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HOMEMEDICINEMagnesiumTransdermalTransdermal Administration

Combining Oral with Transdermal Magnesium

Published on December 8, 2009

Transdermal magnesium massage

One of the most luxurious medical treatments on earth is to receive magnesium massages on a consistent basis. Having at least an ounce of what is called magnesium oil rubbed all over ones body by either a trained or even untrained massage therapist is simply heavenly. One can also do this oneself meaning cover ones body all over with the magnesium oil like one would sunscreen and go out in the sun and have some fun.

Another method of administration is pouring magnesium chloride into ones bath at high concentrations and soak in a hot tub, perhaps with a cup of sodium bicarbonate in it. On page 201 of my Transdermal Magnesium Therapy book I recommend 2-8 oz (56,6 -226,4 g) of Magnesium Oil for a full body bath (ca 100liter) These initial recommendations for baths were very low. My excuse is the inexperience of the early days of transdermal magnesium therapy and also that here in Brazil we don’t have a bathtub so my experience has been with body spraying and magnesium massage. I am now recommending much higher dosages for baths ranging anywhere from 2 to 4 pounds to even six pounds for professional use in clinics and spas.

In the early days when a gallon of oil was over 100 dollars even eight ounces sounded expensive to many people. Now you can buy flakes of high quality (low heavy metal profile) in quantity and use three pounds (which is equivalent to a gallon of oil) in an adult bath for approximately 15 dollars.[1] Small baths for autistic and other children with serious problems would probably be about half that for a full strength bath.

I am not talking about a nice hot magnesium bath for simple relaxation and general body tonification but professional baths intended for strong therapeutic effect. The % of magnesium in the bath under my old recommendations came only to 45-180 mg/l magnesium. When you discover that open seawater has a content of 1300 mg/l magnesium we see that our early recommendations were way to low. The driving force behind transdermal intake is the concentration gradient.

Transdermal magnesium bath on a bathtub

The concentration of magnesium in the pure magnesium oil is about 80,000 mg/l and when you apply that directly on the skin, intake rate is high. But in the case of a bath application my new recommendation needs to be brought up to somewhere between 1500 and 5000 mg/l magnesium (1 to 4 times the sea concentration). Dead Sea therapy[2] has a concentration of up to 40,000 mg/l magnesium and people bathe every day in these waters. Fick’s Law of Membrane Permeability says that the amount of any solute (magnesium) that will be absorbed is directly dependent upon the area of contact, the concentration of the solution and the time that the solute is in contact with the membrane.[3]

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So we are talking about setting the therapeutic level of magnesium chloride concentrations in baths much higher and recommend between 2 and 4 pounds in an average bath. Physical therapists and dermatologists, sport therapists, spas and other clinics will want to be using cost affective bath flakes as compared to ready made magnesium oil to achieve higher concentrations. Shipping costs are less also because the water has been taken out of the oil to make the flakes. The quality of the flakes are an important factor for excess heavy metal ions will also flow in with the magnesium thus my recommendation for Ancient Mineral products that come from 250 million year old deposits.

A third avenue of administration is to simply drink magnesium chloride in ones water or juice. The best way is to combine one of the transdermal routes with oral[4] for concentrated doses that achieve maximum therapeutic effect. Magnesium is important and desperately needed because it is so terribly deficient in people that even at low concentrations people have felt results. But when we are practicing medicine of whatever kind we are looking for dramatic shifts in peoples’ conditions. Below we will have a penetrating discussion about doses and therapeutic effect but the basic idea, when using concentrated nutritional medicines like magnesium chloride, iodine and sodium bicarbonate is to take doses up to maximum levels possible.

A woman drinking magnesium oil diluted in water

Each spray of Magnesium Oil contains approximately 18 milligrams of elemental magnesium.[5] An ounce would contain just over 3,300 mg. Five sprays in a glass of water would thus be almost 100 milligrams.[6]

Three to five to even ten sprays of magnesium chloride in a glass of pure water or juice is an excellent way to take magnesium internally. It assists digestion, counteracts excess acidity in the stomach, and delivers magnesium swiftly into the bloodstream for distribution to all the cells of the body. Minerals like magnesium in ionic liquid form are vastly superior to pill forms. Much more magnesium will get absorbed and absorption will not depend on hydrochloric acid levels.

