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3 Ways To Start Using Epsom Salt for Better Recovery and More

A while back I posted an article on why you should consider supplementing with magnesium. 

Turns out there are a lot of reasons. It is required for over 300 enzymatic processes in the body, in particular those processes involved in energy production, and according to an article posted over at Ancient Minerals, an estimated 75% of Americans have daily magnesium intakes less than the RDA. The RDA is just a MINIMUM nutritional requirement that was originally introduced in the 1930’s to prevent diseases such scurvy, rickets and pellagra. For optimal health,   the nutritional recommendations are actually much much higher than the RDA, often 300-1000% higher! So, when we see that 75% of Americans are below the MINIMUM recommendation for magnesium, we know most people are no where near having optimal levels of this vital nutrient.

If you read my last post on magnesium you would also know that it plays a role in almost every cell and organ in our body, one of its major roles being in our skeletal muscles.

Magnesium is commonly known as the “Natural Relaxant Mineral”, responsible for making our muscles relax. So, a deficiency of magnesium may lead to symptoms such as twitches, muscle cramps, muscle spasms, muscle soreness, back and neck pain, tension headaches, constipation, and more.

If you workout regularly, you most likely are all too familiar with many of these symptoms. In fact, intense exercise and excessive sweating are two major contributors to the body using up its magnesium stores which makes it that much more important for you to increase your magnesium intake if you workout regularly, especially if you do lots of high intensity type workouts such as CrossFit.

Of course a great place to start with increasing your magnesium intake is whole foods, unfortunately with the gradual decline of our soil, food quality is just not the same as it used to be, therefore it is not always enough to just rely on even the best of food sources. Excellent sources of magnesium include nuts and seeds (preferably soaked overnight to release enzymes that bind to magnesium and prevent absorption), leafy greens and dark chocolate (80% or higher).

So because food isn’t always enough we have the option to turn to supplements to support a whole foods diet however, supplementing with oral magnesium, even in its most absorbable form (magnesium citrate) may not be enough either.

In the last post I told you all about my favorite oral magnesium supplement, Natural Calm. This is one of the most absorbable oral forms of magnesium (magnesium citrate), however according to a post titled Magnesium Absorption and Bioavailability, only 20-50% of orally ingested magnesium is typically absorbed. Typical absorption involves 40% magnesium intake absorbed in the small intestine, 5% absorbed in the large intestine and 55% leaving the body as waste. All of this will vary between each individual and largely depends on the integrity and health of the individuals gut.

So what is the best way to increase magnesium levels in the body then?!?!

The answer may lie in avoiding the gut altogether and applying magnesium transdermally (aka. via the skin, the largest organ in our body). When magnesium is issued to the body transdermally, it bypasses the digestive tract and goes directly into the tissues via the skin where it is quickly transported to cells throughout the body. Transdermal magnesium also is beneficial for those who may have low tolerance to oral magnesium as it will avoid problems of gastrointestinal irritation and diarrhea.

One of the most common, convenient and affordable ways to supplement with transdermal magnesium is with Epsom Salt.

So What Is Epsom Salt??

The name is slightly confusing as it’s not actually a salt. It looks like salt, but it is actually a pure mineral compound of magnesium and sulfate. You can find Epsom Salt at most any grocery store in the pharmaceutical department or health food stores, or you can order it online as well through amazon or vitacost.

Here is the brand I buy and what it looks like.

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The benefits of using Epsom Salt are numerous, including but not limited to

  • reduction in sore/achy muscles, spasms, cramps and general muscle tension
  • reduced headaches/migraines
  • improved sleep
  • improved energy and mood
  • reduced anxiety
  • increased athletic performance
  • a natural detox, pulls toxins out of the body

If you’re looking for a solution for better workout recovery, Epsom Salt may be your answer when looking at all the benefits it can have on the skeletal muscles.

In addition to relaxing the muscles we see it helps with sleep and detoxing the body both of which are also essential for optimal health and better recovery in the gym.

Everyone wether you work out at at high intensity or not would benefit from using Epsom Salts regularly for its wide variety of benefits to the body. Remember, 75% of Americans are deficient in magnesium which means a majority of you need to find a way to increase your levels and this is a great way to do that!

Below are three ways that you can easily start using Epsom Salts in your weekly personal care routine

Soak with it in a Hot Bath

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Pour 1-2 cups of Epsom Salt into a nice warm bath and soak in it for about 20 minutes. This would be a great thing to add to your bedtime routine as magnesium is very calming and could help you wind down before you hit the pillow.

Here is an interesting study I found on the absporption of magnesium sulfate (epsom salt) through the skin. In this study participants soaked in an epsom salt bath for 7 days straight and urine and blood samples were taken to measure the level of the participants magnesium levels.

The results of the study reported changes in magnesium levels in blood before and after the testing period. Blood levels showed an average increase of 10 ppm/ml after one day of soaking, and 36.3 ppm/ml after seven days, indicating an increase in blood magnesium concentration after prolonged soaking.

The study concluded that bathing 2-3 times per week in a 1% solution of magnesium bath salts would result in health benefits related to an increase in magnesium levels.

Use it as a Foot Soak

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While it would be nice to take a warm bath every night, this may be more convenient for most people as you can do this while watching TV, sitting at the computer, nursing your little one, etc..

Pour 1 cup of Epsom Salt into a large bowl of warm water and soak your feet in it for about 20 minutes to receive the same benefits of soaking in a bath.

Use it in a Homemade Body/Facial Scrub

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I recently posted on how to make the above homemade coconut sugar body scrub. You easily could replace the sugar in this recipe with Epsom Salts as it would have the same exfoliating effect as the sugar with an extra added mineral boost!! Only downside to this is you can’t eat it..maybe that’s a good thing actually lol.

Now go buy you some Epsom Salt and start adding one or all of these into your weekly personal care routine!

 

 

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