Transdermal absorption has been part of human history for centuries, from when ancient Egyptians and others started using saunas.
Mg delivered through the skin aids as a muscle relaxant and skin rejuvenator.
According to Sandy Sanderson, creator of Elektra Magnesium, "Magnesium tablets and powders are difficult for many people to digest, especially if they have low stomach acid or IBS symptoms. Magnesium tablets and powders often contain fillers and binders that can interfere with digestion.
They may work well as laxatives, but studies show that high concentrations of magnesium cannot transit the gut wall, which absorbs magnesium optimally only in low amounts, as would be in natural mineral water and foods. High concentrations are mostly wasted by the digestive system.
Chelated magnesium, which are supplements of magnesium joined up with an amino acid, may have a better bioavailability in that they don't irritate the bowel so much, but you still need enough stomach acid to digest them so you can use the magnesium (which is then converted to magnesium chloride for cell use anyway).
These chelated forms may be magnesium taurate, magnesium glycinate, magnesium threonate, etc. The taurine, glycine, or threonine might very well be useful and beneficial, however only a smaller portion of the magnesium part can get through the gut wall due to the narrow window of opportunity of this barrier. High concentrations are out: Low concentrations get in.
Transdermal absorption, in the form of dissolved magnesium chloride, is a more effective way to supplement with magnesium when larger amounts are needed, because no further digestion is required. Being already in the right form for cell uptake, the magnesium chloride in solution can be absorbed by the epidermis, the largest organ of the body. This is why magnesium bathing or foot-soaking works so well to calm and relax muscles quickly.
The skin can also act as a storage reservoir, which the body can draw from over time as required, thereby self-regulating magnesium uptake. It works fast too - especially in the context of massage. When the skin is well conditioned with lipids (fats), the magnesium uptake is enhanced. More information about the mechanism of action is available here.
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