalton limit.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2017
  6. alicec

    alicec Senior Member

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    Here are some calculations I made.
     
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  7. arewenearlythereyet

    arewenearlythereyet Senior Member

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    I guess time in contact with the bath water is also another factor. I use 600g in my bath and stay in there for at least 45 minutes.

    I think the study that @Richard7 posted used a similar amount but saw results after 12 minutes ( I read it an hour ago but already my memory is fading ...it was lower than 45 min anyway).

    For the small amount applied via spray bottle, time is less important since the available amount of mag sulphate is limited. The study showed that the body does reach an equilibrium (as measured by mg in urine) so I guess the body actively regulates magnesium use once absorbed so it is like the gut in that respect.

    So in principle spray bottle and baths can give similar results, it's just one relies on concentration and amount applied and the other relies on dwell time and concentration. Both have practical and economical pros and cons. I found that I need to reapply the spray oil during the day whereas the bath lasts all day.
     
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  8. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    When I apply a saturated solution to my skin, after the water is fully dried (which only takes 5 minutes), the skin is coated with | a fine dust of magnesium sulfate, which if you rub, will actually fall off; but if you don't rub, the magnesium sulfate dust stays there on your skin for hours (even when you put clothes on).

    So it is possible that this topical application is delivering magnesium into the body for several hours, rather than just in the first few minutes. Although it's not clear to me whether it does or not, because once the water on your skin dries up after 5 minutes, it may be that the dry magnesium sulfate dust does not absorb that well without water (unless you are sweating a bit, in which case your skin will provide more water).
     
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  9. trishrhymes

    trishrhymes Senior Member

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    I've tried 2 different spray on magnesium oil (Brand name - Better You).

    Both contain magnesium chloride hexahydrate, one called 'Goodnight' includes also some essential oils, the other called 'Sensitive' is meant for sensitive skin.

    I use them occasionally at night when I can't sleep or have a bout of restless legs. They do seem to help but I'm not sure how much of that is placebo effect.

    My problem, and the reason I only use them when desperate, is that the immediately make my skin itch horribly. I only put it on my legs because of this, and take a wet flannel back to bed with me so I can wipe it all off when the itching gets too annoying, usually after about 10 minutes, so not much time for absorption to take place.

    I can't do the baths because I would need a helper to get me in and out of the bath and would be too exhausted anyway - and I hate baths!

    Any suggestions of alternatives?
     
  10. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    Itchiness is exactly the problem I had with magnesium cream / magnesium oil (which is not an oil, but just plain old magnesium chloride dissolved in water — for some reason, when you dissolve magnesium chloride crystals into water, it creates a solution that feels slippery and oily, but actually there is no oil there at all).

    My solution was simply to switch to magnesium sulfate (Epsom salts), which I find does not itch. To use magnesium sulfate, just buy some from a local chemist, and make up a saturated solution in warm water (saturated = dissolve in as much Epsom salts as the water will take), and apply this to your skin. The magnesium sulfate solution does not have an oily feel like the magnesium chloride solution, and does not itch, and it works well.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2017
  11. trishrhymes

    trishrhymes Senior Member

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  12. arewenearlythereyet

    arewenearlythereyet Senior Member

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    I find the magnesium chloride itchy/stings as well. But weirdly I find my legs itch when I need it too? .... I make a 50% solution since that seemed to be what the retail products were selling. Will definitely go on to magnesium sulphate spray once my pack of chloride is over.
     
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  13. echobravo

    echobravo Keep searching, the answer is out there

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    Are there any differences in the therapeutic effects between MgSO4 and MgCl? Does any of them have negative effects, I mean "chloride" doesn't sound too good..,;)

    can buy 25kg MgCl for around $20 here, it is cheap here because it is used during winter on icy roads. MgSO4, however, would be 10 times the cost.
     
  14. Richard7

    Richard7 Senior Member

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    I used to use MgSO4 solution over my legs arms belly and MgCL solution on my forhead, pate and neck.

    I found that the MgCL seemed more effective but hurt wherever I got a skin abrasion. Well that was my guess. I know that it hurt when I had a scratch on my scalp. But it mostly hurt/stung on parts of my where I assumed that my jeans or other clothes were lighly abrading my skin. Nothing that the eye could see.

    These days I just use the MgSO4. its easier to just have the one solution. In summer I was applying it twice and then topping it off with some moisturiser which seemed to improve absorbtion. Without the moisturiser it seemed to flake off too quickly. But it is too cold at this time of year so I am just applying it the once in the morning. But sometimes I need to apply it at night. Sometimes I ake with painful twitching leg muscles or a restless leg and apply it in the middle of the night. It seems to work quickly.

    I did try footbaths of MgSO4 but associated it at the time with a worsening of my PoTS. Frankly my anxiety was over the top at that time so I am not sure how good my judgement was.
     
  15. panckage

    panckage Senior Member

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    I've tried the technique you describe @Hip but I find that my body just becomes covered in fine salt crystals when the solution dries. Do you not have the same problem?
     
  16. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    Yes, that's what I get in transdermal application. If you lower the dose that you apply to the skin (or use a more diluted solution of Epsom salts), you will get a reduced amount of these fine salt crystals when the solution dries. However, I think a very light coating of fine salt crystals may be desirable, as this coating may continue to be absorbed through the skin for several hours after a transdermal application.

    I think part of the Epsom salts solution gets absorbed relatively quickly as the liquid sinks into the skin; but then over the next few hours, possibly some of the fine salt crystal coating may later get absorbed as well.

    By the way, when I use the spray bottle to apply the Epsom salts solution, I find spraying directly onto the body skin makes a bit of a mess (the spray ends up on furniture, etc), so instead I just spray a bit of solution into the cupped palm of my other hand, and then rub the solution into the skin of my body with that hand.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2017
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  17. amaru7

    amaru7 Senior Member

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    Hmmm, a study would be so easy, that even I could plan it, take some people, test intracellular Mg levels before and after multiple Magnesium Sulfate (Epsom Salt) Baths and this should be quite clarifying, I wish it would work so easy, because oral supplementation especially with large tabs is annoying.
     
  18. alicec

    alicec Senior Member

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    Well that's essentially what the small study linked above did. They didn't measure RBC magnesium but rather magnesium in blood. I suspect it was a very old study and the RBC technique may not have been in use.

    In theory it is easy enough to plan a study but who would fund it?

    Why don't you just try it?
     
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  19. amaru7

    amaru7 Senior Member

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    I already started taking oral Mg and atm I don't have the ability to do before and after testing. I hope Mg Citrate will suffice. One argument I heard was that if it would be absorbed transdermally, then one would die swimming in the dead see.
     
  20. alicec

    alicec Senior Member

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    So you believe every idiot thing anyone says?
     
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