Research & Findings
Positive findings from studies have helped show the following:
- Magnesium is essential for many critical functions in the body and is very important for athletes including muscle performance/recovery and exercise.
- Magnesium can be absorbed transdermally (through the skin) and can start immediately.
- Menthol can have a synergistic effect on the permeability and absorption of Magnesium (Menthol HELPS).
- Many medical conditions have documented improvements with some form of topical magnesium which have led to conclusions around Magnesium and Skin Absorption (ie. Rheumatoid Arthritis + Psoriasis).
- There are many more studies that are needed to get better data on the absorption of magnesium transdermally.
Magnesium Deficiency - Signs & Symptoms
General: Anxiety, lethargy, weakness, agitation, depression, dysmenorrhea, hyperactivity, headache, irritability, dysacusis, low stress tolerance, loss of appetite, nausea, sleep disorders, impaired athletic performance.
Musculature: Muscle spasms, cramps in the soles of the feet, the legs, facial muscles, masticatory muscles, and calves, carpopedal spasm, back aches, neck pain, urinary spasms, magnesium deficiency tetany.
Nerves / CNS: Nervousness, increased sensitivity of NMDA receptors to excitatory neurotransmitters, nerves / CNS migraine, depression, nystagmus, paresthesia, poor memory, seizures, tremor, vertigo.
Gastrointestinal track: Constipation
Cardiovascular system: Risk of arrhythmias, supraventricular or ventricular arrhythmias, hypertension, coronary spasm, decreased myocardial pump function, digital sensitivity, torsade de pointes, death from heart disease.
Electrolytes: Hypokalaemia, hypocalcemia, retention of sodium.
Metabolism: Dyslipoproteinemia (increased blood triglycerides and cholesterol), decrease glucose tolerance, insulin resistance, increase risk of metabolic syndrome, disturbances of bone and vitamin D metabolism, resistance to PTH, low circulating levels of PTH, resistance to vitamin D, low levels circulating of 25 (0H) D, recurrence of calcium oxalate calculi.
Miscellaneous: Asthma, chronic fatigue syndrome, osteoporosis hypertension, altered glucose homeostasis.
Pregnancy: Pregnancy complications (e.g, miscarriages, premature labor, eclampsia).
A pilot study to determine the impact of transdermal magnesium treatment on serum levels and whole body CaMg ratios
Abstract: This study was designed to test whether transdermal application of a 31% magnesium chloride formulation could alter serum magnesium levels and whole body calcium/magnesium ratios. Patients were screened using a sophisticated hair analysis to determine pre-treatment levels of cellular magnesium and then again following the adopted protocol for product application. After 12 weeks’ treatment 89% of subjects raised their cellular magnesium levels with an average increase of 59.7% recorded. Equivalent results using oral supplementation have been reported over 9-24 months. Furthermore all patients showed an improvement in the calcium/magnesium balance ratio where the mean improvement seen over the trial period was 25.2%. Further observations indicated that 78% of patients also showed significant evidence of detoxification of heavy metals following treatment with Magnesium Oil. These results show that non self selected patients who exhibit variable levels of intracellular magnesium can improve this significantly and could therefore impact on many areas of general health and well being, including cardiovascular and skeletal fitness.
Discussion: This pilot study represents a major step forward in both our understanding of the superior absorption qualities of the magnesium source and also in providing evidence of the dramatic impact the mineral has on the body. Despite the relatively small sample size the results are significant. Data shows that around 74% of the population in general are likely to have sub optimal levels of magnesium and that this imbalance is unlikely to be improved by Government intervention in agricultural practices. It is clear that the concentrated chloride form of the mineral solution can significantly improve cellular magnesium in 89% of the patients.
The therapeutic value of magnesium chloride as a transdermal application reaches well beyond the potential of dietary magnesium as it effectively saturates the tissues, delivering high concentrations of magnesium to where it is needed most i.e. at the cellular level, directly into the circulation, entering the tissue cells immediately. This study confirms that transdermal application of magnesium in the chloride form will raise magnesium levels within the body over a relatively short period of time. Additionally, the relationship between calcium and magnesium is important for many health aspects (for example bone building) and raising magnesium levels has a beneficial effect on the body ratio between calcium and magnesium.
