Epsom Salt Benefits | Magnesium sulfate
A study that showed any relevance to the subject was conducted at the University of Birmingham in the U.K. In the study, 19 subjects, who are the staff of School of Biosciences of the university, all took an Epsom salt bath for 12 minutes at a water temperature of between 50 to 55 degrees Celsius (122 to 133 degrees Fahrenheit) over seven consecutive days. Blood samples were taken before the first bath, at the second hour after the first bath, and at the second hour after the seventh bath. Urine samples were collected before and at the second hour of every bath.
At the end of the study, all but two of the subjects had higher magnesium concentration in their blood. Those who didn’t have higher blood magnesium concentration had higher magnesium in their urine. Sulfate levels were high both in blood and urine of all subjects. Researchers concluded that “magnesium ions had crossed the skin barrier and had been excreted via the kidney” and that Epsom salt bath “is a safe and easy way to increase sulfate and magnesium levels in the body.”
According to the National Academy of Sciences, magnesium deficiency helps to account for high rates of heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, arthritis and joint pain, digestive maladies, stress-related illnesses, chronic fatigue and a number of other ailments. Who knew?!
Magnesium levels have dropped by half in the last century due to changes in agriculture and diet. Industrial farming has depleted magnesium from soil and the typical diet contains much less magnesium than that of our forefathers. And in fact, the modern western diet with its fat, sugar, salt and protein actually works to speed up the depletion of magnesium from our bodies.
Another factor in decreased magnesium levels has been our focus on getting enough calcium. It’s a delicate dance–calcium depletes magnesium yet calcium functions best when enough magnesium is present. Studies indicate that taking a calcium supplement without enough magnesium can increase the shortage of both nutrients. Researchers have found that many Americans have five times as much calcium as magnesium in their bodies, although the proper ratio for optimum absorption of both minerals is two to one.
With such widespread magnesium deficiency one might think that magnesium supplements would be called upon, but studies show that magnesium is not easily absorbed through the digestive tract. The presence of specific foods or drugs, certain medical conditions, and the chemistry of a person’s stomach acid can render magnesium supplements ineffective.
Researchers and physicians suggest these health benefits from proper magnesium and sulfate levels, as listed on the web site of the Epsom Salt Industry Council:
- Improved heart and circulatory health, reducing irregular heartbeats, preventing hardening of the arteries, reducing blood clots and lowering blood pressure.
- Improved ability for the body to use insulin, reducing the incidence or severity of diabetes.
- Flushed toxins and heavy metals from the cells, easing muscle pain and helping the body to eliminate harmful substances.
- Improved nerve function by electrolyte regulation. Also, calcium is the main conductor for electrical current in the body, and magnesium is necessary to maintain proper calcium levels in the blood.
- Relieved stress. Excess adrenaline and stress are believed to drain magnesium, a natural stress reliever, from the body. Magnesium is necessary for the body to bind adequate amounts of serotonin, a mood-elevating chemical within the brain that creates a feeling of well being and relaxation.
- Reduced inflammation to relieve pain and muscle cramps.
- Improved oxygen use.
- Improved absorption of nutrients.
- Improved formation of joint proteins, brain tissue and mucin proteins.
- Prevention or easing of migraine headaches.
Add two cups of Epsom salt and soak for at least 12 minutes. Do this three times weekly.
If you are pregnant or have any health concerns, please check with your doctor before using Epsom salts.