Magnesium cream absorbed through skin significantly boosts magnesium levels in the blood, a study has found.
Research from the University of Herfordshire has revealed magnesium creams could potentially be used as an alternative or in addition to pills to combat major health problems including hypertension.
The first study into the effectiveness of magnesium creams on humans, published in the journal PLOS One, has found that topical application does boost magnesium levels in the blood.
The University of Hertfordshire research is a first step to showing that transdermal magnesium creams could be a viable addition or alternative to oral supplementation, to combat the range of health problems linked to low magnesium levels, including high blood pressure and poor immune function.GETTY
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Low magnesium intake has been shown to cause many health problems, including high blood pressure
Only 86 per cent of the population currently meet recommended magnesium levels in their diet and oral magnesium is commonly used to support a low magnesium diet.
Experts said supplementation is proven to improve various health conditions, including, blood pressure immune function, cardiovascular system and metabolic syndrome.
An alternative - particularly for people who have difficulties in taking pills - could be topical application through magnesium oils and trans-dermal creams, from which magnesium is absorbed through the skin.
Lindsy Kass at the University of Hertfordshire said: “This study is the first to look at the absorbency of transdermal magnesium creams in human subjects, so is a significant step in determining whether or not these creams could potentially be used as an alternative to oral supplements.
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“Our initial findings indicate that magnesium creams could well be a viable and effective alternative to taking oral magnesium supplements in tablet form, although further studies are now needed to look at a higher dose of magnesium over a longer period of time.
“Low magnesium intake has been shown to cause many health problems, including high blood pressure and cardiovascular issues, so these creams could potentially be a good way to contribute to the increase in magnesium levels and therefore help in reducing the associated health problems.
“Many people do not like taking pills or have difficulty ingesting them, whereas a cream could be used easily on a daily basis - for example by rubbing it into the skin after showering.”
Lindsy Kass and Andrea Rosanoff from the Centre for Magnesium Education and Research in Hawaii, studied a group of healthy adults.
The research showed baseline urine and blood samples were taken and participants randomly assigned into magnesium cream or placebo control cream groups, then instructed to apply two x 5ml spoonfuls of cream per day for two weeks.
The resulting daily dose received in the magnesium cream group consisted of 56mg.
After 12 to 14 days final urine and blood samples were collected and compared to the original findings.
After the magnesium cream intervention, researchers found an increase in magnesium levels in the blood not seen in the placebo group.
In particular for non-athletes in the group (exercise is known to deplete magnesium levels and a small number of the participants were undertaking regular high intensity training) there was a statistically significant rise in magnesium in the blood.