Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body, and plays a role in over 300 essential metabolic reactions. Needless to say, a deficiency in this essential nutrient is going to leave you feeling out of sorts, and can pave the way for more serious health issues down the line. One of the simplest ways to boost levels of the magnesium in the body is by applying a magnesium-rich lotion daily. Not only does this replenish nutrient stores, but it moisturizes and softens the skin! 12 BENEFITS OF TOPICAL MAGNESIUM The benefits of applying magnesium to your skin, include:
Lower blood pressure
Reduced risk of type 2 diabetes
Enhanced cognitive function
Better bone health
Fewer headaches and migraines
Better heart health
Less stress and anxiety
Reduction in muscle aches and pains
…and much more!
TRANSDERMAL VERSUS DIETARY MAGNESIUM Transdermal magnesium therapy is simply a method of delivering minerals to the body through the skin (i.e. transdermal). When it comes to magnesium, many people struggle to reach their daily targets through diet alone, for one or more of the following reasons: WHY MAGNESIUM DEFICIENCY IS SO COMMON
EATING THE WRONG FOODS Eating processed and refined foods, which are devoid of many nutrients like magnesium. Although nuts, seeds, leafy green vegetables, legumes, whole grains and some fortified foods are the best sources of magnesium in the diet, few people get their magnesium from these foods. POOR SOIL QUALITY Even the health-conscious people who strive to make the RDA of 320mg of magnesium daily for a woman, and 420mg for a man may not even be coming close, thanks to poor food quality. TOO MUCH CALCIUM Magnesium and calcium work synergistically in the body, and both are required for optimal health. Today’s diet, however, is too rich in calcium, which further depletes low magnesium stores. Those who consume a lot of dairy may actually require more than the recommended magnesium intake in order to balance their magnesium/calcium ratio.
ABSORPTION DIFFICULTIES According to some figures, the body typically only absorbs between 20% and 50% of the magnesium it ingests. Medications such as diuretics and antibiotics can disrupt the healthy functioning of the kidneys, which causes them to excrete, rather than reabsorb, magnesium. Digestive factors like poor gut health, low stomach acid and gastrointestinal diseases can also reduce the amount of magnesium absorbed in the GI tract. Aging, diabetes, alcohol dependence, stress, and illness also reduce magnesium absorption. OTHER BENEFITS OF TRANSDERMAL MAGNESIUM As you can see, applying magnesium to the skin is a fantastic way to complement your dietary intake of this essential mineral. A few other reasons to apply magnesium topically include:
HIGH LEVEL OF ABSORPTION Although absorption rates vary, magnesium oil tends to have one of the highest rates of absorption of any form of this mineral. In a study on transdermal application of a 31% magnesium chloride solution, it was found that after 12 weeks’ treatment 89% of subjects raised their cellular magnesium levels – with an average increase of 59.7%! Given that equivalent results using oral supplements took between 9 and 24 months to achieve, that’s pretty impressive! Furthermore, the patients showed an improvement in their calcium/magnesium ratio; and 78% demonstrated significant evidence of detoxification of heavy metals following the treatment. GET RIGHT TO THE SOURCE Those with aches and pains caused by inflammation, sore joints, arthritis or even post-workout soreness should give topically applied magnesium a go. It’s the most efficient way to deliver the mineral to the site of pain, so that it can quickly relieve muscle pain, cramps and fatigue; reduce inflammation; and encourage regeneration of tissues. Regularly applying this lotion, or other topical magnesium formula, can even increase flexibility, strength and endurance.
MORE READILY ASSIMILATED THAN EPSOM SALTS Epsom salts are rich in magnesium, which is why taking an Epsom salt bath is so relaxing. However, the magnesium sulfate in Epsom salt is less easily assimilated and metabolized by the body than the magnesium chloride used in this homemade lotion.
Magnesium sulfates are rapidly excreted through the kidneys, and so you require more magnesium sulfate than magnesium chloride to achieve the same effects. This rapid metabolization also explains why the effects of applying this lotion last much longer than those from an Epsom salt bath. BETTER THAN SUPPLEMENTS As we’ve seen in the study on magnesium oil mentioned above, transdermal application boosts bodily levels of the mineral much quicker than supplements. But did you know just how poor some magnesium supplements really are? Certain forms of the supplement, like magnesium oxide, have been shown to have an absorbable magnesium potency as low as 4%! What’s more, if you have trouble assimilating magnesium from foods, you can suffer the same problems with supplements. IT’S EASY! Applying this lotion – which you can do in place of your regular moisturizer – requires almost minimal effort, giving you maximum bang for your buck. Once you make a batch, it lasts for up to two months in the fridge, and goes a long way toward supplementing your dietary magnesium intake. HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN MAGNESIUM LOTION You’ll Need:
1/2 cup magnesium chloride flakes and 3 tablespoons boiling water (or you can use a pre-purchased or pre-made magnesium chloride oil solution)
1/4 cup unrefined coconut oil
2 tablespoons emulsifying wax
3 tablespoons Shea butter
10-20 drops of essential oil of choice (optional)
DIRECTIONS To make a magnesium oil solution, mix the magnesium flakes with the boiling water and stir until completely dissolved. Allow to cool. (If you are using a pre-purchased or pre-made magnesium oil, you can skip this step).
In a double boiler (or a smaller saucepan inside a larger saucepan half-filled with hot water), stir the coconut oil, wax and Shea butter over medium-low heat until melted. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
Pour the oil/wax blend and the dissolved magnesium flakes into a bowl. Slowly and gently mix using an immersion blender. If using the essential oils, add them to the mix at this point.
Once blended, leave the lotion to cool for a few hours and then mix again until you achieve a thick, creamy consistency.
As this lotion doesn’t contain any preservatives, it’s best to store it in the refrigerator or other cool, dark place for up to two months.
HOW TO USE YOUR MAGNESIUM LOTION Start slowly with this cream, initially applying no more than a teaspoon or so, and working your way up to higher levels as your body adjusts to an influx of extra magnesium. Once your symptoms of magnesium deficiency have been resolved, you can maintain at this level or reduce your use slightly. Homemade magnesium lotion can be applied to any part of the body, particularly the soles of the feet, or areas where you are experiencing muscle aches or pains – such as the lower back, feet, legs, neck or shoulders. You can also mix this lotion with a few drops of carrier oil, like sweet almond or coconut, to make a soothing massage oil. This hydrating cream also acts as a natural sleep aid when applied before bedtime.
Enjoy discovering the benefits of magnesium :)