Have you ever heard how beneficial Epsom salts can be? Surely the information has reached your ears through your grandparents or older relatives, since epsom salt has been classified as a historical remedy and in certain cases, even a millennial.
Epsom salts have been used for years to relieve and fix health problems such as muscle pain and stress, claiming their healing properties.
If you want to improve your health and fitness, find out what Epsom salt is , as well as its main benefits and negative effects for the body.
- 1 What are Epsom salts?
- 2 How does Epsom salts work?
- 3 What are the benefits of Epsom salts?
- 4 What are the contraindications of Epsom salts?
- 5 Conclution
- 6 Reference
What are Epsom salts?
It gets its name from the city in which it was discovered: Epsom, in Surrey (England). Also known as magnesium sulfate or bath salt, epsom salt is a chemical compound made up of magnesium, sulfur, and oxygen.
For many years Epsom salt has been used to combat constipation, fibromyalgia, and other conditions such as insomnia. Most of the healing powers of Epsom salt are attributed to its high content of magnesium, a mineral that is often in short supply in people’s bodies.
On the other hand, it is worth noting the ease of obtaining epsom salt, which is commonly purchased in pharmacies, health food stores and preventive health establishments.
How does Epsom salts work?
When Epsom salt is immersed in water, it dissolves releasing sulfate and magnesium ions in its path. In principle, it is intended that the skin absorbs these minerals, obtaining their benefits directly on the skin.
Epsom salt is constantly used in baths, applying it after having dissolved it (in water, of course). In other cases, it can be ingested orally as a laxative or through cosmetic products that contain it as the main active ingredient in their formula.
What are the benefits of Epsom salts?
Many professionals recommend Epsom salt as a therapeutic treatment (in addition to the indicated drugs), due to the amount of positive effects it can cause. Among some of the benefits of Epsom salts we can find the following:
1. Improves magnesium absorption
Most people do not consume enough magnesium in their diet, even though it is the fourth most abundant in the human body (having calcium in the first place) and influences approximately 325 biochemical processes in the body that benefit the heart and the nervous system.
To verify the benefits of magnesium, a study was carried out in 19 people, of which at least 3 of them showed a greater amount of magnesium in the blood after taking a shower with epsom salt, increasing the levels more than 100% after 7 days performing the treatment.
This could be a claim that the human body receives Epsom salts better through a bath than orally. However, despite the benefits found, more research is still needed to determine the full extent of its benefits.
2. Promotes the reduction of stress and insomnia
Although many are not aware of it, magnesium contributes to the production of melatonin, also called the “sleep hormone”, which controls the hours of rest and activity in the human body. Additionally, the magnesium in the epsom salt also helps produce neurotransmitters in the brain that induce sleep and control stress.
Some people recommend epsom salt baths to combat stress , tiredness, and insomnia; sadly, these effects have not yet been proven by scientific research. Others argue that the relaxing effect of the epsom salt bath is not due to the absorption of magnesium into the skin, but simply to the positive consequences of taking a bath with hot water.
Either way, the consumption of Epsom salts has been linked to great benefits in the body, especially since low magnesium levels give rise to some conditions such as fatigue and fibromyalgia.
3. Helps to have a good digestion
In addition to the benefits mentioned above, magnesium also favors the transport of water from the stomach to the colon, improving the digestive process and avoiding constipation. However, epsom salt is classified as a laxative, therefore in case of using it for this purpose it should be consumed orally, following the instructions on the container package and avoiding prolonging its consumption for a long time; otherwise it could cause side effects such as bloating, gas, and liquid stools.
4. Contributes to greater muscle performance
Some people may claim that taking a bath with epsom salt can improve muscle aches and contribute to muscle regeneration, however there is still no research to support this argument.
What is proven is that magnesium plays a fundamental role in muscle development, since it helps the body use glucose and lactic acid. However, while the benefits of taking magnesium supplements are proven, it will be an adventure to experiment with epsom salt, as the results may be indeterminate.
5. Reduces pain and swelling
Another common argument is that epsom salt baths are an effective remedy for pain from conditions such as arthritis or fibromyalgia. Once again, magnesium is the main culprit, since both diseases are caused by a deficiency of this mineral.
In a study conducted in 15 women with fibromyalgia, it was found that applying a dose of magnesium chloride on the skin for several days in a row could be beneficial in reducing symptoms. Although such a discovery can be quite interesting, those products that contain magnesium, such as epsom salt, should be applied with care and prevention.
What are the contraindications of Epsom salts?
Although the rule is that the effects of epsom salt are positive, its excessive oral consumption leads to side effects.
We must remember that Epsom salts are a natural laxative , so their consumption can cause diarrhea, stomach bloating and intestinal discomfort. If you take it as a laxative, try to drink enough water during the day to avoid dehydration and improve intestinal fluidity. Remember to also check with your doctor the correct dose.
On the other hand, magnesium overdose can lead to serious consequences such as heart paralysis, coma, and even death. This is unlikely, since the amounts consumed must be previously prescribed by an expert doctor who will evaluate your condition and determine the correct dose.
If you have any side effects when using Epsom salt, do not hesitate to consult your trusted doctor.
Epsom salt can be multifunctional when it comes to its benefits, as it not only helps improve magnesium deficiency but also contributes to things like stomach health and aesthetic beauty.
Although there is no great research scientifically supporting such claims, the experiences of those who have used this supplement are usually positive and beneficial.
It will cost nothing to try, it is also safe and easy to use. If you want to give it a try, try taking an Epsom salt bath after a tiring day and compare your own results.
- Elliot, B. “Epsom Salt Benefits and Uses (Plus Important Side Effects).” For Authority Nutrition [Revised January 2017]