34: The One Where I Talk About Topical Magnesium

34: The One Where I Talk About Topical Magnesium

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The importance of topical magnesium

Do you feel like I am a broken record about magnesium lately?

I am, but with good reason…

The more I research, the more I am convinced that magnesium deficiency is going to be one of the biggest health problems of our time for a variety of reasons.

Why Are We Deficient?

Some expert estimate that over 80% of the population are deficient in magnesium while others argue that it’s closer to 95+%. Either way, the statistics aren’t good and it is something we need to remedy, but the question remains why are we deficient to begin with?

Several reasons:

  • An abundance of dietary calcium and an absence of dietary magnesium
  • Depleted soil levels of magnesium means less magnesium in the food
  • Fluoride use in the water supply since fluoride binds to magnesium and makes it unusable in the body
  • Consumption of caffeine and sugar, which deplete magnesium
  • Rampant stress (which depletes magnesium)

This magnesium deficiency can manifest as fatigue, mental problems, immune problems, hormone imbalance, cardiovascular issues and much more.

I delve into the widespread problems that stem from magnesium deficiency in this episode (please listen!), but thankfully, it is one of the easier nutrient deficiencies to remedy.

Topical Magnesium

The best solution I’ve ever found for magnesium deficiency (and the one that finally worked for me) is topical magnesium, also called transdermal magnesium.

This is used on the skin as a magnesium spray. It absorbs rapidly and is more bioavailable since it bypasses the digestive system and kidneys.

I’ve also found that topical magnesium is the most cost effective types of magnesium.

Magnesium supplements must be absorbed by the digestive system and pass through the kidneys. Expert estimates are that only 20-55% of internal magnesium from supplements are absorbed, so in most cases, the majority of internal magnesium supplements are exiting the body in urine. (This is also why internal magnesium supplements can stress the kidneys for people with certain conditions).

Resources Mentioned

Do you use magnesium? What has worked for you?

This post contains affiliate links. Click here to read my affiliate policy.

Reader Interactions

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Reader Comments

  1. Have you had your mag levels checked?

    • Unfortunately, blood tests are relatively ineffective in gauging magnesium levels as less than 1% of magnesium is in the blood. The heart and brain have the highest concentrations of magnesium, but you wouldn’t really want to test those. My doctor and other experts I’ve talked to have said that this is most often diagnosed on symptoms and that using topical magnesium is a safe way to see how the body responds.

      • What about hair tissue mineral analysis? It’s one of the few effective ways to determine what minerals you are deficient in, as well as what heavy metals you are toxic in.

    • Thank you for all the information about the Magnesium Chloride, my husband has been taking this since he found out he had arthritis, it has help him a lot. He travels a lot and he has been able to purchase pure Magnesium Chloride in Panama, when is pure is more effective and he takes two little cups every day. It really works.

      Thank you

      • Wow, this is awesome information and I find it all to be true. I’ve been taking magnesium before bed to help my body relax which has allowed me to get very good sleep. I’ve noticed the topical sprays and oils at my favorite health store but have yet to try it. I think it will definitely help my legs and feet which tend to get sore from being overworked all day long. Thanks to Wellness Mama for her very interesting articles and to all those who comment. I’m enjoying the conversations on wellness, my fave subject 😉

      • Can I use the ease spray on a 4 year old?

  2. Hi, I made the magnesium butter, but it dosen’t melt. What can i do?

  3. Hi Katie. I know you are promoting EASE Magnesium now and would like to know how this magnesium would be better than the ‘other’ topical mag oils that we are using with success already. I know you mentioned it not feeling sticky after applying it, but other than that, is there something else to it? I listened to the recordings and the brand sounds great, but I don’t want to throw out what I already have if I don’t need to. It is rather expensive. I know from experience how wonderful magnesium is and want to be replete rather than depleted, but I don’t want to be wasteful either. Thanks for answering. Teresa

    • I like that it is really high potency, very easily absorbed, and not only is it not sticky… it also does not feel itchy/tingly.