Several years ago I told the story of a retired pediatrician Dr. Herbert Mansmann Jr., director of the Magenesium Research Lab who was a diabetic with severe peripheral neuropathy. He was able to reverse the neuropathy and nerve degeneration with a year of using oral magnesium preparations at very high doses. “For example it took me 6 tabs of each of the following every 4 hours, Maginex, MgOxide, Mag-Tab SR and Magonate to get in positive Mg balance. I tell people this not to scare them, but to illustrate how much I needed to saturate myself. Most will only need 10% of this amount (still about three grams). I was doing an experiment on myself to see if it helped my diabetic neuropathy. It worked so I did it for one year, and I have had significant nerve regeneration.”[7]

He was taking 20 grams a day but that was because he also had what is called magnesium wasting disease. He thought that about three grams would be sufficient for people without that disorder. When we are going for therapeutic effect with serious disorders like cancer or even autism we want to emulate Dr. Mansmann’s dosage levels.

There are over 200 published clinical studies documenting the need for magnesium and many examples of miraculous “cures” from the use of this common mineral. Yet DAN (Defeat Autism Now) doctors underestimate autistic children’s needs recommending only 50 mgs twice a day in oral form even though children with gut problems can absorb only small percentages through their intestines. The entire autism community needs to be acutely aware that its present dependency on oral magnesium supplementation is responsible for a sizable cause of less then excellent results from chelation. A complete changeover to transdermal/topical approaches to magnesium supplementation is called for with these children because their guts are seriously compromised meaning they cannot absorb magnesium well through oral consumption. Fifty milligrams twice a day is way too low. There is a huge difference between supplementing magnesium  and using magnesium chloride as a medicine to effect real and direct changes in overall cell physiology.

Turning Paracelsus on his Head

So what do we do in the middle of this mess? We turn medicine’s most basic principles upside down. Below is the very beginning of a chapter I published about two years ago called Beyond Paracelsus.[8] It describes the very heart of pharmaceutical pharmacology. As you read this remember that we are going to create a philosophy and practice of medicine exactly 180 degrees to the opposite. This is no small subject and it would be helpful to understand prerequisite information like the Science of Low Doses meaning that in reality we find that poisons poison people even at ultra low doses. That is what poisons in general do – they poison people, even in minuscule amounts.

While there is no such thing as a safe chemical, it must be realized there is no chemical that cannot be used safely by limiting the dose or exposure. Poisons can be safely used and be of benefit to society when used appropriately.– Royal Society of Chemistry

This statement by the Royal Society of Chemistry is one of the most basic assumptions of the chemical and pharmaceutical companies and the governments that supposedly regulate them. They use it as their guiding light no matter how wrong the assumption is, no matter how much death and disease is created from it. What we are seeing in the world today are massive spreads of chronic diseases like diabetes, neurological disorders, asthma, cancer and a host of other problems stemming from the in appropriate use of poisons. The assumption that poisons can be used safely is modern mans Pandora’s box; once opened the most greedy power hungry industrialists felt free to use poison in everything from house hold products like soap and shampoo to putting it directly in our foods, medicines and even drinking water.

The problem all started with Paracelsus, sometimes called the “father” of toxicology, who wrote: “The dose makes the poison.” The original quote actually is: “All things are poison and nothing (is) without poison; only the dose makes that a thing is no poison.” In other words, the amount of a substance a person is exposed to is as important as the nature of the substance. For example, small doses of aspirin can be beneficial to a person, but at very high doses aspirin can be deadly. In some individuals, even at very low doses, aspirin may be deadly. We all know that everyone can drown in water and even too much oxygen will do you in. Thus it was Paracelsus’ belief that it was not the substance which was toxic (since everything is toxic) but the amount. But is this really helpful to us today and does it reflect present realities? The big problem with people who fanatically follow Paracelsus comes down to this: hardcore believers in the dose makes the poison medical philosophy tend to forget one important thing and that is – poison poisons people, even at ultra low doses.

It is absurd to label pure water as poisonous simply because one can drown in it.

