A True Miracle Mineral – Magnesium

Thrive-JeffBell_Close_Cropped_Headshot_10-29-2013Every once I a while I find out about a natural health protocol that is truly a breakthrough.  Magnesium is such a find.  It turns out that effectively boosting bioavailable magnesium levels for most of us provides dramatic health benefits.  In fact, it is fair to say that some of the benefits go beyond dramatic into the realm of astonishing.

Bioavailable Magnesium:
First let’s talk about what is meant by bioavailable.  Hint – taking oral magnesium supplements, in no matter what form is not going to do it.  The problem there is that most magnesium supplements are either destroyed by the digestive system, or are simply not in a form that can be absorbed and utilized.  Furthermore, magnesium in any oral form is a powerful laxative.  So if you were to take enough magnesium to really do any good for the rest of your body you would be a perpetual passenger on the proverbial “porcelain bus”.

And even were you able to tolerate therapeutic levels of magnesium, studies indicate that for significant absorption to occur, the magnesium needs to remain in the intestinal tract for at least 12 hours.  This is unlikely, especially given the laxative effect of oral forms of magnesium.

For the magnesium to do any real good it must have a way to get into the body, and then it must have a way to get into the blood stream and into the cells.  Magnesium is crucial to the proper functioning of the mitochondria in the cells, which is where the body’s energy is generated.  There is a complex bit of biochemical magic that happens in the mitochondria of our cells, called the “Krebs cycle”, and which is the means by which all of the energy that the body uses is produced.

Without magnesium the Krebs cycle cannot take place.  With insufficient magnesium the Krebs cycle is severely compromised and the body’s energy level is significantly reduced.

So bioavailable magnesium is magnesium that must be able to get into the body, into the blood stream and then into the cells in a form that can be used by the mitochondria to produce our life energy.  Oral magnesium is simply not a viable way.

That leaves 2 practical alternatives:  One is intravenous magnesium therapy and what is known as “transdermal magnesium therapy”.  In more and more areas of emergency medicine intravenous magnesium therapy is being used, often with great results.  (Frequently faster, safer and more effective than pharmaceuticals.)

Fortunately, for ongoing health and for improving most chronic conditions where magnesium is likely to be effective, intravenous therapy is not needed.  Instead, “transdermal magnesium therapy” seems to be the perfect solution.

What Is Transdermal Magnesium Therapy?
Transdermal Magnesium Therapy is simply applying magnesium in a bioavailable form, to the skin where it is absorbed and passed through the skin and into the blood stream.  This is so simple that anyone can do it.  And yet, it can be just as effective as intravenous magnesium therapy, without the discomfort and added costs.

There are a number of transdermal magnesium therapy methods.  Therapeutic magnesium intended for transdermal use is available in several forms, including:

Magnesium Oil

Magnesium Gel

Magnesium Lotion

Magnesium Bath Flakes

Magnesium Oil is a somewhat questionable name, as magnesium is not an oil.  It is a metal.  However, it can be suspended in an oil-like liquid, which is then sprayed on the skin or even under the tongue, and then absorbed into the body. (Caution, it tastes pretty bad!) Avoid spraying it on really sensitive areas of the skin, and never in your eyes. I spray is over a large area of my body, such as my abdominal area, or my legs. Then you can let it soak in for about 20 minutes and wipe off the excess, or leave it on. If left on, it may form a slight crustiness o the skin surface, but that easily showers or washes off. I find it convenient to apply it before bed and then just leave it alone.

In each of these forms magnesium is present in the form of a mineral salt: magnesium chloride, which the body can readily utilize. This is not to be confused with magnesium sulfate, or “Epsom Salts”, which are not nearly as effective for Transdermal Magnesium Therapy.

The magnesium gel is generally applied to a large area of the skin, and left there for 20 minutes or longer so that it can be absorbed.  After approximately 20 minutes some people wipe off the un-absorbed excess.  Others leave it on since it can’t really hurt anything.  (I leave it on.)

The magnesium lotion is rubbed into one or more areas of the skin and left to be absorbed.

The magnesium bath flakes, as the name implies are dissolved in warm water for either a whole body bath, or for a foot bath.  Again, 20 minutes seems to be the optimal submersion time.  If you do this, be sure to use warm water that is as free of chlorine, fluoride and other toxins as possible.