      • I have been using magnesium as a deodorant. I tried EASE and it did not work at all! I’m not sure why the difference, but as a deodorant it doesn’t work.

      • How do you know it (Ease by Activation) is high potency? I can’t find the amount of magnesium per dose, ounce or any other measure of potency on the website or bottle. My bottle says to use 30-50 sprays per day. This and the fact that it doesn’t burn/itch or feel oily makes me think it is very LOW potency. I’ve been using Swanson Ultra brand and a single spray burns and itches like hell and leaves a terrible greasy feel that takes all night rubbing against the sheets to get rid of. That bottle says to use 4-5 sprays at a time. There is no info on the amount of magnesium in it either. I want to believe that the pleasant-to-use brand is also the best absorbed and highest potency but I can’t verify that. Will you please share your source and specifics on potency? Thank you

  4. I remember reading a a few posts on your blog last year about magnesium and finally started to use the Ancient Minerals spray last summer. The effect it had on me was life changing. It seriously felt like a close friend I’d been missing my whole life. I was only 28 years old, but noticed a massive improvement in memory, attention, sleep, menstrual symptoms, and noticeable reduction in anxiety. Granted, I’ve been dealing with moderate food sensitivities and digestion issues for most of my twenties so I was probably especially deficient. It took almost a month of using the spray twice a day to stop feeling the itchy sensation which was very telling of how low my levels were. I now feel like a spokesperson among my friends and family and am so excited to see this mineral slowly gaining national attention. Thank you for pushing this issue! I know everyone could benefit from using the spray. Can’t wait to listen to this.

  5. I am 59 years old and have been Magnesium deficient since I was a teenager. I just figured it out about 4 years ago. Getting my Magnesium level back close to where it should be has made all the difference in the world. I am probably one of the few people that will say I am glad I had the extremely painful condition of “frozen Shoulder Syndrome”(FRS). FRS led me to finding out about “Myofacial Trigger Points and how to de-activate them. When the trigger points would eventually come back and I would also suffer low back pain, which I also had since a teen, that led me to learning about Magnesium. Magnesium Chloride (oil) use has not only relieved the low back pain and FRS it hasn’t returned in over 4 years. Magnesium oil has also fixed my irregular heartbeat that sometimes made me feel like I was almost having a heart attack and insomnia as well. I can do so much more now without getting down in the back or feeling like I have strained and sore muscles. I really believe people being Magnesium deficient is one of the greatest tragedies in life and is no accident. I think it was Dr. Mark Sircus that said almost all dis-ease can be attributed to a Magnesium deficiency.
    Thank you for helping get the word out about Magnesium. Gary

    • Thanks for the info on FRS, Gary. I suffered with similar symptoms a few years ago in my left shoulder and a couple of years later with symptoms in my right shoulder. Doctors could never come up with a reason for it. Hope the mag oil will help out with my fibromyalgia.

    • Hi Gary

      can you tell me what you did for your trigger points.

    • I have frozen shoulder right now! And I have trigger point issues too. I can just barley lift my left arm to touch my head. Any info you have to help improve I would be greatful for. I have done magnesium but will try increasing. Figure it can’t hurt.

      • I now use magnesium ‘oil’ (100grams mag. chloride with 100ml distilled water) and it really helps the frozen shoulder; however, when in dire straits, I go for Bowen therapy which really helps.

  6. Thank you SO much for all your research and posts about this! You’re my go-to source and I really trust you. I ordered the topical spray you linked to in another post..ease magnesium I think it’s called? I have 4 kids 5 years old & younger and really struggle with irritability and being so tired! I hope this helps..Also, we live by the ocean so I need to start swimming in it more! Thanks again! 🙂

  7. I know that you use essential oils. Do you get yours from Mountain Rose Herbs, and do you and your children ingest them?
    Thank you,

  8. I agree. I have only found Magnesium Oil Spray recently but have had great results already, personally for leg cramps and tight muscles, and also on massage clients gor a range of muscular issues. I love that it works so quickly, often in under 5 minutes on me. Thanks for sharing the word on Magnesium deficiency.

