Delivery Methods

Like most nutritional and medicinal supplementation, magnesium is delivered into the body in a number of ways, which are addressed below in the order of greatest absorption efficiency.

Intravenous #

Intravenous (IV) delivery of magnesium, in various solutions and applications, is clinically proven to be the fastest, most effective means of increasing intracellular and serum magnesium. Magnesium dilates both the epicardial and resistance coronary arteries in humans. Furthermore, the coronary arterial response to magnesium is dose dependent and independent of endothelium derived nitric oxide (EDNO). Intravenous delivery is not likely to be a practical source for personal and home supplementation.

Transdermal #

Current research into medical and natural transdermal medicinal application is ongoing and exciting. The human skin has been considered naturally impermeable in the past, but current studies and several drug and medicinal applications have illuminated the truly absorptive nature of this amazing organ.

Magnesium, as found in compounds such as magnesium chloride, is readily absorbed through the skin and processed through the liver and kidneys, bypassing the usual stomach and bowel upset and sensitivity that is so prevalent in oral magnesium supplementation. Excess magnesium is easily and effectively excreted through the urinary tract without the loss of other essential electrolytes. Transdermal applications as detailed below are effective, simple, and convenient! Because of the limitations in effective bowel absorption of oral magnesium supplements, the application of topical magnesium allows for a significantly higher degree of magnesium absorption than ever before.

Foot Soak #

In addition to the base of the spine (lumbar region) and the scalp, the bottom of the foot is widely considered to be one of the most absorptive skin surfaces, if simply by manner of application. Optimum transdermal absorption requires direct exposure to a highly soluble medicinal substance, such as magnesium chloride, for anywhere between 10 and 30 minutes (20 to 30 minutes recommended). Soaking the feet in a solution of magnesium chloride and water (room temperature or mildly warmed to open the pores) is a practical application in that it provides for just such an extended period of exposure to a mildly saturated solution. Other than the feet, exposure of any other skin surface (e.g. the palms of the hands and the scalp) for this length of time may not only be impractical but also highly inconvenient. A magnesium chloride foot soak is ideal for rapid, intensive transdermal magnesium supplementation.

In the human body, the extremities have been known traditionally for decreased circulatory efficiency, so it is easy to wonder why ` the feet is the most highly recommended application. The answer is fairly simple in that the longer any part of the skin is exposed to a therapeutic solution of magnesium chloride, the greater the localized magnesium saturation is expected to occur. With rapidly increasing magnesium levels in the lower extremities, the nervous system detects the higher concentrations and increases circulation in an attempt to disperse and balance electrolytic solutions rapidly and effectively throughout the system. This is a perfectly natural and beneficial response to the rapid increase of magnesium and constitutes mechanisms whereby capillary vasodilation is triggered by signals from the medulla of the brainstem via the autonomic nervous system.

When addressing conditions of magnesium deficiency, it is important to significantly increase intracellular magnesium to restore the mineral balance where very often it may not be enough to mildly supplement, as is done with most methods of dietary or topical supplementation. Soaking the feet provides for an optimal and essential increase of intracellular absorption and dispersal at higher milligram concentrations than can be taken orally or even applied to the skin topically.

Tub Soak #

The same principles that apply to magnesium chloride foot soaks also apply to soaking in the tub. Larger volumes of water, however, tend to reduce total magnesium saturation in the solution itself which may require prolonged exposure times – usually exceeding those effective for soaking the feet.

Whole body soaking in magnesium chloride solution not only allows for rapid absorption of the mineral, but also applies direct magnesium supplementation to every sore muscle and joint submerged in the solution. In sports medicine, magnesium sulfate (Epsom salt) has been used traditionally to alleviate muscular spasm and soreness following physical exertion, but actual supplementation is limited and requires large quantities of the salt for effective application. Magnesium sulfate is a very effective detoxifier but relatively low amounts of magnesium will be absorbed by the body. Comparatively, magnesium chloride’s superior absorbability allows for lesser volume with more effective delivery of the mineral to sore muscles and tissues.

Health and Wisdom’s Magnesium Bath Crystals are the dry, crystal form (hexahydrate) of magnesium chloride, are highly concentrated, and more economical for use in large volumes of water. Magnesium Oil (USP magnesium chloride) may be used in baths, but the crystal form (hexahydrate) of magnesium chloride is recommended for whole body soaking.