Again this study clearly demonstrated a beneficial effect in preventing calcium build up in body tissues meaning that the calcium could be correctly utilized. The results indicate that it is possible to increase cellular magnesium using a simple but effective transdermal compound which offers convenience, efficacy and long term improvement in the critical calcium/magnesium balance that has become so difficult to achieve in today’s modern environment.
Conclusion: Transdermal Application of Magnesium Chloride can improve Magnesium levels and raise overall levels in the body over a short period of time. Click here to read full article.
Magnesium status and exercise performance in athletes
Abstract: Accumulating evidence supports that athletes should pay extra attention to magnesium status as performing exercise is highly dependent on the regulation of magnesium homeostasis. This cation plays significant roles in promoting strength and cardiorespiratory function in healthy persons and athletes due to the key role of magnesium in the energetic metabolism, transmembrane transport, muscle contraction, hydration, oxidative stress and immune function. Surveys of athletes reveal that frequently, these individuals fail to consume a diet that contains adequate amounts of minerals, including magnesium. Individuals engaged in intense exercise should have a magnesium requirement 10 - 20% higher than the average sedentary person, because of increased losses through sweat and urine. Magnesium deficit is associated with muscle weakness, cramps, and structural damage of muscle fibers and organelles, probably as a result of increased production of reactive oxygen species, lipid and protein damage, and impaired cation homeostasis. This may result in substandard training and impaired performance. Regarding the effect of magnesium intake on muscle performance, few studies were conducted, especially in elite athletes. In this paper we are going to summarize some of our recent research in this area regarding the association between magnesium status, intracellular water and strength and power performance in elite combat sports and team sports athletes.
In these studies we have observed that magnesium deficit is associated with strength and power limitation, therefore affecting muscle performance. We might highlight the importance of evaluating magnesium status, not only because its deficit may compromise performance, but also because the practice of exercise with a magnesium deficit may render the athlete more susceptible to cellular damage.
Discussion: Magnesium Effects on Exercise performance Trying to understand the impact of magnesium intake on strength performance in elite male athletes from three different team sports (basketball, handball, and volley- ball), Santos and co-workers  concluded that magnesium was directly associated with different muscle performance indices, namely maximal isometric trunk flexion, trunk rotation, handgrip strength, jumping performance tests, and with isokinetic knee strength.
Those athletes were ingesting low magnesium diets and the Ca : Mg ratio was higher than the recommendation (recom- mendation: Ca : Mg < 2 ). Team sports such as court sports have complex demands, and it seems likely that strength and power are critical to individual's tasks and team performance.
Accumulating evidence supports the notion that magnesium plays significant roles in promoting both strength and cardiorespiratory function not only in high competition athletes but also in healthy people.
Final considerations We might highlight the importance of evaluating magnesium status, not only because its deficit may compromise performance, but also because the practice of exercise with a magnesium deficit may render the athlete more susceptible to cellular damage.
One may suggest that performance may be improved by adequate magnesium intakes.
Conclusion: Magnesium plays many important role in the body and anyone performing exercise should make sure they have adequate Magnesium levels. Click here to read full article.
The permeability of magnesium across the skin is enhanced by menthol cream
Abstract: Magnesium (Mg++) is a cofactor in hundreds of enzymatic reactions and is essential for many physiological functions, such as heart rhythm, vascular tone, nerve function, and muscle contraction and relaxation. Mg++ is also needed for bone formation, and it regulates calcium, potassium, and sodium homeostasis. The Mg++ demand is increased in, for example, pregnant women and athletes . Food is the main source of Mg++, but epidemiological studies indicate that half of the adult population consumes less than an adequate daily intake of 300-350 mg Mg++ from food .
Magnesium supplements given by mouth are commonly used to treat Mg++ deficiency. This route of administration is often well tolerated, but it may cause dose-dependent gastrointestinal symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea . Currently, there are commercially available Mg++-containing cream products that are applied topically on the surface of the skin. Skin, and especially the outermost layer of the skin, the stratum corneum, is one of the tightest barriers in the human body. Only very small and lipophilic molecules are able to penetrate across the skin. The permeability of Mg++ through the skin has not been established. It is assumed to depend on pathways related to appendages, glands, hair follicles, and the hydration state or integrity of the skin .
