Magnesium: Oral or Transdermal Supplement?

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Magnesium is at the forefront of most of the body’s processes from regulating our heartbeat and blood pressure to keeping our immunity in check. However, most of us don’t even realize that we’re not giving our bodies the magnesium it needs to do all these vital tasks until we have issues linked with magnesium deficiency. When we start getting muscle aches and spasms or suffer from poor sleep quality, then we might wonder, am I getting enough magnesium?


Well, it’s never too late to jump on the bandwagon and start increasing our intake of magnesium rich foods. Look out for avocadoes, almonds, cashews, legumes, tofu, flaxseeds, chia seeds, whole grains, salmon, mackerel, halibut, and of course leafy greens such as kale and spinach.

But even then, the recommended daily intake of magnesium for the average adult is 400mg – even if you ate four spinach salads a day it might not be enough! Most people therefore turn to a magnesium supplement, which can come both orally and transdermally.


Oral supplements are probably the most common because they are so easily accessible and easy to use. Just pop in a pill or tablet and go! Some other oral magnesium supplements come in powder form, which you have to combine with water, juice or smoothie, giving you the extra benefit of it being yummy (can’t say that about most supplements!) However, the basis of the effectiveness of oral supplements is, of course, that you remember to take them.


“Trans what?” you might ask. “Transdermal” refers to the absorption of magnesium via our skin, otherwise known as a topical treatment. Transdermal magnesium supplements can come in the form of sprays or creams, which you then apply onto your skin.

It might seem a little sci-fi that we can actually absorb minerals into our body via our skin, but it’s totally true! In fact, you may already know of treatments that come in transdermal forms – for example, Nicotine patches, or pain patches for back relief.


The benefit of transdermal magnesium supplements aka being absorbed into our skin are three-fold:

  • Taking magnesium supplements orally means that they have to pass the digestive system in our body before being absorbed. It is believed that we can enjoy a more rapid absorption rate by bypassing the gastrointestinal tract via transdermal magnesium supplements.
  • Some people do experience problems such as diarrhea, nausea and vomiting when ingesting too many magnesium rich foods. Since tolerance differs from body to body, it does help that there is an alternative without subjecting your body to any undesirable side effects while still getting your magnesium needs met.
  • Since transdermal magnesium supplements are applied directly onto the body, you can apply them directly to areas that are experiencing problems linked to magnesium deficiency. For example, areas where you are having cramps and aches, or in a relaxing massage to help combat poor sleep quality at night.


Whether to go for oral or transdermal magnesium supplements is a personal choice. The most important factor is to find one that you like and that you will stick to for consistency in getting enough magnesium your body needs. In fact, you can even use transdermal supplements on top of oral supplements for an additional boost where you need it, such as after sports, before bedtime, or just a lazy Sunday soaking in a tub with magnesium flakes.

If you’re exploring transdermal magnesium supplements, check out Essential Magnesium’s amazing range right here and enjoy 10% off your first purchase.

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