Epsom salt information and brand comparison

Can magnesium be absorbed into the body from an epsom salt bath?

I remember being surprised when I first heard epsom salt baths suggested as a good way to raise magnesium levels in the body. My favorite expert on myofascial pain, Paul Ingraham, has the same skepticism and outlines the lack of evidence for absorption.

The sole evidence I'm aware of that epsom salt baths raise magnesium (and sulfate) levels in the body comes from an experiment where 19 volunteers took 12-minute epsom salt baths. Most of them had a significant rise in blood levels of magnesium, and all of them showed a significant rise in sulfate levels. I'd be happier if there was more evidence, but this experiment is enough to convince me that epsom salt baths are probably beneficial.

How much should be used in a bath for raising magnesium/sulfate levels?

Judging by the experiment above, 1-1.5 pounds in a 15 gallon bathtub should be a good amount. Smaller amounts are probably still beneficial if you find larger amounts make the water unpleasant.

Heavy metal content

I'm not aware of evidence that the tiny amount of heavy metals that may be present in epsom salts are any kind of risk when used in baths. When taken internally (sometimes done for irregular heartbeats or as a laxative), it'd be ideal to choose a brand that makes their heavy metal testing public. Unfortunately, all of the brands I've found that have heavy metal analyses don't rate their products for internal use. If you know of a brand that does, please let me know in the comments.

Cheap bulk sources

These are the cheapest bulk sources I've found. You may be able to find even cheaper sources locally.

Liberty Natural Epsom Salt
Notes:
  • For external use only
  • Made in the US
  • Has a Certificate of Analysis with arsenic, heavy metals (as lead), iron, and selenium levels.
Online-ordering prices:

$0.50/lb (without including shipping, see here for shipping details) directly from Liberty Naturals.

SaltWorks Ultra Epsom Salt
Notes:
  • For external use only
  • Made in China, assembled in the US
  • Data sheet / chemical analysis available showing iron and heavy metals (as lead) levels. It also includes Kosher certification, a GMO-free declaration, and microbial testing for Salmonella, Listeria, E. coli, and Staph aureus.
  • You can choose a grain size (extra fine, fine, medium, or coarse)
Online-ordering prices:

$0.86/lb (when purchasing the giant 50lb package) with free shipping directly from SaltWorks. You can get it down to $0.58/lb if you've got room for 2000 pounds of it :)

Other brands

Aaron Brands Epsom Salt
Notes:
  • Rated for internal use
  • Made and assembled in the US
Online-ordering prices:

$0.72/lb from Walmart either online or in stores.

CVS Epsom Salt
Notes:
  • Rated for internal use
  • Unknown country of origin
Online-ordering prices:

$1.00/lb from CVS either online or in stores.

Dr. Teal's Epsom Salt Soaking Solution
Notes:
  • Rated for internal use (only for the plain version)
  • Made in the US
Online-ordering prices:

$0.83/lb from Walmart either online or in stores.

Kroger/King Soopers Store-Brand Epsom Salt
Notes:
  • Rated for internal use
  • Unknown country of origin
Online-ordering prices:

Not available online, but you can check product availability using the Kroger web site.

Morton Natural Epsom Salt (Plain)
Notes:
  • Rated for internal use
  • Unknown country of origin
Online-ordering prices:

$2.76/lb from Amazon. It's probably closer to $1/lb if you can find it locally.

Mountain Rose Herbs Epsom Salt
Notes:
Online-ordering prices:

$3.21/lb directly from Mountain Rose Herbs.

San Francisco Salt Company Epsoak Epsom Salt (Technical Grade)
Notes:
  • For external use only
  • Made in the US
  • Data sheet / chemical analysis available showing arsenic, iron, general heavy metals, and selenium content. It also declares it GMO-free, which isn't surprising for epsom salt.
Online-ordering prices:

$1.52/lb (when purchasing the largest package) directly from San Francisco Salt Company.

San Francisco Salt Company Epsom Salt (USP Grade)
Notes:
  • For external use only
  • Made in the US
  • Data sheet / chemical analysis available showing arsenic, iron, general heavy metals, and selenium content. It also includes Kosher certification and a GMO-free declaration.
Online-ordering prices:

$1.75/lb (when purchasing the largest package) directly from San Francisco Salt Company.

Simply Right / Member's Mark (Sam's Club Store-Brand) Epsom Salt
Notes:
  • Rated for internal use
  • Made in the US
Online-ordering prices:

Somewhat expensive online, the lowest price I've found is $2.30/lb (with shipping) from Amazon. It's probably much cheaper if you have a local Sam's Club membership (you can check availability of the product online).

Swan Epsom Salt
Notes:
  • Rated for internal use
  • Unknown country of origin
Online-ordering prices:

Not really worth buying online, the lowest price I've found is $3.21/lb from Amazon. It's probably around $1-$2/lb when purchasing locally.

Walgreens Store-Brand Epsom Salt
Notes:
  • Rated for internal use
  • Unknown country of origin
Online-ordering prices:

Not available online, but you can check local availability on Walgreens.com.

White Mountain Epsom Salt
Notes:
  • Rated for internal use
  • Unknown country of origin
Online-ordering prices:

Not really worth buying online, the lowest price I've found is $3.00/lb from Amazon. It's probably much cheaper locally.


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