Losing weight can be a Herculean task, especially for those who find months of consistent dieting and exercising a struggle. Sometimes, in fact, it turns out to be impossible to get rid of those extra pounds around the waistline even after putting a lot of effort into it. This is surely disheartening and may piss you off. But before you start thinking in a negative manner, try Epsom salt at least once. This simple ingredient can help you shed off excess fat in a soothing, relaxing, and effective way. Would you like to know why and how to use Epsom salt for weight loss? Read on.
What is Epsom Salt?
Epsom salt is the common name of an inorganic mineral compound called Magnesium Sulfate. It is a naturally occurring substance that was named after the bitter saline spring in the ‘Epsom Common’ (from which it was obtained first) situated in Surrey, England. Though the small, clear crystals of this ‘salt’ resemble table salt and get dissolved into water, they are completely different chemical compounds. While table salt is made of sodium, Epsom salt is enriched with magnesium (10%), sulfur (13%), and oxygen. It also has a bitter taste, which makes it quite unpalatable. However, Epsom salt has long been used as a sought-after cure for a number of ailments including rashes, injuries, constipation, insomnia, fibromyalgia, obesity, and so on. (1)
In 1618, Epsom salt was first discovered in Epsom Common by a local cow herder named Henry Wicker. While drinking from the pool, he found the water acidic, bitter, and laxative by nature. It also left a white salt-like residue behind after evaporation, which was named as Epsom salt. (2)
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Benefits of Epsom Salt
Epsom salt has been found to have numerous health as well as beauty benefits. It is the active ingredients of the mineral compound that contribute to its remarkable healing properties. We have elaborated it below (3):
- Magnesium, the primary element in Epsom salt, is itself known to regulate over 325 enzymes in our body, thereby ensuring normal functionalities of body cells. Healthy levels of magnesium help in improving the health of our muscular system, nervous system, and cardiovascular system by balancing electrolytes and calcium, improving the use of serotonin and stabilizing mood, and flushing out heavy metals. It also cures muscle as well as joint pain while relieving issues like headaches, backache, inflammation, etc.
- Sulfate in the mineral compound also takes care of our overall health in many ways. It detoxifies the pancreas, normalizes digestive tract function, boosts nutrient absorption, delivers adequate muscle protein, increases collagen production, makes joints healthy, and supports brain tissue formation.
Here are some more potential benefits of Epsom salt:
- Reduces inflammation and dryness of skin by improving skin barrier function and increasing hydration (4)
- Provides relief from irritation and itching caused by poison ivy
- Heals the soreness and swelling resulted from muscle sprains
- Prevents the occurrence of health complications like cardiac issues, diabetes, stroke, etc. (5)
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How Does Epsom Salt Work for Weight Loss?
The aforementioned health benefits of Epsom salt cumulatively help in enhancing our overall health, which is believed to support our weight loss goals. The salt crystals mainly work in the following three ways:
- Epsom salt gets absorbed into the skin very fast and starts working almost immediately by increasing the levels of magnesium and sulfate in the bloodstream.
- It works as a natural detoxifying agent that extracts excess toxins (sodium, phosphorous, and nitrogenous) from our body including the fat cells. This eventually perks up the calorie-burning capacity of the body.
- As it pulls toxins out of the system, the bodily metabolism gets regularized and the absorption of nutrients becomes better. This also puts a stop to emotional eating and prevents weight gain indirectly.
Remember that Epsom salt alone cannot help you lose excess body weight drastically. Rather, it needs to be combined with other weight-loss strategies to support a healthy lifestyle, which may eventually take you to your destination.
How to Use Epsom Salt for Weight Loss?
The active ingredients in Epsom salt, especially magnesium, are quite essential for maintaining our health as well as for losing weight. But we do not get enough of them through our regular diet (6). While the intake of Epsom salt can be tried, many people prefer its topical application only. Check out the options below:
1. Using Epsom Salt Internally
Being a laxative approved by FDA (Food and Drug Administration), Epsom salt can be used internally. However, this is not safe enough as just a single tablespoon of the salt contains almost 100 times more magnesium than the RDA dosage. It may also lead to adverse side effects like nausea, vomiting, poor metabolism, malnutrition, dehydration, diarrhea, laxative dependence, electrolyte imbalance, etc.
2. Getting an Epsom Salt Bath
Having an Epsom salt bath may help us slim down in a faster and more effective way. When dissolved in water, the salt crystals create a static and unified electric field that helps in detoxification of fatty cells and leads to significant weight loss. However, larger and more methodical research is needed to confirm the effectiveness of Epsom salt baths in losing weight (7).
4 Types of Epsom Salt Bath for Weight Loss
Though there is a lack of strong, scientific evidence for the weight loss benefits of soaking in an Epsom salt bath, it is known to be the most common and popular method practiced so far. If you have been struggling hard with additional body fat, this inexpensive, readily available, and low-risk remedy is, indeed, worth a try. Find some simple ways below:
1. Regular Epsom Salt Bath
Add 1-2 teaspoons of Epsom salt to a bathtub while filling it with hot water. Soak in the bath for 15-25 minutes and relax. Do it daily and keep the time span fixed to avoid side effects. As your body becomes used to it, increase the quantity of salt to 1-2 cups (not more than that).
