What is Magnesium Oil?
Magnesium Oil got its name because of its oily texture. Although it feels oily, it is not an oil in the true sense, but a saturated salt solution of magnesium chloride and water. This "oily" property is caused in part by its high concentration and in part by the extreme water binding of magnesium chloride. Each magnesium chloride molecule binds six molecules of water. Due to this hygroscopic property, magnesium chloride stays almost always moist and split into ions. This is the only way magnesium can be absorbed by the body.
The Production of Magnesium Chloride
Magnesium chloride is abundant on our planet, especially in the oceans. It is produced from evaporating seawater. After the separation of sodium chloride (common salt), the source solution remains, which mainly contains magnesium chloride and magnesium sulfate, but also practically all other minerals and trace elements. Water from the Dead Sea has gained a certain fame because it is particularly rich in magnesium and boron. However, due to the increasing pollution of the seas with highly toxic substances, the "source solution" with all the minerals and trace elements in their natural form can no longer be used unpurified. Seawater must be refined and separated into individual components. This creates an artificial chemical compound consisting only of magnesium and chloride, which does not occur in nature.
In addition to sea water as a "source" of magnesium chloride, there are also subterranean deposits that originate from dried primordial oceans.
One of these underground deposits is the former Zechstein Sea. It stretched from northern England to the Netherlands and via Germany to Poland and Russia. It dried up about 250 million years ago and the minerals contained in it - separated into different layers - have been deposited. Due to tectonic shifts in the earth, the magnesium chloride layer is now about 1,600 to 2,000 meters (5,250 - 6,560 feet) deep in the belly of the earth, protected from all environmental pollution.
New technologies made it possible for the first time in 1982 to extract this raw material in the Netherlands as a saturated magnesium chloride solution. For this purpose, water is pumped into the magnesium chloride layer. The magnesium chloride dissolves to a 31 percent saturated solution (today called Magnesium Oil), which is transported to the surface. Because of its exceptional purity, Zechstein Magnesium Oil is available without further processing as a ready-to-use solution for health and wellness applications. It is therefore a pure, natural product, because nothing has been removed or added. The natural mix of magnesium chloride and trace elements gives the Zechstein Magnesium Oil its particularly good resorption capacity and compatibility. This feature of the Zechstein mine makes it superior to chemically purified magnesium chloride, which, for example, is obtained from sea water.
Quality Seal of the Zechstein Mine
Absorption through the Skin
Magnesium must first be absorbed through the skin so that it can act in the body. There are different explanations as to how this happens.
Although the human skin exists as a protective barrier for the body to shield it against the entry of pathogens and foreign substances, certain substances can nevertheless penetrate this barrier. Especially small, fat-soluble molecules such as benzene, aniline or nicotine are able to pass through the skin. The absorption of electrolytes (such as salts, acids and bases) depends on a variety of factors, such as the following:
- Degree of solution, i.e. the splitting into ions.
- Local pH value of the skin
- Quantity of substance
- Molecule size
- Fat solubility
- Available absorption area
To date, three delivery routes are known for the absorption of substances via the skin:
- Volume diffusion, the path through the intercellular spaces of cells (intercellular diffusion)
- Transcellular diffusion, the way through the cells
- Shunt diffusion, the path via the skin appendages, i.e. via sweat glands and hair follicles.
Transdermal Transport Routes
Transdermal Absorption of Magnesium Molecules
Even though the passage of magnesium ions through the cells is possible, the major magnesium absorption seems to take place via the path of the hair follicles and sweat glands.
Although hair follicles make up only about 0.1 percent of the total body surface, the absorption area is larger than the total skin surface. This is because the deep roots of the hair follicles create a surface that is many times larger than the surface of the skin. Since the hair follicles are not covered, magnesium can penetrate unhindered into the cells. Each cell comes with a magnesium transport mechanism so it can be passed from cell to cell. An overdose is not possible because the cells simply do not absorb magnesium when they are saturated.
Magnesium is an extremely hydrophilic, moisture-attracting substance and therefore the transcellular path through the horny cells is quite conceivable. Both forms of application - partial or full bath and a concentrated magnesium chloride solution - use magnesium in ionic form. Both the loosening of the callused skin and the stimulation of blood circulation by the warm bath as well as the massage effect by rubbing in the liquid magnesium chloride solution support the penetration through this layer.
