Magnesium oil is an inexpensive remedy that can effectively treat several health problems associated with magnesium deficiency.
A supersaturated solution of magnesium chloride in distilled water, magnesium oil is applied topically. When it dries, the solution can feel chalky on the skin as some minerals precipitate out while being absorbed into the body.
As a topical treatment, transdermal magnesium therapy has a key advantage over the oral form 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 favorably 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 of 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 the transdermal form does not cause loose stools. Those suffering from constipation may take a sufficient oral dose of magnesium citrate or magnesium lactate to good effect. However, the results would be unwelcome for a patient with a sensitive gut.
The stool-softening effect of taking too much magnesium is not inherently harmful and is merely the body’s way of flushing the excess. Gradually increasing the dosage until the stool becomes loose is actually a great way to find an ideal dosage of oral magnesium as anything less than the amount that causes loose stools is being fully utilized by the body.
Topical application of magnesium oil circumvents this. Spraying magnesium oil over muscles bypasses the digestive tract, allowing even someone with the most sensitive gut to benefit from long-term magnesium use.
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 magnesium therapy; 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 magnesium content of the soil in which the vegetables were grown. It is important to remember that soil can become deficient through over-farming and erosion.
Chronic stress, caffeine, alcohol, and sugar can all 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, antidepressants, 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. Although this can occur with a diet rich in calcium and low in magnesium, the more common concern is excess calcium from a poorly absorbed supplemental form, such as calcium carbonate.
When applying magnesium oil, avoid open wounds or skin rashes as spraying those areas could result in itching or burning. Use on recently shaved legs should also be avoided for a few hours after shaving.
Magnesium oil is best applied topically over sore and painful muscles and can be used preventatively in areas prone to cramping and restlessness, such as the calves. Just spray the affected area lightly and let the oil dry or rub it in with your hands. You will likely experience quick and lasting relief that needs to be experienced to be believed.
Author: Brandon LaGreca, LAc
Brandon is the founder and director of East Troy Acupuncture, an integrative medical clinic serving southeast Wisconsin, where he specializes in whole-food nutrition, ancestral health, and environmental medicine.