2. Baking Soda and Epsom Salt Bath
Add 2 cups of Epsom salt and 2 cups of baking soda to a bathtub filled with hot water. Soak in it and rub your skin with a soft sponge during the whole session. Being a strong cleanser, baking soda will accelerate the method of detoxification. However, you must be gentle while using the sponge.
3. Ginger and Epsom Salt Bath
Fill your bathtub with hot water and add 2 cups of Epsom salt to it. Grate around 3 teaspoons ginger and throw it into the bath. Now, relax in it for 20-30 minutes. This will open up your clogged skin pores and help you release more sweat so that the rate of toxin expulsion goes up.
4. Apple Cider Vinegar and Epsom Salt Bath
Add apple cider vinegar and Epsom salt in a 2:1 ratio in a bathtub filled with water. Immerse yourself in it for 25-30 minutes. ACV will improve bodily metabolism, thereby accelerating the weight loss effects of the Epsom salt bath.
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Tips for Taking an Epsom Salt Bath
- Do not add more than 2 cups of Epsom salt to a gallon of warm water (8).
- Make sure that you do not have this bath more than 2-3 times a week.
- Add essential oils (lavender, tea tree, peppermint, etc.) to your Epsom salt bath for enjoying aromatherapy benefits.
- Keep drinking plain water throughout the after the session in order to support detoxification and prevent dehydration.
Risks of Epsom Salt
While the topical application of Epsom salt is considered risk-free, it should be ingested in moderation to ensure safety. Overexposure to the salt may cause an overdose of nutrients in the body, which may lead to adverse effects including dehydration, drowsiness, fainting, lethargy, hypotension, nausea, headache, flushed skin, muscle weakness, blurred vision, etc. (9) It may even lead to certain fatal consequences, such as toxicity, slow heartbeat, respiratory depression, irregular urination, cardiac arrhythmia, paralysis, coma, and death (10). Hence, people with diabetes or kidney diseases should stay away from Epsom salt treatments for weight loss. It is also not suitable for children and pregnant women.
Epsom salt or Magnesium Sulfate is a naturally occurring, inorganic, mineral compound that looks like small, clear crystals and tastes bitter. Unlike table salt, it is enriched with magnesium (10%), sulfur (13%), and oxygen. The active ingredients in Epsom salt, especially magnesium, make it an effective cure for a number of ailments like rashes, injuries, constipation, insomnia, fibromyalgia, muscle sprains, cardiac issues, etc. It is also believed to support our weight loss goals by increasing the levels of magnesium and sulfate in the bloodstream, detoxifying the body and boosting its calorie-burning capacity, and improving metabolism, thereby preventing emotional eating. However, Epsom salt needs to be combined with other weight-loss strategies to support a healthy lifestyle and promoting weight loss. You can either use Epsom salt internally or get an Epsom salt bath externally. Though there is a lack of strong, scientific evidence for the weight loss benefits of soaking in an Epsom salt bath, this inexpensive, readily available, and low-risk remedy is, indeed, worth a try. Apart from a regular Epsom salt bath, you can also opt for a bath including other ingredients like ginger, baking soda, apple cider vinegar, essential oils, etc. But be careful about the duration and frequency of the bath sessions. While the topical application of Epsom salt is considered risk-free, it should be ingested in moderation to ensure safety.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can You Lose Weight by Drinking Epsom Salt?
Drinking Epsom salt may not be a good option for weight loss. It mostly helps in losing the water weight, which is regained fast as soon as the salt detox is stopped.
Does Epsom Salt Kill Fungus?
Soaking feet in warm Epsom salt water may help you eliminate fungus from the feet and kill the odor caused by it. Adding oregano to the saltwater may also help you get rid of bacteria.
Does Epsom Salt Need to Be Rinsed Off?
Yes, Epsom salt should be rinsed off very well right after undergoing a bath session. Otherwise, it may dry out your skin and cause irritation.
How Long Does Epsom Salt Take to Work for Constipation?
It usually takes 30 minutes to 6 hours to produce a bowel movement.
- “Epsom Salt: Benefits, Uses, and Side Effects“, Healthline.com
- “The What, Why, and How of Epsom Salt Baths“, EEHE.org.uk
- “What You Need to Know About Epsom Salt Bath Weight Loss“, Healthline.com
- “Bathing in a Magnesium‐Rich Dead Sea Salt Solution Improves Skin Barrier Function, Enhances Skin Hydration, and Reduces Inflammation in Atopic Dry Skin“, OnlineLibrary.wiley.com
- “Dietary Magnesium Intake and the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease, Type 2 Diabetes, and All-Cause Mortality: a Dose-Response Meta-Analysis of Prospective Cohort Studies“, NCBI.nlm.nih.gov
- “Therapeutic Uses of Magnesium“, AAFP.ORG
- “Myth or Reality—Transdermal Magnesium?“, NCBI.nlm.nih.gov
- “Magnesium Sulfate (Oral Route, Topical Application Route, Route Not Applicable)“, MayoClinic.org
- “Magnesium Basics“, NCBI.nlm.nih.gov
- “Magnesium Metabolism and its Disorders“, NCBI.nlm.nih.gov