What Are Some Of The Conditions Improved By Magnesium Therapy?
Two of the most dramatic health areas where magnesium therapy has proven to be highly effective are normalizing high blood pressure and both preventing cancer and disrupting the growth of cancers.  (I’m trying to steer clear of the FDA so I am not using the “cure” word in conjunction with cancer, but in some cases the results are so dramatic that it is tempting.)

Here is a partial list of health issues and areas where magnesium therapy has been shown to be effective, courtesy of Dr. Mark Sircus, Ac., OMD, (a word renowned expert on Transdermal Medicine and on Magnesium Therapy):

  • Aids in hypertension, (high blood pressure)
  • Arthritis relief
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Stroke prevention
  • Aids in stroke recovery
  • Insomnia
  • Cardiac disease, including prevention
  • Memory impairment
  • Overall energy production
  • Detoxification and heavy metal excretion
  • Neurological balance
  • Emotional balance
  • Insulin resistance
  • Asthma
  • Cystitis
  • PMS and menstrual cramps
  • Tooth decay
  • Blood vessel spasms
  • Muscle spasms
  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Fatigue
  • Premature aging

The full list is considerably longer, but this is a good start.

In Summary:
Most of us are deficient in magnesium, which sets up for many chronic health conditions, some of which are serious. Oral magnesium supplementation is almost never practical or effective.  The answer for most of us is Transdermal Magnesium Therapy.

The best source I have found for Transdermal Magnesium Therapy products is Ancient Minerals.  The primary products are:

Magnesium Oil, which can be sprayed on the skin, or in smaller quantities for more immediate effect, sprayed under the tongue.  (Caution, it tastes pretty bad!)  Avoid spraying it on really sensitive areas of the skin, and never in your eyes.  Leave it on for approximately 20 minutes then wipe off the excess.  No harm is caused by leaving the excess on and you may absorb slightly more – a good thing!

Magnesium Gel, which can be rubbed on the skin.  Again, avoid highly sensitive areas of the skin.  This also should be left on for 20 minutes or more.

Magnesium Lotion, which can be rubbed on the skin.  This is more gentle than either Magnesium Oil or the Magnesium Gel, and is less likely to cause irritation.  This is especially recommended for young children.  (In some cases children who have side-effects from vaccines may benefit from transdermal Magnesium Therapy in the form of Magnesium Lotion.)

Magnesium Bath Flakes, which can be used for a foot bath or for a whole body bath.  Put a cup or up to 3 cups in the cleanest purest warm water you can get and use as a foot bath.  Soak for approximately 20 minutes.  This is a great detox, magnesium booster and calming therapy for improving sleep.  Magnesium Bath Flakes also work great for a whole body bath.  For a whole body bath, I use approximately a little over 1 ½ pounds of the bath flakes.   for a great footbath, I bought a large ceramic planter that I verified has lead-free glaze and that does not have a hole drilled in the bottom.  This makes a very comfortable, safe foot bath.  Because it is ceramic, it holds the heat well and so the water stays warm for the full 20 minutes.  If you try this, please be sure that the glaze is lead-free and that it does not include other known toxins.

Here are links for products and more information:

Ancient Minerals Magnesium Oil in 8 ounce sprayer and in 64 ounce bulk;

Ancient Minerals Magnesium Chloride Bath Salts in 1.65 lbs, 6.5 lbs, and 32 lbs packaging;

Ancient Minerals Magnesium Gel in 8 ounce tubes and in 64 ounce dispensers; (This works like the Magnesium Oil and the Magnesium Lotion, but may be more convenient in some circumstances.)

All Ancient Minerals Magnesium Products;

Overview of all Magnesium Supplements and their absorption rates;

Need more magnesium? Ten Signs To Watch For;

Transdermal Magnesium Benefits

In the interests of transparency and full-disclosure I want to let you know that MyHealthOptimizer.com gets a small referral fee on your purchases if you use any of the above links.  These modest funds go towards supporting the ongoing research and free publishing that this web site is all about.

Please feel free to post your comments, questions, suggestions, or… in the comments area below.

To your great health!

Jeff Bell


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  1. Julia
    Posted May 18, 2012 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

    Can’t Mg chelate mercury? I just started the GAPS diet and got severe constipation so I’m trying a little bit of Mg, but I don’t want to take too much because I read it can leach out the mercury in your amalgams into your body tissues because it is such an extremely strong mercury chelater.

