Magnesium oil is a super-saturated solution of magnesium chloride in distilled water. Applied topically, when it dries it can feel chalky on the skin as some minerals precipitate out of solution while being absorbed into the body. It is an inexpensive remedy with a long shelf-life and can effectively treat several health problems associated with magnesium deficiency.
As a topical treatment, transdermal magnesium therapy has a key advantage over oral supplements as magnesium is absorbed and utilized in the area of application. Both leg cramps and restless legs are strongly associated with magnesium deficiency and respond favorable and quickly to daily use of magnesium oil.
Muscle and nerve pain also respond well to topical magnesium. Many patients assume they need more calcium to treat muscles problems. Calcium is responsible for muscular contraction while magnesium aids muscle relaxation. Spasms, cramps, pain, and restlessness are more often symptomatic of an inability for the affected muscle to relax, indicating a localized (and potentially systemic) magnesium deficiency.
Transdermal magnesium therapy has another advantage over high-dose oral magnesium in that it does not cause loose stools. As a side-effect from oral magnesium therapy, those suffering from constipation may take a sufficient dose of magnesium citrate or lactate to good effect. However, for a patient with a sensitive gut, this is an unwelcome reaction.
The stool softening effect of magnesium is not inherently harmful and only a side-effect of taking too much, causing the body to flush the excess. It is actually a great way to find an ideal dosage of oral magnesium, as anything less than the amount that would cause loose stools is being fully utilized by the body. A topical application of magnesium oil circumvents this issue. In bypassing the digestive tract through application over muscles, even the most sensitive gut can supplement with magnesium long-term.
Although the majority of magnesium will be absorbed and utilized in the area of application, a portion will make it into the bloodstream and circulate widely. Over time, you can correct a systemic magnesium deficiency with transdermal therapy magnesium, however, some problems are better treated with an oral form. Constipation is one aforementioned example as well as vascular system problems such as hypertension.
It is worth commenting on some of the causes of magnesium deficiency, as it is essential to correct the underlying imbalance. A diet high in processed foods will gradually result in magnesium deficiency as the mineral is lost during the refinement process. This is especially true in the context of a diet low in leafy green vegetables, which are our best dietary source of magnesium. However, this is contingent upon adequate soil content of magnesium, which itself can become deficient through over-farming and erosion.
Chronic stress, caffeine, alcohol and sugar all can potentially deplete magnesium. Carbonated soft drinks are the worst offenders in this regard.
Many classes of drugs, both over-the-counter and prescription, deplete magnesium reserves. These include antibiotics, anti-depressants, anti-inflammatories, diuretics, and antacids. Through an antagonist action, excess calcium can create an imbalance between the two minerals leading to a relative deficiency of magnesium.