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Sulphate Content of Epsom (Epson) Salt

Updated on October 20, 2011

This Different View

This view is concerned with the sulphate content of Epsom salt to correct the so many speculations attributing all its effects to the role of magnesium, and the so many claimed health benefits gained through the "osmosis" of the salt, without clarifying where exactly this osmotic pressure is present, outside or inside the body, and completely neglecting the fact that the skin is an insulating agent that can not allow passage of the most available material on the earth (water) simply by osmosis, moreover the absorption of any element proceeds through passage across regulated gateways whether we know them or not, and that only oil can penetrate the skin from outside.

Our starting point will be the conclusion of the study made by Dr RH Waring of Birmingham University which states that "Bathing in Epsom salts is a safe and easy way to increase Sulfate and Magnesium levels in the body". In fact increasing the levels of both magnesium and sulphate has many health benefits as we will see.

Is Sulphate That Important to Our Body?

Sulphur element represents about 0.04 percent of our body composition, i.e., the body of a person weighing 100 kilograms contains 40 g sulphur. This amount is present in :

- Amino acids Methionine and Cysteine which supplies the body with its needs of sulfur ( they produce other amino acids, homocysteine, cystine
, taurine, and the tripeptide glutathione)

- Cysteine represents the "knots" that tie the parallel threads of proteins of the skin and connective tissue, as well as some hormones like insulin. Without it the protein structure is deformed and the hormone is inactive

- Keratin which is the main constituent of the epidermis

- Glycoproteins: sulphates are associated with the GlycosAminoGlycans (GAGs) like glycosamine and chondroitin present in the bone matrix, tendons and connective tissue

- Conjugation detoxification reactions in the liver ( e.g. phenolic compounds)

- The central co-enzyme of the whole metabolism, aka, Acteyl Coenzyme A

- Non-protein organic sulfur compounds like sulfalipids and sulfatides

Is There a Sulphate Deficieny and Sequale?

Within the Golgi apparatus (organelle in the cell) there are sulfotrnsferases that uses the active sulfate (3'-phosphoadnosine-5'-phosphosulfate 'PAPS') as the sulfate donor for GAGs. Within the liver cysteine is used to synthesize glutathione and to keep cysteine within limits.

We may consider that the body is on a "tight budget" concerning sulfates, since it is only derived from 2 sources (Methionine and Cysteine - Cystine is indigestible ,and oral inorganic sulfate does not work as it is absorbed as organic sulfur).

It is tightly regulated within the body through exchange between organic and inorganic sulfates, chiefly due to synthesis and breakdown of GAGs, synthesis of Glutathione and kidney excretion.

Thus when the body is subject to activities requiring a large demand of sulfates like, ingesting too much phenols in the food (tannins, quercetin, coumarins, all are are abundant in many fruits, vegetables and spices), preservatives like BHA and BHT, acetaminophen,chemicals..etc, sulfates are in short, and this may lead to the following disorders:

- Inability of the liver to detoxify many substances ingested every day
- Diminished pancreatic enzymes
- Diminished production of GAGs which may cause leaky gout, cellulite,
and wrinkles
- Deficiency of sulfation seem to be a factor in Autism ( Mastering Autism, by Willis S. Langford)

Internal Uses of Epsom Salt

• Oral magnesium sulfate is commonly used as a saline laxative

• Magnesium sulfate is the first-line antiarrhythmic agent for Torsades de pointes in cardiac arrest under the 2005 ECC guidelines as well as managing Quinidine-induced arrythmias

• Magnesium, 200 mg three times daily, with malic acid 1,200 mg three times daily, for symptoms of fibromyalgia

• Magnesium sulfate can be used to treat eclampsia in pregnant women

• Magnesium sulfate can also delay labor in the case of premature labor, to delay preterm birth.

• Solutions of sulfate salts such as Epsom salt may be given as first aid for Barium chloride poisoning.

Topical Uses of Epsom (Epson) Salt

• Traditionally, it is also used to prepare foot baths, intended to soothe sore feet

• Users of Epsom salt in the gel form have reported significant and lasting reduction of pain associated with fibromyalgia and osteoporosis

• Through its dehydrating effect under the skin it kills microbes, it actually reduce swelling and help with repair. Try its effect on an infected toenail, but get prompt medical treatment if you are diabetic.

- Another better way is to use Epsom salt compresses and then apply honey or vaseline 3 times a day.

- Soak in epsom salt, it will draw out the splinter

• Magnesium sulfate solution has also been shown to be an effective aid in the fight against blemishes and acne when applied directly to problematic areas, usually in poultice form.

- Just mix up a tablespoon of epsom salt in 1/2 cup warm water, and wash face with it about 2 times daily. The results will amaze you.

- For a fresh, blemish-free complexion, mix 1/2 teaspoon of Epsom Salt into cleansing cream. Gently massage on skin in circular motions to remove any dry skin cells and to help unclog pores. Rinse with cool water and pat dry. Apply your favorite moisturizer with SPF 15 or higher.

• Extract oil from hair
Remove excess oil from hair by adding 9 tablespoons of epsom salt to a half-cup of oily hair shampoo. Apply one tablespoon of the liquid to your hair when it is dry; rinse with cold water. Next, pour lemon juice or organic apple cider vinegar through the hair, leave on for 5 to 10 minutes, and then rinse.

- Remove hairspray:
Combine 1 gallon of water, 1 cup of lemon juice, and 1 cup epsom salt. Combine, cover and let set for 24 hours. The next day, pour the mixture into your dry hair and let it sit for 20 minutes. Then shampoo as normal.

Hot Epsom (Epson) Salt Bath

It can be used successfully to produce the following effects:
- Detoxificaton
- Significant and lasting reduction of pain associated with fibromyalgia and osteoporosis,
- Lovely feelings of relaxation and stress relief
- Soothe aching muscles as well as inflammation
- Dealing with acne
- Exfoliating the skin. But it is drying, put some glecerin in the bath
- Soothe and relieve Herpes outbreak symptoms, such as itching and lesions relating to Genital Herpes and Shingles

It can also be tried for other cases requiring internal use of the salt.


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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Husband has shingles on his right leg. It looks horrible but a warm bath with white vinegar was suggested but he wants to try epsom salt instead. Let you know how it goes.

    • gerrywalker profile image

      Gerry Walker 

      7 years ago from Treasure Coast, Florida

      Thanks for the help on this, I was trying to find something to ease itchiness of bad rash, think it might be shingles, will certainly try the epsom salts on this. I use it on my azaleas in the winter to feed magnesium, thought it might be of help in magnesium deficiency, and look what I found out! all this helpful info!

      Thanks again.

    • bonunsa profile image


      8 years ago

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      epsom salt.!

    • profile image


      9 years ago


    • profile image

      Anna Venios 

      9 years ago

      I would like to know more about epsom salt. I have been reading many articles about epsom salt baths and how they can help children with autism. How true is this?

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Actually I had a bath where the Epsom salt concentration was high, I went drowsy and I never tried it again!


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