Updated: Jun 8
And why use either of them anyway?!
They’re both wonderful to add to a warm, relaxing bath, and they’ll both provide you with a great boost of magnesium (though magnesium flakes have a slightly higher level of elemental magnesium). But it’s what else that comes with the magnesium that makes the difference.
Epsom salt is magnesium sulphate. When it’s diluted in water you get magnesium and sulphates.
Magnesium flakes are magnesium chloride. When they’re diluted in water you get magnesium and chlorides.
Both sulphates and chlorides play an important part in the optimal functioning of your body.
- The Sulphates in Epsom Salt help detox the body of toxins, in particular phenols, in our gut. We all have a sulfation pathway and if it is not functioning well, we may not process out phenolic compounds as fast as we consume them.
Dr Rosemary Waring, a biochemist researching the sulphate levels in children with autism, found that many of them, and others with neurological conditions, are very low in sulphates. Epsom salt baths can be a way to increase these necessary sulphates.
- Chlorides help us regulate electrolytes. Electrolytes allow cells to generate energy, maintain the stability of their walls, and function in general. They generate electricity, contract our muscles, move water and fluids within the body, and much more.
All of these things seem pretty important, which is why we alternate using Epsom salt and magnesium chloride in our baths!
So what about the Magnesium?
Magnesium is kind of a big deal in the essential mineral world (which makes it weird that our bodies can't make it themselves)!
Here are some of the many things your body needs magnesium for:
It is necessary to make hundreds of your enzymes work properly, to do things like regulate your body temperature, and control cholesterol.
It is essential for producing and storing energy in your body. Specifically by activating ATP (adenosine triphosphate) which is your body's main energy storage molecule.
Your DNA is dependent on magnesium! You need magnesium to control the enzymes and nutrients that create structural components of your body.
It is what allows the electrical transmission of information from your nerves to your brain. And controls our thoughts, via brain neurons, back to the body.
It relaxes your muscle fibres. Ever had a cramp or a tic that won't stop twitching? That is caused by too much calcium causing muscle contraction, and not enough magnesium to counter it.
It supports bone health and is just as important as calcium to prevent and treat osteoporosis.
Sleep support, as it helps to activate the mechanisms that calm your body.
Adrenal support, and limiting your stress response.
Some signs you may be low in Magnesium:
Lack of energy, tiredness
Insomnia or inability to sleep
Headaches and migraines
Stiff, sore muscles or cramps
Feelings of anxiety or stress
Relaxing in a magnesium flake or Epsom salt bath is a safe, gentle way to top up your magnesium levels.
Did you know?
Women appear to have more issues with low magnesium levels due to hormones, and are more likely to experience deficiencies during pregnancy, breast feeding, and pre-menstrually.
And this anecdote from The Magnesium Miracle by Carolyn Dean fascinates me:
One of her readers, of menopause age, discovered that most of the symptoms of menopause are the same as symptoms of magnesium deficiency.
So she increased her magnesium uptake.
Within 3 days her hot flushes had dropped from about 20 a day to fewer than 10. She no longer experienced insomnia, and had fewer aches and pains, less anxiety and depressed feelings.
Isn't Magnesium Magnificent?!
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