Selected Questions And Answers
Some questions too common to ignore some questions too funny not to try to answer and one or two that are just good questions.
Q. Why would the FDA allow studies to be published that show Epsom salts are more effective than their muscle relaxers and pain pills? For $1/lb of epsom salt this would kill their market and profits.
A. Industry protectionism for baths? Preposterous! The FDA has literally nothing to do magnesium sulfate research. Any Big Pharma/FDA conspiracy against Epsom salt is clearly failing, because the stuff is available literally everywhere, and the FDA actually approves it for use as a laxative and a variety of external uses. Approval seems like kind of a funny way of implementing an anti-salt agenda. In short, this question is just knee-jerk anti-mainstream medicine paranoia based on major misunderstandings of what the FDA is and how it works. Nevertheless, it is a concern Ive often see expressed, so I decided it was time to address it here.
Ironically, if there is any relevant commercial bias, it is one in favour of Epsom salts. For instance, the Epsom Salt Council exists to promote the industry and is eager to let everyone know the benefits of our product and spread the word about the wonder that is Epsom salt. They prominently publish uncritical and unequivocal claims of medical benefit on their website.
Do not try at home
Q. Why does the bag of epsom salts warn that diabetics should not take baths with epsom salts?
The Dangers Of Epsom Salts
Epsom salt, also known as magnesium sulfate, is a drug that is available over the counter and by prescription. For OTC use, it is taken orally and used as a soak. Prescription uses include shots and intravenous use. This product is used to treat a variety of conditions, including seizures, rapid heartbeat, skin wounds and constipation.
Magnesium Deficiency And Supplementation
Magnesium is one of the essential minerals life finds a way, but not without a good supply of Mg it doesnt. We use a lot of the stuff: its one of the big three mineral nutrients, along with sodium and potassium. If its missing, blood pressure rises, glucose tolerance drops, and our nerves get just a wee bit trigger happy. Interestingly, fixing a deficiency is actually sedating! It literally calms your nerves, and that could certainly be relevant to chronic pain.48
So, despite its biological importance, deficiencies may be both common and related to pain. Its in roughly the same category as vitamin D deficiency and pain: it might matter to a lot of people, especially pain patients, and supplementing is quite safe.49 In the extremely scammy world of supplements and nutraceuticals, vitamin D and magnesium both stand out as being less lame .
The other big idea about magnesium is that it prevents cramps. This idea is mostly inspired by the myth that cramps are caused by dehydration and a shortage of electrolytes like Mg.50 If low Mg doesnt cause cramps, adding Mg probably wont prevent them.51
Magnesium deficiency causes
How does one develop hypomagnesemia in the first place? Mostly from alcohol abuse and diarrhea.
Its also a common side effect of proton pump inhibitor drugs for heartburn and acid reflux.
Theres plenty of magnesium in our food, so its rare to be deficient from an inadequate diet.
Magnesium deficiency symptoms
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Safety And Side Effects
While Epsom salt is generally safe, there are a few negative effects that can occur if you use it incorrectly. This is only a concern when you take it by mouth.
First of all, the magnesium sulfate in it can have a laxative effect. Consuming it may result in diarrhea, bloating, or upset stomach.
If you use it as a laxative, make sure to drink plenty of water, which may reduce digestive discomfort. Furthermore, never take more than the recommended dosage without first consulting your doctor.
Some cases of magnesium overdose have been reported, in which people took too much Epsom salt. Symptoms include nausea, headache, lightheadedness, and flushed skin (
Contact your doctor if you experience signs of an allergic reaction or other serious side effects.
The magnesium sulfate in Epsom salt can produce side effects when taken by mouth. You can prevent these by using it correctly and talking with your doctor before increasing your dosage.
Here are a few of the most common ways to use Epsom salt.
Epsom Salt The Magnesium
Athletes commonly use it for sore muscles while gardeners sprinkle it on plants to increase their growth. Were talking Epsom salt, of course. Epsom salt has a long history of diversified use and benefits for health, beauty, household cleaning and outdoor gardening.
So if youre wondering: Do Epsom salts actually do anything? Yes, they do. Epsom salt is a natural exfoliant and anti-inflammatory remedy that can be used to treat muscle aches, dry skin and even fight various internal health issues. Simply add Epsom salt to your next detox bath recipe or foot soak to create a luxurious and therapeutic at-home spa experience. Unlike other salts, external contact with Epsom salt does not leave the skin feeling dry. In fact, it actually leaves it feeling soft and silky.
Another huge benefit of this incredible salt is its magnesium content. According to a scientific review published in 2018, you can have a magnesium deficiency even when your serum magnesium levels are normal. In addition, its been found that most people need an additional 300 milligrams of magnesium per day in order to lower their risk of developing numerous chronic diseases.
