Epsom salts: what are they and what are their health benefits?

During the last years, Epsom salts are more and more popular, Either because many athletes use them to soothe their sore muscles, or because influencers make home remedies with this substance.

These salts have been associated with multiple therapeutic benefits, in addition to being used to obtain better harvests and be used in the food industry.

Let’s see what exactly these salts are, what benefits they would have and whether, although naturally occurring, they pose a health risk.

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Epsom salts: what are they?

Epsom salts, also known by their chemical name as magnesium sulfate, they are a natural and exfoliating remedy used to treat multiple body aches and problems. Since they contain magnesium, it is believed that they can help in the treatment of diseases caused by the lack of this mineral.

Magnesium is an element that plays a very important role in the synthesis of proteins that the human body needs, especially those located in the joints and the nervous system.

Epsom salts have become more popular over the years, being a very important ingredient in many beauty products and also in the manufacture of bath salts.

chemical composition

These salts were originally extracted from a source near Epsom, England, which is why they get their name. The water from this spring is salty and bitter, and this is where these salts were first distilled.

Magnesium sulfate contains sulfur, oxygen and magnesium as a composition. Salts appear as colorless crystals, resembling common salt or sodium chloride.

Uses and Benefits

The benefits attributed to Epsom salts are numerous.

therapeutic uses

It has been suggested that Epsom salts are ideal for treating many health issues. However, it must be said that scientific research in this regard is limited and that just as they can have certain benefits, they can also carry risks, natural as they are.

1. Magnesium levels increase

Having adequate levels of magnesium promotes overall good health. In fact, one of the most common medical problems is magnesium deficiency or hypomagnesemia.

Hypomagnesemia can be the result of alcohol abuse, malnutrition, severe diarrhea, or high calcium levels, leading to heart disease, chronic fatigue, digestive disorders, osteoporosis, and psychological problems. .

The magnesium that is one of these salts can be absorbed through the skin, either by soaking your feet in water with Epsom salts or by taking a relaxing bath. This avoids having to consume oral supplements with magnesium.

Good levels of magnesium in the body allow the correct synthesis of more than 300 fundamental enzymes which are responsible for organic functions and good muscle control.

2. Calm stress

Magnesium seems to have a relaxing effect on the body. One of the most popular uses for these salts is to use them as bath salts.

Epsom salts have been said to aid in the production of serotonin, which may be linked to the benefit of reducing stress and anxiety, although scientific support for this soon becomes scarce.

3. Antiseptics and anti-inflammatories

these salts have been used to relieve pain and discomfort associated with burns and inflammation due to allergiesBut this has not been scientifically proven.

As they appear to have antiseptic abilities, they have been used to remove odor from the feet, eliminating the bacteria that cause them.

4. Relief from constipation

are considered natural relief from constipation. If consumed orally, Epsom salts act as laxatives, causing more water in the intestines and aiding digestion.

5. They regulate glucose levels

It has been suggested that its consumption could prevent the development of diabetes. Magnesium contributes to better use of insulin in the body.

Agriculture

These salts are used to increase the levels of magnesium and sulphates in arable land.

Many plants require a lot of magnesium to produce nutritious fruits and vegetables and very ripe, such as tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, lemons, peppers and, in floristry, roses.

Magnesium sulfate is a substance with an almost neutral pH. This means that, unlike various fertilizers, there is no change in the pH of the cultivated land, which could damage the plantings.

food

In the food industry, Epsom salts are used to brew certain types of beer.

It is also used in Asia in the manufacture of tofu and soybean derivatives.

Risk for the health

Although it is a natural product, not synthesized in the laboratory, these salts are not without health risks.

The consumption of Epsom salts should be carried out under medical examination, as excessive consumption of the substance can lead to an increase in the level of magnesium in the blood, resulting in hypermagnesemia. Symptoms associated with this medical condition include diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea, and cramps.

Consumption of these salts alone is not recommended, either for the purpose of treating or preventing disease. It is also not recommended to use them to treat skin wounds, burns and allergies, as this could make the injuries worse.

Bibliographical references:

  • Heinz-Büchel, Karl, Moretto, HH, Werner, D., Wiley, J. (2000) Industrial inorganic chemistry,.
  • Blitz M, Blitz S, Hughes R, Diner B, Beasley R, Knopp J, Rowe BH (2005) Aerosolized magnesium sulfate for acute asthma: a systematic review. Chest, 128: 337-44.
  • Duley, L; Gülmezoglu, AM; Henderson-Smart, DJ; Chou, D. (2010). “Magnesium sulfate and other anticonvulsants for women with preeclampsia”. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (11)
  • Duley, L; Henderson-Smart, DJ; Walker, GJ; Chou, D (December 8, 2010). “Magnesium Sulfate Versus Diazepam for Eclampsia.” Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (12)

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