Anointed (topical) #

Prized by athletes, chiropractors, and massage/bodywork practitioners, magnesium may be applied liberally to almost every surface of the body for localized relief of muscle soreness, tension, and aches. Limited use quantities, however, render this degree of application less effective for overall intracellular supplementation versus magnesium foot and whole body soaks.

Simple anointing, such as spraying or lightly rubbing magnesium chloride over afflicted areas is reported to aid in the mild relaxation of sore muscles and to speed overall muscle recovery following exercise.

Direct massage application of this essential mineral combines the chemical benefits of magnesium with highly beneficial mechanical manipulation of muscles and connective tissues, increasing magnesium’s localized effectiveness in reducing muscle soreness, tension, and muscle recovery time following physical exercise.

Teeth #

When using magnesium in place of, or as an ingredient in, toothpaste, both magnesium chloride ( Magnesium Oil) and magnesium carbonate (Magnesium Snow) are not only beneficial to bone and gum health in general, but they are also naturally astringent, increasing salivation and localized blood flow to the gums and surrounding tissues. As people age the gingiva (gum) recedes and gaps appear around the teeth and roots. The astringent properties of Magnesium Oil and Magnesium Snow tighten loose gum tissue, helping to slow recession and root decay.

Some concern has been voiced as to the alkalizing effect of magnesium in the mouth, purporting the necessity of maintaining a slightly reduced oral pH (higher acidity) in order to manage detrimental bacteria. However, recent studies show that a significant population of “friendly flora” bacteria and fungi exist within the oral cavities that may, under slightly increased oral pH (higher alkalinity), compete with detrimental microorganisms associated with tooth and gum decay as part of a natural defense mechanism.

Oral or Ingested #

Ingestion of magnesium orally has been popularized as the primary and sometimes sole manner in which magnesium supplementation can occur, depending on the research and fields of thought surrounding magnesium use. There are generally two types of studies performed for magnesium supplementation – intravenous and oral – and, as mentioned earlier, IV supplementation is not a viable option for most people. The results of such scientific studies are inconclusive when it comes to magnesium supplementation and conditions like hypertension. That being said, in light of current and past studies on the transdermal application of magnesium, and many other medicinal substances, this information regarding oral magnesium must be respected as simply outdated. Ratios and rates of absorption through the bowel are consistent, however, as well as the laxative nature of the mineral itself, and should be taken into consideration when oral magnesium supplementation is intended. In order for oral magnesium to be absorbed by the intestines for distribution throughout the body it needs to remain in the large intestine for 12 to 24 hours. When enough is consumed to be of significant value at the cellular level, diarrhea generally ensues causing the ingested magnesium to be eliminated. Reducing the amount ingested to “bowel tolerance” eliminates the rapid elimination but also extends the length of time for notable intracellular benefit – which could be years.

At Heath and Wisdom we are huge fans of a healthy colon and it is important that our customers understand that, even though you may not have diarrhea when taking oral magnesium, you are still TAKING A LAXATIVE! The laxative effect of magnesium appears to come through two different mechanisms.

  1. Magnesium relaxes the muscles in the intestines which helps to establish a smoother rhythm.
  2. Magnesium also attracts water (hygroscopic); this increased amount of water in the colon serves to soften the stool, helping to make stools easier to pass.

While this may actually be a relief to some, the long-term potential for addiction to laxatives should not be ignored, particularly if oral magnesium products are administered regularly. Transdermal magnesium does NOT impact the bowel unless one is also taking oral magnesium in which case the topical is so quickly absorbed that the oral is excessive for the bowel. For a healthy bowel it is always a better option to improve the lifestyle and diet by increasing fiber (fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains), water, exercise, etc.

A suitable alternative to magnesium ingestion, other than a number of more effective transdermal applications, is the use of magnesium chloride specifically as an ingredient in an oral rinse and gargling solution where the solution itself is not swallowed. A comparatively significant amount of magnesium is absorbed through the capillaries of the mouth, versus ingested magnesium, with only marginal amounts of the mineral actually reaching the stomach, thereby avoiding stomach upset and associated bowel sensitivity altogether.

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