Epsom Salts. Beneficial for Gut and Skin Health.
Updated: Apr 15
(Updated March 2020)
I am a big fan of epsom salts. They were an integral element of my daughter's gut healing program. Even when we didn't have a bath, we incorporated them in either a foot bath (when she was old enough to sit in front of a screen for 20 minutes) or more often, a large container at the bottom of the shower.
Epsom salts are inorganic salts also known as magnesium sulfate. Easily absorbed through the skin, it's useful to support gentle detoxification and raising your blood levels of magnesium and sulfate, which helps to:
relax the body and ease stress
relieve muscle aches, migraine headache and body pains
improve electrolyte balance in the body
enhance the actions of insulin (and therefore reduce the risk of diabetes)
improve blood circulation and the elasticity of blood vessels
eliminate toxins from the body
exfoliate and cleanse the skin
Magnesium is a 'master' mineral that’s essential for good health, as it's required for over 300 biochemical processes, and it also happens to be something many of us are chronically low in - especially where there is a leaky gut. It has anti-inflammatory properties, blocks the release of pro-inflammatory factors making it useful for the treatment of asthma, gout, muscle cramps and eczema to reduce lesions and itching but also to hydrate the skin and prevent growth of eczema-causing bacteria and fungi with its antimicrobial effect. It is also an alkalizing agent that can lower the acidity of the blood, saving the immune system some effort in countering the harmful effects of toxins (an important trigger of eczema as the immune reactions are a response to the body identifying it as something that needs to be removed via the skin).
Sulphates/sulfates are also essential for good health, are a major detox pathway and are needed to start the cascade of digestive enzymes released from the pancreas to digest our foods efficiently. Low sulfate has also been found in those with IBD, however it's shown to be best absorbed from the skin as it's not easily absorbed through the gut wall. In addition, sulfate can help flush out heavy metals from the body. Magnesium and sulfate can prevent the cascade of immune reactions that only end up promoting a cycle of eczema breakouts, and can also speed up skin barrier recovery after it has been breached.
Not all epsom salts are created equal. Make sure at the very least you choose 'pharmaceutical grade' but ideally you want a salt that is all natural, chemically pure and food grade and has been adequately analysed for any contaminants.
WHERE TO BUY
iHerb (worldwide): White Egret Epsom Salts (and get 5% off your entire cart with code GVJ251)
HealthPost (worldwide): Chantal Naturals Epsom Salts 1.5kg
Blants (New Zealand): Epsom Salts Gold Label (use code ML20 to get 5% off once logged in)
SUGGESTIONS FOR USE
Because Epsom Salts are a natural detoxer, you’ll need to start slowly (as you would with any detox) to ensure you don’t push your body too quickly - especially for babies and young children.
Adults: Start with half a cup or less of Epsom Salts in a bath (or foot bath) of water per day. Soak in the bath for at least ten minutes but ideally up to 30 minutes a day – relax and enjoy!
Over a period of a few weeks, you can increase the quantities to two to four cups of Epsom Salts however generally one or two cups is perfectly sufficient for most.
For babies, young children and those with eczema, start super low and go slow with just one tablespoon in the bath, and gradually increase.
If you have kidney disease, please consult your doctor before using. If you don't have a full sized bath, foot baths are a great alternative. I'd just suggest avoiding BPA plastic tubs if possible.