What is Epsom Salts Used for & Best Uses?

You probably have never heard of Epsom salts before. Or maybe you have but you only heard a little bit about them and want to know more.

Epsom salts aren’t a new thing. They have been used for over 400 years. Since they’ve been used for so long, there must be some benefits to using them right?

So, what are Epsom salts good for?

Can help with Magnesium deficiency

Magnesium is one of the most important minerals your body needs in order to function properly. It helps keeps your bones strong, increases your energy levels, and keeps your heart healthy.

If someone doesn’t get enough magnesium (called hypomagnesemia) in their body, this can lead to an increased chance of getting seizures, heart problems, and even sudden death.

Epsom salts have magnesium in them so people believe that taking baths with Epsom salts in them (a.k.a. bath salts) will help them if they have low magnesium levels.

This is true to a certain extent as there have been studies that have shown that taking salt baths can increase magnesium levels inside the blood.

In this test, 19 people took bath salts at the same time for a week. Out of the 19 people, 16 saw an increase in their magnesium levels. This means that it is very likely that taking bath salts will help you if you don’t get enough magnesium from your diet alone.

Helps the body perform better

When taking an Epson salt bath, it can help regulate electrolytes which helps your body perform all of its numerous different functions better. It’s actually common for athletes to take an Epson salt bath to help their body recover faster.

While there is no definitive evidence that Epson salt baths help regulate electrolytes, there are some studies that show a correlation between the two.

Athletes also do this for the magnesium they gain from taking bath salts which are needed for your body to properly use calcium.

A lack of calcium can be detrimental not only to an athlete’s health but to your health as well. This is because the body will try to make up for the lack of calcium by taking calcium away from your bones.

If your bones have less calcium, they become weaker puts you at greater risk for contracting a bone disease.

Oral laxative

The FDA has approved Epsom salts as an effective remedy for people suffering from constipation. Before you go out and try this for yourself, you need to know that there are different kinds of Epsom salts.

There are the ones used for bathing, the ones used as fertilizer, and then there are the ones that are safe to consume.

These Epsom salts can help with constipation due to the fact that it attracts fluid to the bowels. This is needed because the lack of fluid is the reason why the stool is having trouble passing.

With the extra fluid, people will be able to have a bowel movement sometimes within 30 minutes of taking Epsom salts. If you don’t feel anything within 30 minutes, don’t panic.

Although you can have results in 30 minutes, it can sometimes take a few hours before you have results.

It is not recommended however to continue to use the salts if they haven’t helped. This is because of the risk of toxic levels of magnesium building in your body. Magnesium overdose is a thing and it can happen if you were to consume a big enough dose of Epsom salts.

Taking too many salts can also lead to another unwanted side effect, diarrhea. You don’t want to go from one problem to another, which is another reason why you shouldn’t continue to take Epson salts if you aren’t seeing positive results. It’s best to go and try another laxative or go see your doctor.

Aid with falling asleep

Like most people in today’s world, you probably have a difficult time falling asleep. Some people have turned to Epsom salts to try and get a good night’s sleep.

Some people have reported getting better rest since introducing these salts into their nightly routine.  The tricky part is determining if the Epson salts are actually what’s causing them to sleep better.

As mentioned earlier, Epsom salts have magnesium, in them. Magnesium is known to increase GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) which helps you relax as well as sleep.

It’s believed that the increased magnesium is what is allowing some people to fall asleep better and not the salts as there is currently no evidence that supports the claims of Epsom salts improving sleep quality.

Pain reliever

Whether you are suffering from muscle soreness or arthritis, Epsom salts have been raved about being a great pain reliever. Because of these claims, a lot of people who exercise routinely find themselves shopping for Epsom salts to help ease their sore muscles.

Again, there are currently no studies that show Epsom salts to be a good home remedy for pain relief.

It is believed that the benefits people are experiencing are coming from the warm water instead of the salts. Warm water has been proven to help the body relax as well as loosening sore muscles and stiff joints.

Heat, in general, has also been proven to do this as well which is why a lot of people use heating pads as a form of therapy for stiffness, backaches, and headaches.

But if you have tried this with no avail, it is worth giving bath salts a chance.

Reduce Anxiety

The magnesium sulfate inside of Epsom salts can help relieve stress, depression, and anxiety. This may sound like a saving grace for a lot of us because so many people suffer from some form of anxiety.

Of course, we all experience stress and depression at times in our lives so having something to assist us with these things can be extremely helpful in our darkest times.

Taking a warm bath with Epsom salts has been shown to help with anxiety because it increases your body temperature. This increased temperature is what calms you down. The magnesium sulfate has also been shown to lower blood pressure in patients.

So if you need to wind down, a nice warm bath can be just what you need. The recommendation is 300 grams of Epsom salt to feel the benefits. Sometimes you can feel the benefits as quickly as 15 minutes.

Healthier feet

Called an Epsom salt foot soak, it’s just like taking a regular bath in Epsom salts but instead, you are just soaking your feet. You put your feet in a tub filled with Epsom salts and let them sit in there for around 30-60 minutes.

Why do people do this?

An Epsom foot soak can actually provide health benefits to your feet such as removing dead skin, treating fungal infections, and can even remove splinters.

It makes splinters easier to remove by causing the splinter to swell up, making it easier to grab and remove from the skin. Of course, this isn’t something that will only work for the feet, but it also works for splinters in the hands.

It only takes around 10 minutes for the splinter to swell up. This can make removing a splinter much faster a much less painful especially for toddlers.

The removal of dead skin from the feet can make your feet look much healthier and younger. In order to achieve this, it’s recommended to do Epsom salt foot soaks twice a week.

Are there any negative side effects to Epsom Salts?

As great as it would be if there were no negative consequences to using Epsom salts, that sadly isn’t true. There are some negative side effects that are minor and then there are some serious ones that can threaten your life.

If you have sensitive skin, Epsom salts can cause irritation, cracking, bleeding, and rashes. It’s also possible to be allergic to these salts which can cause a breakout in hives.

Then there are the negative side effects of consuming Epsom salts. Though they are safe to consume in small amounts, taking too much can cause people to experience headaches, diarrhea, vomiting, and even death.

Most of these negative side effects come from the magnesium in the salts which can be toxic when taken in high amounts.

Final verdict

With so many listed benefits but so many of them not having enough evidence to support the claims, it can be difficult when trying to decide whether you should Epsom salts or not.

While there is a lack of evidence for many of these benefits, that shouldn’t steer you away from giving Epsom salts a try. Some people have experienced some of these benefits and it’s possible you can too! You just shouldn’t expect to experience the same benefits that someone else experienced.

You should also try to be careful when using Epson salts. Although they are generally safe to use, they can cause negative side effects for people who have sensitive skin or are allergic. But if you are careful, it’s possible for you to find Epson salts to be a great addition to your life.

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