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Magnesium Flakes vs. Epsom Salts: What's the difference?

Magnesium flakes and epsom salts are both often used to relax after a long day. What is in these products that makes them so relaxing? Discover the difference between bath salts and magnesium flakes, and learn what they do to help you wind down.

What Do Epsom Salts Do?

Epsom salts are a popular product when it comes to relaxing in the bathtub. Epsom salt is a naturally occurring mineral salt, a compound of magnesium and sulfate. The name refers to the town located outside of London, where the salt was discovered. These salts contain a vital mineral your body needs: many people take magnesium for muscle healing thanks to its many properties. So you can see why soaking in a bath of it would help you wind down while caring for your muscles. 

Benefits of Magnesium

The benefits of magnesium include helping you to drift off to sleep and aiding muscle function. You could encourage yourself to experience these benefits with magnesium supplements or including it in your diet. These benefits include:

  1. Helping you sleep
  2. Boosting energy levels naturally
  3. Promoting exercise recovery
  4. Maintaining heart health
  5. Improving mood
  6. Ease of supplementation

Taking magnesium for sleep in a bath form is a popular way to relax before sleep as well as encourage these benefits. Because magnesium is available in these salts and flakes, it means encouraging your intake is hassle-free. Taking a bath to relax, whilst supporting magnesium levels (therefore helping to avoid magnesium deficiency), is an easy pill-free alternative to traditional supplementation.

How Epsom Salts & Magnesium Flakes Differ

When it comes to taking a full body soak, many of us enjoy using bath salts – but do we know exactly what we’re soaking in? The most popular bathing salts are Epsom Salts and Magnesium Flakes. Both of these bathing salts contain magnesium compounds – yet in different forms. The main difference between the two is due to the form of magnesium in them.

Forms of Magnesium

Magnesium is available in many different forms.

Magnesium chloride vs magnesium sulphate

Bath salts aren’t like table salt (which is sodium chloride)- they are made of magnesium sulphate. These salts are sourced either from naturally occurring springs, or are created from synthetic materials. So, what do epsom salts do? Whilst the benefits of magnesium include helping you sleep and relaxing your muscles, taking a bath with these salts could help you wind down. 

Magnesium Flakes are a form of magnesium called magnesium chloride. This is made from a magnesium chloride solution which has been heated up then cooled down to create a hard sheet of highly-concentrated magnesium chloride. That sheet is then broken into small pieces to create the ‘flakes’.

Purity

What do epsom salts do, and how pure are they? Well, Epsom Salts are one of the most common forms of magnesium. The vast majority is synthetically manufactured for the mass market. Epsom Salts can be sourced naturally from open water such as the Great Lakes, Dead Sea or naturally occurring springs. However, these sources can be exposed to man-made pollutants and heavy metals which can contaminate the resulting crystals. These pollutants include aluminium and mercury, which can have a negative effect on health if they’re allowed to build-up over time.

Meanwhile, magnesium chloride is a naturally occurring compound which can be mined from ancient sea beds or in open-water sources, like Dead Sea salt.

BetterYou Magnesium Flakes only use magnesium chloride that is mined from a rich seam one mile below the Zechstein sea in Northern Holland. This source of Zechstein magnesium has been protected and purified for over 250 million years and is the richest and most naturally pure source known.

“As magnesium is well absorbed through the skin, adding some flakes into your bath, or a foot bath, is a great way to top up your levels. The options are Epsom Salts (sulphate) or Magnesium Flakes (chloride), both of which are largely associated with wellbeing and muscle recovery. Both supplements have proven benefits, however research suggests that Magnesium Chloride is the more efficient choice since it has a broader spread of benefits and has a lower potential for toxicity.” – Kim Pearson, Nutritionist and Weight Loss Specialist.

Bioavailability

What do epsom salts do, and what do magnesium flakes do, in terms of bioavailability? While both compounds contain a similar level of elemental magnesium, a key difference between magnesium chloride (flakes) and magnesium sulphate (salts) is the rate of absorption within the body. 

Because it is wholly soluble, magnesium chloride can efficiently elevate cellular magnesium levels when exposed to the skin, helping to avoid deficiency.

The science - This high solubility is vital to allow the compounds to break their bonds and travel into the pores, through the dermal layers and into the bloodstream. Ultimately, magnesium chloride can be more easily absorbed and utilised by the body, when compared to using Epsom Salts.

Absorption Testing

We work closely with Cardiff University to carry out transdermal magnesium absorption research, providing absolute confidence in the efficacy of our Magnesium Flakes. Our continuation of research in this field has led us to work with St Mark's Hospital, London, for the world's first clinical study investigating transdermal magnesium as an alternative to IV infusions.

Magnesium Flakes vs Epsom Salts: the Verdict

Almost half of us (42%) are taking a relaxing bath at least once a week. While the appearance and application may be similar, the ‘unseen’ difference in absorption between Magnesium Flakes vs Epsom Salts is what really sets these two compounds apart.

Add a cup of our Magnesium Flakes to your next bath, relax for 20 minutes and discover the benefits of transdermal magnesium supplementation. 

You can also make the most of other forms of hassle-free magnesium. These include magnesium sprays and magnesium creams. With BetterYou’s pill-free formulas, encouraging your levels is easier than ever. 

Magnesium Flakes
BetterYou Magnesium Flakes can be added to your bath to help soothe tired and aching muscles...

£3.95

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Supplementing with BetterYou

At BetterYou, we specialise in pill-free nutritional supplements. With vitamin D supplements to support bone health, iron supplements for an energy boost, and magnesium oil for relaxation encourage a healthy lifestyle today.

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