In order to protect the body from high magnesium losses during perspiration, specially equipped cells actively absorb magnesium back from the sweat. These cells can not only filter and reabsorb magnesium from sweat, but are also able to resorb magnesium supplied through the skin.
This is similar to what happens in the kidney, where specially trained cells actively reabsorb magnesium from the filtered urine and return it to the circulatory system. Certain proteins in the cell membrane are responsible for transcellular transport. This is a special protein group that has an increased affinity for magnesium ions, binds them and passes them on until equilibrium is reached.
In general, the extent of resorption depends on the moisture level of the skin, the size of the treated skin area, the magnesium concentration on the skin, as well as the blood circulation and the duration of exposure.
Evidence of Efficacy for Transdermally Applied Magnesium
The first proof of efficacy came from American physician Norman Shealy. For six years he investigated different transdermal dosage forms of magnesium and was able to prove by determining the intracellular magnesium levels that magnesium deficiency can be eliminated within a very short time with transdermal application, namely in four to six weeks. Comparable results could be achieved with intravenous magnesium therapy in two weeks, with oral magnesium substitution however only after six to twelve months. In addition, the ratio of calcium to magnesium moved toward magnesium. At the same time, Shealy noted that with the transdermal magnesium administration, the DHEA levels of the patients increased on the average by 60 percent. This effect was observed neither in oral nor in intravenous administration. (1)
In another study, before and after twelve weeks of transdermal use with a 31-percent saturated magnesium chloride solution, both blood levels and cellular magnesium content were determined by hair analysis. After twelve weeks of treatment, 89 percent of the volunteers experienced an average increase in cellular magnesium content of 59.5 percent. With oral magnesium intake, comparable results could be obtained only after nine to 24 months. In addition, all patients showed an average improvement in the calcium-magnesium ratio of 25.2 percent during the trial period. It was also seen that decontamination of heavy metals were observed with 78 percent of the patients. (2)
At the University of Birmingham it was investigated whether magnesium can be absorbed from a full bath. Over a period of seven days, 19 volunteers bathed for twelve minutes in a one-percent magnesium sulfate solution. The magnesium content in both blood and urine was evaluated. It was found that during the seven-day application period, the magnesium levels in the blood as well as in the urine rose continuously in 16 out of 19 patients. In those subjects who did not experience an increase in blood levels, a high magnesium increase in the urine was observed. The results of this study show that magnesium from a bath can be absorbed via the skin and excreted via the kidneys, depending on the magnesium status of the person concerned. (3)
The renowned Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota provided a study on the transdermal absorption of magnesium to see whether this form of magnesium oil would have an effect on fibromyalgia. Forty women with clinically diagnosed fibromyalgia participated in the study. A special fibromyalgia questionnaire documented the type and severity of the symptoms on a scale. The data were collected at the beginning, after 2 weeks and after 4 weeks of treatment. Each participant was asked to massage four spray strokes twice a day on arms and legs for four weeks. Twenty four participants completed the study, and all reported significant improvement of symptoms. (4)
The study published in late 2016 by the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia, under the direction of Ross Barnard provides more scientific proof that magnesium can penetrate the skin. Scientists found that most magnesium enters the body through the hair follicles. The extent depends on the concentration of the solution and the duration of the exposure time.(5)
(1) Shealy C.N.: Transdermal Absorption of Magnesium. Southern Medical Association 2005, p.18
(2) Watkins K, Josling PD.: A pilot study to determine the impact of transdermal magnesium treatment on serum levels and whole body CaMg ratios. The Nutrition Practitioner, Spring 2010
(3) Waring RH: Report on Absorption of magnesium sulfat across the skin. School of Biosciences, University of Birmingham. B15 2TT, U.K.
(4) Engen D.J, McAllister S.J., Whipple M.O., Cha S.S., Dion L-J., Vincent A., Bauer B.A., Wahner-Roedler D.L.: Effects of transdermal magnesium chloride on quality of life for patients with fibromyalgia: a feasibility study, 2015, Journal of Integrative Medicine Editorial Office.
(5) Chandrasekaran N., Barnard R.T.. Permeation of topically applied Magnesium ions through human skin is facilitated by hair follicles. Magnesium Research 2016; 29 (2): 35-42