    • Jeff Bell
      Posted May 19, 2012 at 12:06 am | Permalink

      Great question: Yes, magnesium can chelate mercury. However, if you have mercury fillings that are deterioriated or deteriorating to the point where such short-term exposure to magnesium can leach significant amounts of the mercury out of the amalgams, you likely need to consider getting those amalgams removed. If you do consider that, please be sure that you consult someone who really kows what they are doing and knows how to do it right. Otherwise the risks that you will make yourself much sicker, and possibly even permanently damage your health are high. I got mine removed in the mid 1990s and had no trouble whatsoever. But lots of others people have had terrible experiences with this. Nonetheless, leaving them in is not safe, either.

      In the meantime, if you use transdermal magnesium, the risks are much lower. I would combine that with taking a significant amount of broken cell wall chlorella. That will bind to free mercury and help safely escort it out of the body. I would also recommend some of the organic sulfur that we carry. (There are posts about it in several places on this site.) It provides quite a bit of protection against various toxins, especially while they are being purged from the body. The chlorella must be from a good, clean safe source. Start with a small amoutn and build up. I would pair this with eating organic cilantro. The two work synergistically to get toxins out of the body.

      You might also consider a Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis to identify exactly what toxins you are dealing with and at what levels. You can find more about that on this site.

      You may also want to consider liposomal glutathione to offset the oxidative stress that the mercury might otherwise cause. I am offering the liposoomal glutathione from LivOn Labs after testing a number of such products. It is a winner.

      As far as the GAPS diet goes, I have never tried it, and from what I know about it, I am not likley to try it. I think there are better and more healthy ways to achieve the results. For example, I would recommend that you read the work of Elizabeth Lipsky. Consider getting her most recent revision of her terrific book: “Digestive Wellness”. It is one of th every best resources I know of in this crucial area of health. In fact, I consider it one of the most important health books I have ever read.

      You might also want to take advantage of my offer of a complimentary health consult session. I still have some available, at least until my calendar no longer permits me to offer these sessions.

      To yuor great health,

      Jeff Bell

    Posted March 12, 2014 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

    My father had a stroke about month and a half ago, his speech and his right side is taken. can I massage his arm and leg to help him in faster recovery. and can I expect any progress from it. any advice would be helpful. thanks

    • Jeff Bell
      Posted March 16, 2014 at 10:05 am | Permalink

      Hi Oliver,

      I’m sorry that your father suffered a stroke. That is a lot to deal with. To make really specific recommendations I would have to know more. Besides dealing with symptoms and promoting recovery, I would want to look into what are the factors that most likely led up to the stroke and who can they be changed so that future strokes are not so likely. There are measures to consider, but I need the background to know which measures to recommend. If you want some help with this, then please go to my Get Started link on the web site and fill in the information there. I will then get back to you with some help.

      To your great health!

      Jeff Bell

  3. Luis Tovar
    Posted January 10, 2015 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

    Have you tried magnesium oil from Dr. Barbara Hendel’s? It seems they get the magnesium oil from the same source in the Netherlands ( Zechstein Sea) as Ancient Minerals. I use it and works great….I call it the “Miracle Oil”

    thanks for your awesome research

    • Jeff Bell
      Posted April 7, 2015 at 12:36 am | Permalink

      Hi Luis,

      I have not tried Dr. Barbara Hendel’s magnesium oil. Do you think it is better than the magnesium oil from Ancient Minerals? Is it significantly less expensive?

      By the way, Dr. Carolyn Dean has a magnesium product called “ReMag” that I am going to try. I do not plan to substitute it for the Ancient Minerals magnesium gel that I use right now. I am planning to try using both. They work differently and should have different benefits that are synergistic.


  4. Posted October 24, 2015 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

    I love awesome soul music releases. All good hot music and you can subscribe on artist!

    • Jeff Bell
      Posted November 2, 2015 at 11:09 pm | Permalink


      I am not sure why you posted a comment about music under my article about how you can use Magnesium to improve your health. I love music, too. But I am really trying to keep some organization to this web site so that people can easily find the often life-changing information they are looking for. So I ask you to please respect that. Thanks!

