Magnesium Flakes - Uses & Benefits
Updated: Jun 8, 2022
There’s a bit of a shortage of Magnesium Flakes in New Zealand at the moment.
We’ve even had farmers interested in our Salt & Oil magnesium.
But our bags aren’t really big enough for a herd of cows!
Why do cows need magnesium supplements anyway?
Partly for the same reasons we do:
Magnesium relaxes nerve impulses, so a deficiency can lead to excitable and nervous cattle (and humans!).
It plays an important role in improving their health, fixing calcium in bones, milk production and increasing gut absorption.
Be like a cow – get moooo-re magnesium . Don’t sprinkle it on your food though. Pour your magnesium flakes in the bath, and feel udder-ly relaxed!
So what are magnesium flakes anyway?
They are flakes of magnesium chloride, a naturally occurring mineral salt, usually extracted from brine or sea water. The ones we use at Salt & Oil are from a pristine lake in the Tibetan Plateau that contains large ancient mineral deposits.
The magnesium is harvested naturally and dried using natural solar energy. There is absolutely nothing added to them, and no chemicals used during the process. Some magnesium flakes have a brown tinge, but these are a lovely white colour, without being bleached. The flakes are so pure they are considered food grade. Though they don’t taste nice, and you probably wouldn’t want to sprinkle them on your chips!
What you DO want to do is sprinkle some into your bath, as absorbing magnesium through your skin has many benefits, for example it:
Relaxes your muscles.
Eases tension and stiffness
Reduces muscle cramps
Promotes quality sleep
Supports bone health
Relieves feelings of stress and anxiety
Can improve energy levels
The best ways to use your magnesium flakes:
- In the bath – If your budget allows, it would be AMAZING to add the whole pouch to your bath. If you try this, do get in touch and let us know how well you slept that night!
However, a third to half the pouch will also be a lovely dose.
Pour your flakes into running water, just before you hop in, to help it dissolve faster. Use very warm but not hot water – you don’t actually want to sweat while you’re in the bath. Aim to soak for at least 15 minutes (top up the hot if you need to!).
If you do this about 1.5 – 2 hours before bed, the cooling effect felt by your body once you get out the bath will give a hint to your brain that it's time for a great sleep.
- In a foot spa – aka big bowl or tub or warm water. Add a handful or up to a third of the pouch. Soak your feet for 15 minutes. We totally recommend having someone on hand to top you up with more warm water! Alternatively, boil the jug again and keep it beside you.
For your bath and foot spa, feel free to add your favourite essential oils.
- For direct application to sore muscles, try a soothing compress: mix the flakes and hot water (80:20 ratio) in a bowl. Dip in a flannel (face cloth) then squeeze out the excess and hold it over the sore part of your body for warming relief.
Did You Know?
Magnesium is an essential mineral that is vital for our survival. So it’s kind of weird that our bodies don’t make their own supply!
The RDA for men is 400-420mg and for women 310-320mg.
Of course you can get magnesium from your food. But it’s thought that most people don’t get enough this way. Why?
As Carolyn Dean, author of the Magnesium Miracle, explains - much of the world’s soil has been depleted of magnesium, due to modern farming methods and acid rain. If the soil doesn’t contain much magnesium, neither will the plants that grow in it.
If you then refine and process the food, even more magnesium is lost. For example, when whole grain is milled to make white flour, most of the magnesium disappears.
The more sugary your diet is, the lower in magnesium you will be, as lots of your magnesium is used up in the act of processing the sugar you've eaten.
Some drugs also create magnesium deficiencies, for example diuretics used for high blood pressure, digitalis for heart conditions, birth control pills, and nicotine and cocaine!
And if you take a magnesium supplement?
I used to as well.
But #1 – I’m TERRIBLE at remembering to take tablets and #2 – the tablets were so big I’d sometimes struggle to swallow them, then have a horrible feeling for an hour or so that it was still stuck in my throat!
The first time I tried a magnesium bath I was a convert. So much more pleasant. AND …
Because the magnesium is absorbed through your skin, rather than passing through your digestive acids, it doesn’t lose its potency, so you get more of the benefits.
It’s also less likely to have side effects like nausea or diarrhea.
Well I can't leave you on that charming note so we'll finish up with ...
Two random facts about magnesium chloride flakes:
They are used to curdle soy milk and make tofu.
Magnesium was first discovered in huge deposits near a Greek city called Magnesia