    • Hello Carmen. I am new to this discussion about MO. I bought a spray bottle of MO last Tues. I believe it was. I came home and rubbed a few squirts into my left shoulder. I was not always able to lift my arm without pain. I could raise my arm almost immediately after rubbing in the MO. I was delighted. Still am. I use it morning and nite and when I need it in between. I am now hoping it will help with itchy skin (no rash) and with nite sweats from PMS. I am glad MO has helped you. Thank God Wellness Mama has zeroed on this great mineral and how it can help us. Cheers. Ellie

  9. I recently got my Magnesium and other things tested by a hair sample. I go for the results on Tuesday and can’t wait. I have been so sick for almost 2 years. My doctor said the same thing. A magnesium blood test is not accurate at all and testing the hair is a much more accurate.
    Gary Clay I have alot of the symptoms you mentioned. Where do you buy your Magnesium? Thank you!

  10. Will Epsom salt have the same effect ? Thank you.

  11. You CAN test your magnesium levels. You need a Magnesium RBC test; it’s the most reliable. Do not get a Magnesium serum test; that’s the useless one. Your level should be 6.5 on a mag RBC test.

  12. I am excited to read where a lady mentioned that itchy sensations went away. By applying magnesium oil. There is hope for me. I am experiencing itchy, pinging, zinging sensation in skin. No rash, for months. I will continue to use the MO on the skin and I will be patient. Ellie

    • Ellie- you may have misunderstood that post, the writer talked of feeling the pinging, itchy sensation AFTER applying the magnesium, for about a month or so. After that time when she continued the topical magnesium, the itchy sensation it was causing dissipated. She did not use it to remedy itchy skin- not sure if this will Help your issue but sounds like it can’t hurt and may help overall health.

  13. I just wanted to ask if anyone knows if EASE is available for purchase in the UK? I don’t fancy per chasing it from abroad, as it is quite expensive anyway, and having to pay international postage will just increase that. Or is there another similar magnesium chloride I could purchase here?

    • Hi Nancy — Apparently Activation Products, the company that markets Ease Mag. Oil Spray, has an office in Haslemere, Surrey, UK.

  14. Katie, thank you for sharing. I am going to try magnesium since I have several of the symptoms caused by magnesium deficiency. Have you had better results from the Ease product linked to your website or your own home made magnesium oil? I would appreciate your guidance here which way to go. I want to get the best results possible. Thanks!

      • When I use Magnesium Oil that I have made, it causes my hands to peel. Why? And how do I have it not happen?

  15. Thank-you so much wellness mama. I liked the audio format and the quality of sound as well. I had no idea about the hybridized plants or the fluoride binding. Really great post. Thanks again!

  16. Hello Katie,

    About your favorite topical magnesium, Ease, is there an ingredient list? I could not find it.

      • I was gung ho about the Ease brand until I found out it is in a PET bottle while Ancient Minerals uses a much safer HDPE bottle, without phthalates!

  17. Hi Katie,
    Along with the magnesium spray and your magnesium body butter that I use, I have been taking the magnesium supplement Natural Calm by Natural Vitality that I read about on your site. I am wondering though with all the new research you have done on magnesium, if this Natural Calm, in your opinion, is still a good source of magnesium to take?

    • Oh, yes! Transdermal magnesium is still faster, and ideal for people who are severely deficient, but Natural Calm is great!

  18. Have any discount code for the Ease one you like?

  19. On the Ancient Minerals website there is a link to an analysis of the Zechstein Sea magnesium oil. It looks okay except it contains .2 per cent barium. This may not sound like a lot, but according to the World Health Organization, mean dietary barium intake for adults has been found to be between 0.75
    mg/day and 1.8 mg/day (a rough estimate based on a few studies). If I did the math right, .2 % is 2 mg per g of oil. The oil is denser than water (~ 1.6 g per ml), which means that 1 ml has 3.2 mg of barium. If you use one teaspoon (roughly 5 ml) you’re applying 16 mg of barium to your skin. That’s a lot, but I don’t know how much of that is absorbed. I was hyped about this product but now I’m wary. I haven’t researched it beyond what I’ve written here. Any thoughts or ideas on this? Later today or tomorrow I will try to research more on the transdermal absorption of barium sulfate.