Though there is some perfect logic to Paracelsus statements there is a tragedy in the making defining everything along a poisonous scale as the world of medical science has done. Because we have defined everything as potentially poisonous, there are people (Codex) who are saying non poisonous helpful substances like vitamin C or any vitamin and mineral are dangerous like poisons if you take too much. Therefore they are already, in certain countries, limiting the amount that is available to consumers. This is a crime because the reality is that we are needing increasing amounts of antioxidants like Vitamin C, A, E, and minerals like magnesium, selenium and zinc to deal with the toxic overloads.

The basic principle of Natural Allopathic Medicine is just the opposite of orthodox allopathic medicine. Instead of using poisons at low doses we use concentrated nutritional substances at exceptionally high dosages. I am not suggesting we drown anyone or dump a ton of vitamin C on a baby to see if he or she can breathe under all that weight. Natural Allopathic Medicine is the name not only of a new book of mine in progress but is the name of the medical approach I am introducing to the world in 2009.

If someone is having a stroke or heart attack you certainly do not want to throw them into a bath with four ounces of magnesium inside.

My suggestion for cancer patients and anyone else with serious illness is to bring levels of substances like magnesium chloride, iodine and sodium bicarbonate up to very high levels. The dose makes the effect in Natural Allopathic Medicine were the dose makes the poison in modern medicine. When we are confronting serious chronic or even acute situations we do want to maximize the strength of our treatments.

In Natural Allopathic Medicine we assume all poisons have detrimental effect we only need calculate the total effect from the dose factoring individual sensitivity.

A sane rule of thumb for magnesium supplementation (not for therapeutic effect) is approximately 6-8 mg/kg (3-4 mg per pound) of body weight per day. That translates into a total dietary magnesium intake of 600 to 900 mg per day for a 200-lb man which is already way above the RDA, about double. With children some researchers indicate that 10 mg/kg/day are appropriate because of their low body weight and increased requirements for growth. Athletes also need more depending on their stress and training levels and we can always adjust upwards when under great emotional stress or when seriously ill.

Our cells are best served when they are brimming with magnesium reserves.

In general, for a large adult, spraying one ounce of Magnesium Oil a day all over the body is recommended for six months to recover cellular levels with that adjusted downward for children depending on their age and size. This coupled with oral intake, especially for adults, is necessary to get the maximum kick out of magnesium. When magnesium levels are at extremely low levels intravenous application is an option and is often necessary in emergency situations. Very strong therapeutic magnesium baths yield another level of effect which competes quite handedly with intravenous applications but they are no a substitute for them in emergency situations obviously.

Magnesium chloride and Vitamin C have similar toxicity profiles with overdose from both resulting at worst usually in diarrhea unless the kidneys are seriously compromised.

Strong therapeutic foot soaks are another option and are especially important for diabetics who suffer from diabetic neuropathy. Soak the whole body or just the feet in bath water for 20-30 minutes, at a temperature of about 108 degrees The most effective protocol for this therapy is to begin with a daily body or foot bath every day for the first 7 days, (starting at lighter concentrations and building up) then continue with a maintenance program of 2-3 times a week for 6-8 weeks or longer. Sensitive care must be taken especially with children as to dose levels, water temperature and magnesium concentrations. Muscle spasms might occur on rare occasions if one forgets to get out of the tub so it is necessary to supervise children and the length of time they remain soaking in magnesium chloride. All strong reactions like redness in local areas to diarrhea or even muscle spasms are indications to reduce concentration.

[1] The best cost effective magnesium bath flakes that I have found are Ancient Minerals. Six and a half pounds costs only 55 dollars.

[2] German research have shown Dead Sea salts have ultimately been the reason for reduced amounts of LangerhansA cells in the epidermis, and conversely salts of sodium chloride were void of any effect at all. (al G. S., 1990 December). Magnesium chloride is also discussed when the topic of dermatitis comes into play as an excellent treatment protocol.  The anti-inflammatory result of utilizing hypertonic Dead Sea solution on atopic dermatitis by means of magnesium ions is well known. (al., 2002)  Further studies also revealed that the magnesium solution greatly reduced inflammation in allergic contact dermatitis.  The study involved five patients with an identified nickel allergy, where magnesium chloride (not sodium chloride) stifled nickel-sulfate induced contact dermatitis. (Greiner J, 1990 November)