      Jeff Bell

  5. Jay
    Posted February 11, 2016 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    Hello! I have been using (homemade) magnesium lotion for about a week. I rub it on my legs and arms and torso before I go to bed. Can introducing the magnesium to the body in this fashion cause leg twitching? I did not have the twitching before using the lotion. Just wondering if my body is soaking it up and trying to jump back into high gear twitch by twitch! (not sure that it matters, but I also take sublingual B12 to correct deficiency, vitamin C, L-Theamine, and use a sun lamp to correct Vitamin D deficiency). Thanks!

    • Jeff Bell
      Posted February 11, 2016 at 9:32 am | Permalink

      Hi Jay,

      That is a really good question. Unfortunately, I cannot give you a definitive answer because I don’t have enough information about your overall biochemistry, and I don’t know how you are making your magnesium lotion and what is in it. I don’t think having leg twitching is a good thing. So it is probably important to track down and correct the cause. I recommend that you stop the use of the magnesium lotion for a week or so and see if the leg twitching stops occurring. If it does, then try using the magnesium gel from ancient minerals to see if that causes it to return.

      In other words, you need to become a bit of a health detective so you can track down the cause and correct it.

      In case you want some help with this, I do offer consultations. It can get complicated.

      To your great health!

      Jeff Bell

      • Jay
        Posted February 11, 2016 at 10:37 am | Permalink

        Thank you very much for the prompt response, Jeff! The magnesium lotion consists of epsom salt dissolved in hot water and added to commerical shea butter body lotion. Nothing high tech here! My whole leg doesn’t twitch. Just small parts here and there of the calf. I will stop using the lotion for a few nights and see what happens. Like I said, I’m hopeful my B12 repair is taking place and I’m feeling “healing pains”. Thanks, again! : )

  6. Sally
    Posted May 15, 2016 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    just read your really helpful article. I have been taking magnesium supplements for years and have just been told I am Mag. deficient! Having just read your article, I now know why – what a revelation! Have tried soaking my feet but like Jay, (see above) found that my lower legs started to twitch and they felt really jangly and I could not wait to stop the treatment after the stipulated 20 minutes. Am now about to try interdermal as you suggest and hope that this works. I suffer from Restless Leg Syndrome! Sally

    • Jeff Bell
      Posted October 9, 2016 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

      Hi Sally,

      First, sorry to take so long to reply. We had a technical problem which prevented me from getting the usual notices for pending questions and comments. I apologize for that.

      The transdermal method for boosting magnesium is a great way to go.

      For some of us, I also like using the only oral magnesium product I have ever found that allows you to get enough magnesium into your body without causing digestive tract upset. I’m referring to a product formulated by Dr. Carloyn Dean, called ReMag. It is excellent. I use both transdermal and the ReMag.

      By the way, for those dealing with cancer, who really need to boost their magnesium levels to the maximum, I highly recommend using both methods every day.

      If you google ReMag you can find it, since I do not carry it. You can only buy it directly from the manufacturer.

      To your great health!

      Jeff Bell

  7. Jack Lithgoe
    Posted August 2, 2016 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    Since DMSO and MSM are near miracles in their own right, but are also carriers, couldn’t they be utilized in a solution that would include another “near miracle” mineral, Magnesium?
    Enjoying your blog.. Your story of your back injury decades ago and conquering sciatic gives me hope, although I’m disappointed in learning about things to do almost immediately after an injury. Didn’t know you then! My worst, but constant friend for nearly 3 years has been, lumbar pain, sciatica and hip and knee pain. I purchased DMSO, but haven’t developed the confidence to use it yet. Perhaps I’ll get some MSM and glassware for a trial.
    I would appreciate your observation on including Magnesium oil in the mix.
    Jack Lithgoe
    Baton Rouge

    • Jeff Bell
      Posted August 14, 2016 at 11:35 am | Permalink


      Thanks for your excellent question. First, a little clarification: While DMSO can act as a “carrier”, I don’t think it is accurate to call sulfur in the form of MSM as a carrier. The reason is that the sulfur in MSM tends to form very strong molecular bonds, which do not easily break once formed. So anything it combines with to potentially “carrier” it will tend to stay combined, and therefore not biologically available.

      Further, although DMSO is a carrier, I am very careful about what I allow it to carry. Also, it has healing properties in its own right, so often it does what is needed on its own, and without anything being added. Since you are bypassing the normal filters and protections when you apply DMSO to the skin, I am very conservative about what I will mix with it. It will carry anything with a molecular weight of 1,000 or less right through the skin and into the body.