    • Does anyone know if the barium in Ancient Minerals is barium sulfate or barium chloride? Barium sulfate is insoluble in water so it seems to be considered not harmful. Barium sulfate is sometimes given for certain medical tests because it is metallic and shows up on xrays. But barium chloride is water-soluble and can enter the body through the skin. So far I haven’t found information on what levels are safe. I wish all supplements were regulated by the FDA or a 3rd party who does not profit from selling the supplement.

    • It burns and then itches on both my son and I when we applied this stuff!!! Any reason as to why? Is this normal?!

      • Jessica, I’ve read numerous times that that is an indicator that you are very low in magnesium. I can’t prove that but I can say that in my experience, when I am more faithful in using it that the itching doesn’t show up as much, so that does fit with that theory. The itching is a horrible feeling though, so I whenever I apply the magnesium oil I mix it into lotion. It also helps me to apply it to my feet, because the skin is less sensitive and less prone to irritation.
        Hope that helps!

        • So does that mean if you don’t itch at all then you are not deficient?

          I just bought a huge bottle of Magnesium Oil and I don’t feel anything at all. So I bought it for nothing? 🙁

  20. I love your suggestion on putting the oil on your kids feet. I never would have thought of this. Great podcast.

  21. Hello,
    Thank you for the podcast. Are you posting the transcripts any more?
    Thank you.

  22. Cyndi, I’m glad I read your post before purchasing EASE through the product’s company. I took their test online and they sent me a free PDF that I thought would be tailored to my results. All it was was information about magnesium and what magnesium deficiency is along with an invitation to try their product. Reminds me of those annoying infomercials.

    After reading your post, I looked to see if EASE was sold elsewhare. I found they sell their products elsewhere and have pretty decent reviews. So, when I’m done with my Ancient Minerals Magnesium Spray, I’ll order Ease to try it but NOT directly through the product’s company.

  23. Thanks for the heads up… I’ve ordered their products and have never encountered this at all. I will definitely email them about this…

  24. I’ve been dealing with adrenal fatigue for a couple of years and came across your post about magnesium deficiency and wonder if it’s something I should be supplementing with. I’m on a treatment plan set up by a naturopathic Dr. but he doesn’t have me taking magnesium. I’m wondering if a deficiency could be why my recovery is taking so long. I’ve been taking Vitamin D3, DHEA, Digestive Enzyme, and a Cortisol Manager as part of my treatment plan but haven’t seen much improvement.
    What forms of supplement would you recommend I take?
    Thanks! Hoping this is the missing piece to getting my health back!

  25. Has anyone experienced an allergic reaction to magnesium? I used to take natural calm ever night and would wake up with minor cases of hives every night. Once I stopped the magnesium the itching at night stopped.

    • Me! This is happening to me now and it’s horrendous -_-

  26. I tried a magnesium powder drink recently and it made me feel really ill. Is that normal?

  27. Hi! Do you have an opinion on using pure magnesium oil, or using an oil with added MSM for “enhanced cell membrane permeability and may facilitate more efficient uptake of magnesium ions.” I am looking at Ancient Minerals’ website but would love an unbiased opinion.

    • There is some evidence that MSM can help magnesium uptake, but I’ve noticed good results with regular magnesium oil as well. I definitely don’t think the MSM is necessary, but I also don’t think it is harmful.

  28. Hi Katie, I followed your suggestion & purchased EASE body spray, just wondering how much of it to use every day? I apply it after showering and I’m in my first trimester if pregnancy. Is there a teaspoon amount perhaps or a number of sprays recommended?
    Also, is it appropriate to use for a two year old or is that too young?
    Many thanks!

    • Personally, I use about ten sprays on myself and 2-3 on my kids 🙂 Congrats on your pregnancy!

