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What Exactly Is Magnesium Sulfate?

Magnesium sulfate is made by adding magnesium to oxygen and sulfur. 

Yes, you read that right – the same sulfur that is the bright yellow “brimstone” used to make batteries, matches, and fertilizer. 

Does this really sound like it’s good for your health?

Well, it actually does wonders for your health, and you’ve probably even used it countless times before. 

It’s also called Epsom salt, and it has a wide variety of magnesium sulfate benefits. 


Is magnesium sulfate the same as Epsom salt?

Yes, Epsom salt and magnesium sulfate are one in the same. Also called epsomite, magnesium sulfate is a bitter-tasting mineral compound that looks a lot like salt (which is why it is sometimes called a “bath salt”). 

Named after the town in which it was discovered in England, Epsom salt is one of the most common forms of magnesium that people use on a regular basis without even realizing that it is magnesium. 

What is magnesium sulfate and what is it used for?

Magnesium sulfate is a mineral supplement that is found in nature, and it has been recognized as a healing agent and pain reliever for centuries. 

This chemical compound is most commonly known for its ability to relieve stress in our muscles.

Magnesium is an important mineral that supports over 300 health processes in our bodies. 

This includes calming our nerves, protecting our muscles, boosting our immune system, fighting heart disease, preventing diabetes, and so much more.

Sulfate is a naturally occurring mineral that is used as an aggressive cleaning agent. 

It is the substance is many brands of shampoo and other soaps that creates a lather. 

You may see it listed on your shampoo bottle as sodium lauryl sulfate or sodium laureth sulfate, which are two forms of sulfate that are known for their deep cleansing effect.

Together, they form a mineral compound that has a positive impact on our bodies. For instance, it’s common for people to add Epsom salt to a hot bath to help them relax and to reduce pain and swelling, 

a foot bath to relieve pain after a long run or a hard day at work, or as part of a pre-event ritual for athletes to boost their exercise performance and recovery.

What is magnesium sulfate good for?

There are a wide variety of other magnesium sulfate uses that go beyond muscle tension to address other major health issues. 

This includes promoting better sleep because it supports your brain’s ability to create melatonin, which is the hormone that causes us to get sleepy. 

Because of its ability to help relieve stress, it is effective in supporting the treatment of anxiety and depression. 

It also aids in delaying premature birth, treating chronic fatigue syndrome, and addressing the complications of constipation.

Magnesium sulfate is also particularly beneficial for foot health. Podiatrists often recommend soaking your feet in a warm Epsom salt bath to help promote healing, relieve pain (including pain from gout), and treat fungal infections. 

It can also help exfoliate (soften) the skin on your feet and even reduce inflammation to make it easier to remove hangnails, splinters, and other debris. 

Many people choose to massage Epsom salt directly onto their feet during the warm bath for an added boost of magnesium sulfate benefits. 

This can be a game-changer for people with neuropathy or diabetic complications in their feet, but be sure to consult with a physician before adding anything new to the foot care routine prescribed by your doctor.

Another of the most important magnesium sulfate benefits is its role in the prevention and treatment of preeclampsia. 

This is complication that occurs during pregnancy and is characterized by high blood pressure and organ dysfunction. 

It is believed that preeclampsia issues occur within the blood vessels that connect to the placenta in order to pass oxygen from the mother to the baby. 

When the new blood vessels form abnormally, the consequences can be life-threatening. 

Magnesium sulfate is generally administered via an injection to prevent seizures, and when administered to prevent premature birth, it is vital to giving the baby’s lungs and other organs enough time to develop properly.

Why do I need magnesium sulfate?

Perhaps the most important of all magnesium sulfate benefits is that it increases our overall magnesium levels. 

Magnesium is needed for proper functioning of our muscles, bones, and nerves, managing our blood sugars, regulating blood pressure, promoting brain health, encouraging healthy sleep patterns, preventing headaches and migraines, and supporting a healthy immune system.

