Why MG is so good for you
Why Transdermal Magnesium Cream Could Help you
People have been using minerals like magnesium transdermally for thousands of years. Even though humans have been using the skin as a direct pathway into the body for treatment for centuries, but only recently have we begun to understand the science behind it. Magnesium absorption has been studied in both humans and animals under various experimental conditions. Research in the growing field of balneotherapy, which is using mineral water baths to treat disease, has shown that nutrient minerals in the water can be absorbed by the skin, challenging earlier assumptions. While more research is needed, early results suggest that soaking in hot mineral springs offer numerous benefits for human health. The science confirms the personal reports of many people who report an overall increase in physical, emotional, and mental well-being, not to mention pain relief, as a result of their immersion in mineral baths. It's not likely that these results are simply the effect of sitting in hot water (3).
Transdermal patches are produced commercially by pharmaceutical companies as delivery systems for nicotine, hormones, pain killers, and others (4). Similarly, herbalists utilize compresses and ointments based on the healing properties of plants. There are prescription estrogen patches, scopolamine patches, nicotine patches - all fairly large molecules compared to magnesium sulfate.
If molecules are small enough, they can slip through the skin. In 2000, A molecule smaller than 500 Daltons, can drift through the stratum corneum, the outer layer of the skin - the 500 Dalton rule. Magnesium ions are significantly smaller than 500 Daltons, at an atomic mass of just 24 Daltons.
Stephen C. Mitchell and Rosemary Waring of the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom did a review of over 120 books and scholarly articles published last year in the journal Xenobiotica, and also found direct evidence of metallic ions crossing the skin barrier. Nineteen healthy volunteers, ten men and nine women between ages 24 and 64, soaked in Epsom salt baths at 122°F to 131°F on seven consecutive days for 12 minutes. Blood and urine specimens showed that the magnesium had been absorbed and, in some cases, was being excreted. Sulfate levels also rose. The researchers proposed that soaking two to three times a week in 500 to 600 grams of Epsom salts would provide maximum benefit (5).
In another experiment, using human skin at 98.6°F, the same researchers, Waring and Mitchell found that sulfates rapidly penetrated the skin barrier but magnesium did not. One of the criticisms of treatment with transdermal magnesium is that it is only absorbed into the skin and sequestered there. Other experiments by Mitchell convinced him that magnesium crosses the dermis and is stored as a protein complex in the skin, where it is slowly released. In one test where two older patients wore patches of solid magnesium sulfate, blood and urine samples revealed elevated levels. The volunteers also remarked that their rheumatic pains had disappeared. The article, "Sulphate Absorption Across Biological Membranes," focused on compounds that include sulfates, an arrangement of one sulfur and four oxygen atoms, such as magnesium sulfate.