[3] Diffusion is the mechanism by which components of a mixture are transported around the mixture by means of random molecular (Brownian) motion (cf. permeation: the ability of a diffusant to pass through a body – dependent on both the diffusion coefficient, D, and the solubility coefficient, S, ie, permeability coefficient, P = D.S). Flynn et al. cite Berthalot as postulating, at the beginning of the nineteenth century, that the flow of mass by diffusion (ie, the flux), across a plane, was proportional to the concentration gradient of the diffusant across that plane. http://www.initium.demon.co.uk/fick.htm

[4] Dr. Raul Vergin offered the following guidelines for oral intake of a 2.5% Magnesium Chloride hexahydrate (MgCl2-6H2O) solution (i.e.: 25 grams or approximately one ounce of pure food grade powder in a liter of water). The quantity of elemental magnesium contained in a 125 cc dose of the 2.5% solution is around 500 mg.
Dosages are as follows:
Adults and children over 5 years old 125 cc
4 year old children 100 cc
3 year old children 80 cc
1-2 year old children 60 cc
Over 6 months old children 30 cc
Under 6 months old children 15 cc

125 milliliter = 4.2267528 ounce [US, liquid]
cc and ml are equivalent

Dr. Vergin indicates that “In acute diseases the dose is administered every 6 hours (every 3 hours the first two doses if the case is serious); then space every 8 hours and then 12 hours as improvement goes on. After recovery it’s better going on with a dose every 12 hours for some days. As a preventive measure, and as a magnesium supplement, one or two doses a day can be taken indefinitely. Magnesium Chloride, even if it’s an inorganic salt, is very well absorbed and it’s a very good supplemental magnesium source.”

[5] Magnesium chloride is an ionic compound because it has a metal, magnesium, and a nonmetal, chlorine. Magnesium will lose two electrons and form a +2 charge. Chlorine will gain one electron to form a chloride ion with a -1 charge. The formula for the compound is MgCl2. To get the formula weight, find the atomic weights and add them together taking the subscripts into account. Magnesium is 24.3; chlorine is 35.5; so two would be 71.0. The total gives 95.3 as the formula weight.

[6] Magnesium Oil from the sea weighs 12 pounds per gallon. Distilled water weighs only 8 pounds. Thus we can calculate in a straight away manner how much elemental magnesium is in each gallon.

[7] “I was saturated at about 3 grams of elemental Mg per day, but went to 20 grams for over a year. I now take 5 grams, and stools are semi-formed, and the surrounding water is clear, 3-4 per day.”  “Mg is very safe, since the gut absorption is regulated by serum Mg levels, and then the Mg stays in the gut and results in varying degrees of diarrhea. Then the dose is too high. Want soft semi-formed stools. Mine, while on high dosages of magnesium were liquid every 2-4 hours for 2 years, the electrolytes every month were normal, but for low potassium, part of my urinary Mg wasting, both,” wrote Mansmann.
Dr. Mansmann concludes, “I have had diabetic neuropathy for over 10 years. The most significant symptom is my neuropathic pain of burning feet, called erythromelalgia. With the aid of Mg I can completely suppress the symptom, but if my blood glucose level is acutely elevated, because of a dietary indiscretion, the pain flares in spite of an apparent adequate dose of Mg. It goes away with extra Mg gluconate (Magonate) in an hour or so in either case. Without the Mg it will last for six plus hours, even though the blood glucose level is normal in about two hours.” “It is my belief that every one with diabetes should be taking Mg supplementation to the point of one’s Maximum Tolerated Dose, which is until one has soft-semi, formed stools. In addition, anyone with neuropathy, without a known cause, must be adequately evaluated for diabetes and especially those with poorly, slowly, healing foot sores of any kind. Since the use of Mg is safe I see no reason that this should not be “the standard of care”.

[8] Auroleus Phillipus Theostratus Bombastus von Hohenheim, immortalized as “Paracelsus,” was born in 1493. Paracelsus, a Swiss doctor, pioneered the use of chemicals and minerals in medicine. His name appears as a significant figure among voluminous numbers of works on homeopathy, natural medicine, alternative medicine, and botanical studies. Many see him as the predecessor of chemical pharmacology and therapeutics and the most original medical thinker of the sixteenth century.

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Dr. Mark Sircus AC., OMD, DM (P)

Director International Medical Veritas Association
Doctor of Oriental and Pastoral Medicine

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