    • If I can use Megnesium oil spray daily is it good enough to have sufficient amount of magnesium supplement?
      Is there any need to take magnesium pills separately as I do not like the pill and moreover the pills are very expensive as well. the spray is cost effective.
      thanks – celine

  29. Does this have contraindications for any medications that your aware of? I take Cymbalta for fibro and anxiety.
    Thank you

  30. I combine body lotion (I use EO) and magnesium oil, because it doesn’t have the itchy/salty feeling when mixed. I’ve been sleeping better, and noticing a marked difference in my restless legs.

  31. Hi Wellness Mama,
    Do you have any advice as to which magnesium supplement is safe and best during pregnancy? Thanks!

  32. Can you have too much Magnesium in your body?

  33. Thank you for your info. I started using Mag. Oil this morning and had some mild burning. After a while I washed it off and my skin is fine. I know that you are supposed take Mag with Calcium. I don’t take Calc. I have heard a lot of bad and good about Calc. and why some forms are better than others. Is there a form that you would recommend? Also, do you recommend taking Strontium for bone health? I have a lot of health issues and think the Mag will help with some of them. Thank you.

  34. Katie – What do you think about using ReMag with a spray bottle to apply. From the research I’ve done, it looks like the most absorbable liquid magnesium & there is more data on the ingredients.

  35. Hi Katie, I started out using the Ease Magnesium spray that you recommended and I liked it a lot. Later, I saw another article about magnesium where your favorite brand is linked to the Ancient Minerals magnesium spray. I thought you must have changed your recommendation, so I bought that one and ended up stopping use because it is greasy and too tingly. I still see the other article that links to Ancient Minerals as your favorite, so I just wanted to confirm that you do still recommend the Ease product as I would definitely purchase that one again! Thanks for your help!

  36. Thank you for the info! Seems like the topical application works better for me as well. Have tried Dr. Doug’s Miracle Balm’s? He makes a Magnesium Balm that is outstanding! Rubs in well, no irritation, just relief!

  37. I suffered from restless leg syndrome horribly with all my pregnancies and thanks to your podcast discovered it could simply be needing magnesium. I battled insomnia, anxiety, irritability and coulnd’t sit in the car or sleep without it running all through my legs, spine, and arms even well after I had my baby. My doctor said it was just something I’d have to deal with and gave no hope at getting rid of it. After hearing this podcast I tried some magnesium spray and within 30 minutes I feel it all calming down. I can sleep and I’m happy and funtioning normally. I had no idea how bad and mentally unstable I was feeling until I got the relief. Thanks so much. I feel like I got my life back and I can care for my family despite being pregnant. I can’t tell you how thankful I am for your work. I’ve passed on the info to my mom who has osteoporosis and knew she needed magnesium but her doctors never mentioned trying a topical oil. I’m becoming more and more blown away by what most people in the medical field don’t know and so appreciate the podcast. I struggle with challenging my doctors but this positive result gave me some courage to keep asking questions and doing my own reasearch.

  38. Hi Katie,
    I was wondering if taking a very small amount of melatonin 1.5 mg would interfere with using a tsp.of Calm transdermal magnesium cream on a 12 year old? Trying to address some issues…, moodiness, lack of focus….. hard for her to fall asleep.

  39. Hi, You said you use around ten sprays on yourself. Can you tell me where you spray it on your body?

  40. Where is the evidence that Magnesium can be absorbed transdermally? There is, however, plenty of evidence refuting that claim. Saying that Magnesium levels cannot be measured easily is a cop out. Plenty of ways to measure Mg levels in the body, and I’d like to see one unbiased study that proves that Mg can be taken in by the skin. Not a study that is funded and carried out by a company selling this snake oil.

  41. I recently had brain surgery and started suffering terrible cramps, day and night. I have used dermal MO for years, but found it wasn’t enough. I now take a scoop of powdered magnesium in my smoothie every morning and use MO at night, it seems to keep the debilitating cramps at bay.

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