Beware of ripoffs

It's always the same: As soon as a new product attracts consumer attention and establishes itself in the market, the freeloaders come out of hiding to flood the market with seemingly super-cheap offers. We see this now with the external magnesium applications of Zechstein Magnesium Oil and Zechstein Magnesium Flakes.

Zechstein Logo

The original from the Zechstein Mine

The magnesium chloride deposits around the former Zechstein Sea in Veendam, Holland are considered to be the purest and highest quality natural source of magnesium chloride in the world. For millions of years, magnesium chloride has been stored there in the belly of the earth, protected from environmental pollution.

New technology has made it possible to extract this raw material as a saturated magnesium chloride solution. To do so, water is pumped into the layer of magnesium chloride. The magnesium chloride then dissolves to form a 31% saturated solution, known as magnesium oil, which is then pumped to the surface. Due to its exceptional purity, Zechstein Magnesium Oil is available without further processing as a ready-to-use solution for use in the health and wellness sector. Zechstein Magnesium Oil is continuously subjected to a chemical analysis.

The real Zechstein

The former Zechstein Sea stretched from northern England over Germany to Russia. It dried up about 250 million years ago and the minerals contained in it remain as deposits separated into different layers. But not the same quality of deposits can be found everywhere in the former area of the Zechstein Sea. For example, it is mainly potash that exists in the area of today's Germany. Magnesium chloride plays a subordinate role as a waste product of the refining process during potash production. The magnesium chloride is regarded primarily as a salt for industrial use, largely in the car industry for the manufacture of rims or as road salt in winter, and costs just pennies. It is the same in Holland. Only very specific mines there produce the high quality salt considered suitable for human use. Not every magnesium chloride product that comes from Holland automatically offers this special quality.

However, savvy marketers now offer the inferior magnesium salts for use in the health and wellness sector. It is very difficult for the consumer to tell whether it is an industrial salt, or the pure magnesium chloride from the Zechstein Mine that's certified for human use. To make matters worse, the name "Zechstein" cannot be protected because it is a geographical term. Everything that is mined in the former area of the Zechstein Sea can therefore be named. So it happens more and more often that I am told about side effects, such as skin rashes, after a magnesium bath. It always turns out that the bath product used was salt intended for industrial use, cheaply purchased online in 50 pound sacks.

My advice: Keep your hands off cheap salt for industrial use.

Yet it is not only cheap products that contain cheap salt meant for industrial use, but also seemingly legitimate products sold at high prices even in pharmacies. It is very difficult to tell from price whether it is the real thing or an inferior product. So there remains the question of how we as consumers can protect ourselves from ripoffs, and how we can recognize whether a product contains the original Zechstein magnesium quality. My tip: Look for the label.

Look for the Zechstein Inside logo (see above)

Only products with this symbol contain the original Zechstein magnesium, whose natural purity and quality are tested and documented with every batch.

A particularly bold ripoff

I would like to point out a particularly bold ripoff found online: Magnesium oil offered for home production in a 1-quart bottle. Apart from the fact that the bottle does not contain 1,000 ml of magnesium oil as can be read on the label, but rather 300 g of magnesium powder, the consumer must fill the bottle with 700 ml (3 cups) of water to result in a 30% magnesium chloride solution, according to the label. Since magnesium chloride is present in its solid form as magnesium chloride hexahydrate (1 molecule of magnesium chloride binds 6 molecules of water), and only consists of 47% magnesium chloride, the remainder being 53% bound water, the addition of 3 cups of water will result in an approximately 14% magnesium chloride solution and not a 30% magnesium chloride solution. This is deliberate consumer deception.

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