If we do not have enough magnesium in our system, the consequences will be significant. 

This includes, but is not limited to, muscle cramps, mental health issues, osteoporosis, asthma, high blood pressure, and fatigue.

How does magnesium sulfate work?

Epsom salt dissolves in water, so it is often added to bathwater. Some people also add it to their body lotion and apply it directly to their skin. 

Although this has not yet been proven, many people believe that it can be absorbed through our skin to increase our overall consumption of magnesium. 

However, whether we can absorb magnesium through our skin or not, there’s no question that there are benefits from our skin’s exposure to magnesium sulfate. 

Just remember to always moisturize your skin after using Epsom salt since sulfates can be a bit harsh.

In a medical setting, doctors have sometimes administered magnesium sulfate via an injection in order to help control the level of magnesium in our blood and to treat other serious medical conditions.

Should I take magnesium sulfate orally?

Well… only if recommended by a doctor. You should always consult your doctor and read the instructions on the label carefully before deciding whether your magnesium sulfate is safe to consume.

Magnesium sulfate can be taken by mouth, but most people do not prefer to consume the raw over-the-counter version due to the bitter taste of the sulfur. 

However, if you and your doctor decide that you should take magnesium sulfate orally, you may decide to take magnesium sulfate in the form of a pill to increase your magnesium. 

Take your pills with a meal to reduce your risk of upset stomach or diarrhea.

If you choose magnesium sulfate as a powder, which is common among those who use it to treat constipation, you should take it with at least 8 ounces of water, and give yourself only about 1 – 6 hours for it to become effective.

You might also decide to dissolve a magnesium sulfate pill or add powder to at least 8 ounces of water, and perhaps even add a bit of lemon juice to balance the tart flavor.

Though there are definite benefits, the sulfates may be hard on your stomach – and this can be particularly difficult if you have other health conditions. 

Even if your doctor says it is safe to consume magnesium sulfate, you will need to take care in order to avoid other health issues.

What is the best way to get more magnesium in my system?

A healthy diet is always the best way to get the vitamins and minerals you need on a daily basis. Luckily, there’s a long list of magnesium-rich foods that can be delicious staples in your diet.

  •   Seafood, such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel
  •   Leafy green vegetables, like spinach and kale
  •   Other vegetables, like cabbage, green beans, and carrots
  •   Fruits, like bananas, avocados, and apples
  •   Legumes, like kidney beans, black beans, and lima beans
  •   Nuts, like almonds, cashews, and peanuts

And are you ready for this one? DARK CHOCOLATE! This scrumptious treat is healthy in so many ways – and it doesn’t taste bad either!

It’s not always so easy to maintain a healthy, balanced level of magnesium in your system. 

You actually need to have quite a lot of these in your diet on an ongoing basis. 

You can definitely accomplish this by eating the right foods, but that can be a challenge on busy days. 

That’s why many people choose to take magnesium supplements like magnesium sulfate on a regular basis.

There are several types of magnesium supplements available. 

For instance, magnesium taurate aids in the treatment of diabetes, magnesium glycinate helps relieve anxiety, magnesium citrate is known as a laxative, and magnesium oxide is used mostly as an antacid. 

Each of these magnesium supplements will help you increase the level of magnesium in your system, but they also have additional, unique health benefits.

But if you are looking for a magnesium supplement to aid in the relaxation of your muscles and more, then magnesium sulfate may be the right choice for you.

What happens if I get too much magnesium sulfate?

Although rare, having too much magnesium in your system will create life-threatening complications. 

This includes loss of mental clarity, breathing problems, muscle dysfunction, low blood pressure, upset stomach, kidney damage, heart attack, and coma. 

Additionally, too much sulfate in your system will create several stomach problems, including coughing and diarrhea.

However, if you focus on eating healthy foods, taking magnesium supplements in accordance with the label, 

and only orally consuming magnesium sulfate as instructed by your doctor, you should not expect any complications when you enjoy the benefits of using Epsom salt.

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