The permeability of the skin can be increased by the excipients termed permeation enhancers. Menthol is one compound with penetration-enhancing properties . Menthol is a natural fat-soluble terpene that can permeate the epidermis. Menthol enhances transdermal penetration of other substances through the outermost layer of the skin by interacting with intracellular lipids and therefore interfering with the lipid structure . It might also act as an enhancer via calcium ion interactions .
In this study, we investigated the extent of Mg++ permeation through porcine skin from creams with or without levomenthol by the Franz cell chamber model.
Discussion: Magnesium is an essential mineral and is involved in up to 80 % of metabolic functions in the human body . Based on scientific evidence, the EU has approved eleven health claims of Mg++, such as contributions to normal psychological functions, maintenance of the immune system, and normal muscle contraction .
In this study, we have shown that Mg++ can penetrate through porcine skin. As the permeability of porcine skin is quite similar to human skin , we assume that the data obtained here are also valid in human skin. The obtained Papp values of Mg++ across porcine skin are very low from the cream without menthol.
The use of permeation enhancers is needed to improve the permeability of Mg++ across the skin. We showed that levomenthol increased the permeation of Mg++ across porcine skin substantially. This is consistent with earlier data indicating that menthol has penetration enhancing properties [5, 6]. However, the increase in Mg++ skin permeability was not evident during the first hours in this experimental model, indicating that in clinical use Mg++-levomenthol cream should be applied on skin on regular basis to obtain any meaningful absorption.
There is an interest in topical Mg++ administration in dermatology as it reduces inflammation. Topical Mg++ is known to bind water, influence epidermal proliferation and differentiation, and enhance permeability barrier repair [15, 16]. Magnesium is used, e.g., in atopic dermatitis. Menthol is also used in skin conditions for centuries as it has antipruritic activity, pruritus is a common complaint in many skin diseases. Menthol is used as an antiseptic, as it has bacteriostatic, antiviral, and antifungal activity . Moreover, as topical menthol increases skin blood flow  and has anti-inflammatory activity , we assume Mg++-levomenthol combination could be a useful combination in skin diseases also
Conclusion: The data indicate that Mg++ can permeate through porcine skin and that co-administration with levomenthol enhanced the permeability substantially. Click here to read full article.
In vitro transdermal delivery of magnesium
Abstract: 5 different test solutions were prepared and permeability was tested on prepared pig ears
- In-use magnesium oil spray dosed at 10 minutes interval up to 1 hour (5 doses) 11 μl per dose
- Magnesium oil spray, 5 actuations (approx 1 ml)
- 31% w/v magnesium flakes in aloe vera juice + 0.2% w/v menthol
- Saturated solution of magnesium flakes in deionized water
- Deionized water, control
The greatest rate of permeation was observed with the current magnesium oil product, following an in-use protocol involving a sequence of finite doses, including massaging steps.
The second greatest rate was obtained with the same product, dosed ‘infinitely’ as 5 shots, ie approx 1 ml.
Next was the saturated solution of MgCl2 flakes in water.
Lastly, the reproduction Magnesium oil product based on Aloe instead of water and including menthol provided the lowest permeation.
The control, skin dosed with water, illustrated that a relatively low amount of endogenous magnesium leached from the skin tissue over the course of the experiment.
- Magnesium can permeate the skin from topically applied liquid solutions of MgCl2.
- The level of magnesium that can be delivered appears maximal using the current Magnesium Oil product, following the stated instructions.
- The act of massaging is key to achieving such a high dose.
- The relatively low permeation of magnesium from the saturated solution was not expected. This may indicate other entities within the Magnesium Oil formulation.
- The very low delivery of magnesium from 31% flakes in aloe vera plus menthol was unexpected. An explanation eludes us at present, although the presence of the components of Aloe vera could be promoting retention of magnesium within the skin.
- Magnesium can be absorbed through the skin and absorption began with immediate effect
- Action was accelerated with a short period of massaging the application area after Magnesium was applied.
- Certain additional ingredients (such as aloe vera) can block the magnesium absorption if used together while others (menthol or wintergreen) can enhance absorption