This is just one of many reasons to add this salt to your routine.
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Exercise Performance And Recovery
Some people claim that taking Epsom salt baths can reduce muscle soreness and relieve cramps both important factors for exercise performance and recovery.
It is well known that adequate magnesium levels are helpful for exercise because magnesium helps your body use glucose and lactic acid .
While relaxing in a hot bath may help soothe aching muscles, there is no evidence that people absorb bathwater magnesium through their skin .
On the other hand, oral supplements can effectively stave off magnesium insufficiency or deficiency.
Athletes are prone to low magnesium levels, so health professionals often recommend that they take magnesium supplements to ensure optimal levels.
While magnesium is clearly important for exercise, the use of bath salt to enhance fitness is not well researched. At this point, the supposed benefits are purely anecdotal.
How Oftenyou Can Take Epsom Salt Baths
to get the mostout of your Epsom salt bath, consider adding this to your bath three times aweek. For your comfort, dont eat right before or after the bath and be sure todrink water in the time around your bath to keep yourself hydrated. While Epsomsalt hydrates your skin, it can dehydrate you to varying degrees. Spruce upyour water with some citrus or fruit if you want to enhance the spa-likequality of your bath!
There are a lotof benefits to taking these types of baths, but there are also Epsom salt bathside effects that youll need to be aware of to make sure you enjoy it safelyand to the fullest. First of all, be careful to never ingest the bath water.This could cause severe diarrhea that could lead to discomfort and dehydration.Epsom salts could also cause allergic reactions, so be aware of all your skin sensitivitiesbefore bathing. If you experience any skin irritation or itchiness after use,stop. If you have an open wound or severe burn, the Epsom salt could also causediscomfort.
If you findthat you want to relax and indulge yourself more often, then consider using anyof the other Vitabath bubble baths or fizzies on the other days of the week. This isthe best way to de-stress and take some time to yourself.
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Reduced Pain And Swelling
Another common claim is that Epsom salt helps reduce pain and swelling.
Many people report that taking Epsom salt baths improves symptoms of fibromyalgia and arthritis.
Again, the magnesium is deemed responsible for these effects, since many people with fibromyalgia and arthritis are deficient in this mineral.
One study in 15 women with fibromyalgia concluded that applying magnesium chloride to the skin may be beneficial for reducing symptoms .
However, this study was based on questionnaires and lacked a control group. Its results should be taken with a grain of salt.
Most of the purported benefits of Epsom bath salts are anecdotal. On the other hand, oral magnesium supplements may benefit sleep, stress, digestion, exercise, and pain in people who are deficient.
Testing Magnesium Absorption On Harvested Human Skin Samples
Science: Hey, can I have that skin off your belly? You dont need it right?
Tummy Tuck Patient: Um, sure
Science: Thanks! Got to find out if magnesium ions can get through that.
This section is all about one odd experiment32 that involves a number of strange rituals performed on skin samples, like gluing hair follicles shut with super glue. It almost answers the tricky scientific question of whether magnesium ions can be absorbed through the skin, but it still falls short.
It does convincingly show that magnesium ions can diffuse through the stratum corneum, and that hair follicles probably facilitate that movement, but it does not establish that they do so in clinically meaningful numbers, especially in the conditions of a typical Epsom salts bath. Regardless, its neato science. These chemists had complicated chemistry reasons to believe that damp magnesium ions actually do not swell up too much to fit through the atomic-scale cracks in the stratum corneum, 33 so they set out to test it. They tested absorption on patches of skin harvested from patients who got tummy tucks. Dont need that skin any more? Donate it to science! The main features of their experiment:
Like I said: an odd experiment.
They tested 5, 15, and 60-minute exposures of two concentrations of magnesium solution, medium and strong, corresponding to ocean water and the Dead Sea respectively. Their key findings:
So, voila, absorption! But there are some major caveats, of course.
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Acts As A Pain Reliever
If you are looking for pain relief for anything from a stubbed toe to a sprained wrist, the analgesic properties of Epsom salt baths are well regarded. Even a single Epsom salt bath can help relieve pain for hours, partially due to the soothing nature of a warm bath, but this can allow you to fall asleep and give your body a chance to heal.
Can Epsom Salt Clean Your System
What is an Epsom salt detox? A salt detox isnt the same as pouring table salt into your bathtub. Salt detox baths are usually made of Epsom salt, which allows for minerals to draw out toxins from the body. Supporters may claim that soaking in an Epsom salt bath can remove harmful toxins and balance the body.
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Epsom Salt Detox Bath Side Effects: Worth The Risk
September 6, 2018 By Judd Handler
Taking a bath with magnesium sulfate is great for relieving sore, achy muscles as well as detoxing. But are there any Epsom salt detox bath side effects to worry about?
