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Transdermal Magnesium

By Denise Elliot

 We asked Denise to help us understand the difference between absorbing magnesium through the skin (transdermal) compared to taking it orally (internal).


The mineral magnesium is required for numerous important metabolic and cellular functions. It is identified in hundreds of enzymatic reactions  and is vital for energy production.


As well as maintaining healthy bones, magnesium plays a crucial role in our nervous system, neuromuscular transmission and aids optimal cardiac function.

You can find plenty of questionable information that claims transdermal magnesium is superior or offers better absorption because it bypasses the digestive system. However the importance of magnesium and its positive effects from ingested supplementation is well documented.

An article published in 2017 in the Nutrients Journal, cites some small studies attempting to prove the efficiency of transdermal magnesium.  This study was completed on a small number of participants, and the results were non-conclusive.  As  for the therapeutic effectiveness, it is still unknown of its ability to transport into the cell, and more work is required.  This is not to say it is ineffective – just not 100% medically proven.

Facts about the Dead Sea

This sea is actually the deepest and most saline lake in the world, carrying the highest concentration of magnesium and sodium, more than any other body of water. The Dead Sea is in the Jordan Rift valley – bordering Israel, Jordan and Palestine with the main tributary being the Jordan River.

The magnesium level in our oceans is normally about 55 mmol/L and the Dead Sea is about 198 mmol/L. The high salinity prevents macroscopic aquatic organisms like fish and seaweeds to survive, giving it its name. This water is mentioned in the bible for its healing properties and people travel many miles to soak in it. Positive aspects have been recorded from bathing. This does provide a clue as to possible absorption through the skin.

Most of us would agree that an Epsom salt (magnesium salt) bath is relaxing.

Prevalence of low magnesium is widespread throughout the world. With such a common deficiency and in these stressful times we live in, it may be worth considering transdermal  magnesium for extra support to oral supplementation.


A  Factors that increase transdermal magnesium absorption:

·         Increasing area of application

·         Scalp and armpits exhibiting higher rates of absorption due to hair follicles

·         Increase frequency of application

·         Keep skin well hydrated

·         Internal magnesium is more effective than transdermal