      So far, I only use DMSO in as pure a form as I can get, sometimes mixed with organic sulfur in the form of MSM. That’s it.

      I would never recommend mixing magnesium with it. I know it is available in some products mixed with magnesium and all sorts of things. I do not recommend that, not at all.

      If you want to raise the magnesium level, (probably a wise move for most of us), I would either use an oral product called: ReMag that Dr. Carolyn Dean created, or use the transdermal magnesium chloride formulas that get magnesium into the body through the skin. I actually use both methods because they both work slightly differently. Neither has any significant risk of increasing the magnesium levels above the healthy point.

      If you use the Search box on this site and enter magnesium you will find links to the transdermal magnesium products that I recommend most.

      To your great health!


  8. MaryAnn
    Posted March 11, 2017 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

    Can you tell me if I should use diatomateous earth as a daily detox while also using transdermal magnesium oil ?
    Thank you

    • Jeff Bell
      Posted February 5, 2018 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

      Hi MaryAnn,

      I am sorry for the long delay in replying and answering your question. There was a problem with an upgrade to this web site that prevented me from seeing a number of the comments and questions. Again, I apologize.

      In case you are still wondering, here is my answer: I am not in favor of using diatomaceous earth as any type of health aid. I know quite a few people recommend it. I disagree with them. Here’s why: If you look at most diatomaceous earth under a microscope you can see that the particles that make it up have very sharp edges. In fact, diatomaceous earth is often used to kill bed bugs and other pest insects. They walk through it and it gets into their respiratory pores and essentially shreds their insides. Yuck! So ai am not convinced that for us to either breath it or ingest it does not cause lots of micro-tears and cuts inside us. That does not sound good.

      I think there are better ways to detox. Bentonite clay be one to consider. I will come back here in a day or so and post a link to a Bentonite clay that I think is good. There are many other ways to detox, as well. However, since yu mention diatomaceous earth, it seems you are looking for an internal detox-cleanse. So I would start with the Bentonite clay.

      To your great health!


  9. kathy Parker
    Posted May 10, 2017 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    I found the Remag gave me a metal taste in my mouth so am now using is on my skin. I read through your thread and don’t see how much magnesium people need to use on the skin to get enough into the bloodstream. Can you advise?

    • Jeff Bell
      Posted February 5, 2018 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

      Hi Kathy,

      Please forgive the long delay in replying. We had a problem with a web site update that essentially kept the comments from working properly. Let me go ahead and answer your question in case you still are wondering. Also, maybe my answer will help others.

      First off, you should not have any metallic taste in your mouth from using the ReMag. If you do, then you either have a high level of metal toxicity in your body, and the ReMag is just “triggering” it, or your body’s detox pathways are not functioning as they should. That does not mean that the ReMag is either creating the problem, nor worsening it. Rather, it is calling attention to an existing problem that you should address. A p;lace to start might be to get a Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis so you can see what metals may be present in unhealthy levels and what the other trace mineral ratios are. In case you want to pursue that, here is a link to my blog post about Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis and how to get one done.

      Back to your original question: I am not sure how much of the ReMag to use if you apply it topically. I have never used it that way, myself. Nor have any of my clients that I know of. Magnesium that is formulated for topical use is generally in a very different form. Typical forms are “magnesium bath salts”, “magnesium gel” or so-called “magnesium oil”. Besides being absorbed readily through the skin, these forms have the advantage of not being particularly dose-sensitive. In other words, you need not be very precise in terms of the amount you. You can slather on the oil or the gel and just leave it on for about 30 minutes and then wipe off the excess with a warm, wet washcloth and all is well. I like to use it on my lower legs. That seems to work really well. Or you can put about 2 cups of the magnesium bath flakes, in a warm bathtub filled with warm, well-filtered water and soak for 15 to 20 minutes or so.

      The topical magnesium forms I mentioned above are all essentially magnesium chloride. This is NOT to be confused with Epsom Salt, which is magnesium sulfate and which I do not recommend. Here is a link to a blog post about these other forms of magnesium in case you want to try them: http://myhealthoptimizer.com/a-true-miracle-mineral-magnesium/

      To your great health!

      Jeff Bell

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