Taking a luxurious bath is one of lifes great pleasures. Its also one of the best ways to manage stress.
For decades, people have been taking salt baths to relieve sore, achy muscles.
And for even longer, people have been soaking to detoxify the body with magnesium salts. But are there any epsom salt detox bath side effects to worry about?
Now, to be sure, detox is a trendy word. Theres detox juices, detox pills, and cleanse programs. But in essence, all you need to do to detox is poo.
Unfortunately, because of poor diet and environmental pollution, not everybody is a prolific poo-er. Of course, there are different ways to relieve constipation.
Theres fiber supplements . But sometimes, these cause even more bloating and abdominal pressure. Theres also the chalky taste.
Theres also enemas what sounds more pleasant to you: an epsom salt detox bath or an enema?
Aid To Cancer Patients
Epsom salt bath may also help to heal a cancer patients health and well being. It causes a lack of magnesium as well as helps to release depression, sickening mental health, irritability, and stress. All these factors collectively contribute to boosting the motivation level of a cancer patient to fight against the disease.
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Side Effects Epsom Salt Baths
- Prolonged and repetitive soaking in Epsom salt baths induces diarrhea. This might be considered a good effect by those who wish to lose weight. However, caution must be exercised to prevent dehydration.
- The salt bath may also aggravate certain allergies, especially allergies to sulfur.
- The salt bath can also be so relaxing that the bathing person can fall asleep. This is dangerous considering that the water in the tub is more than enough to cause the person to drown.
Has Epson Salt Been Proven To Work
Centuries of user testimonials speak volumes about the benefits of Epsom salt. Scientific research, however, isnt quite as vocal in its support.
There are no definitive studies showing that magnesium can be absorbed through the skin in sufficient amounts to address potential deficiencies of the mineral. Research that has been done offers skepticism.
Still, integrative medical experts commonly recommend Epsom salt to patients with chronic fatigue syndrome and cold intolerance.
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Drink Plenty Of Water Before During And After Your Bath
Because magnesium is a laxative, it can draw water out of our bodies and into our colon, making us need to use the bathroom. Magnesium also has some contraindications with diuretics.
Not only this, as discussed in #3 below, hot water can also make you sweat, which can also dehydrate you. Dehydration can lead to symptoms like dizziness, light-headedness and feeling tired after an epsom salt bath, and is caused by not having enough water in your system.
The way to counter this is by drinking plenty of water before, during, and after your bath. Even as small of a glass as 8 ounces of water before, and 8-16 ounces after your bath may be enough.
Remember, our bodies need half our body weight in water per day . Then you need more water when you exercise or sweat. So a person who weighs 150 pounds will generally need a minimum of 75 ounces per day, plus extra when they exercise or do something that causes sweating .
Tips For Using Epsom Salt
When shopping around, remember that quality is everything. Always check the label to review the ingredients and buy from a reputable source many salts on the market are mass produced with unnatural chemicals. If youre on the hunt for scented bath salts, look for ones with organic essential oils. The generic term fragrance often denotes the use of synthetic ingredients.
For baths, use about 1 to 2 cups of Epsom salt for a standard-sized tub filled with warm water and soak for 20 minutes. Start with one bath a week and increase as needed, paying attention to how your skin reacts. You may need to reduce bath time in the winter when the air is drier. Check with your doctor beforehand if you have low blood pressure as hot water can lower blood pressure. Avoid bathing if you have an open wound or infectionthe Epsom salt could cause irritation.
Epsom salt can be taken orally as a laxative but check with your doctor first. The recommended dosage is usually 2 to 6 teaspoons per day dissolved in water to relieve occasional constipation. Just make sure you purchase a variety made specifically for oral administration.
The exfoliating properties also make it a great beauty product. Mix 1 tablespoon of Epsom salt into a full shampoo bottle to exfoliate the scalp and add volume to roots. You can also mix it with bath oil to exfoliate and moisturize skin in the shower .
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Are Epsom Salt Baths Bad For High Blood Pressure
Did you know that the magnesium found in Epsom salts can lead to reduced blood pressure and a slowed heart rate? If you suffer from high blood pressure, soaking in healing Epsom salts may be helpful in lowering your blood pressure and even in improving your heart health.
Epsom Salts Baths As A Source Of Magnesium
To embrace Epsom salts baths as a helpful method of supplementing magnesium, at least three things need to be established:
None of these things has actually been established, and the absence of any one of them is a deal-breaker for bathing in magnesium.
While it is of course possible that we can supplement magnesium by soaking in it, I cant really see why anyone would actually prefer that option to just eating some extra nutty salads.
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