Wednesday, May 22, 2024
HomeClinical Trials and ResearchSkin Creams May Affect Body-level Magnesium Concentration

Skin Creams May Affect Body-level Magnesium Concentration

Researchers were curious to know the effect of transdermal mineral absorption from skin creams. The results showed that cation concentration in the body increased with application of Mg2+-rich topical ointments.


Minerals play an important role in the general physiology of the body by regulating important biochemical pathways. Research has confirmed that the magnesium ion (Mg2+) plays a vital role in the major enzymatic reactions, with almost 99% of Mg2+ present in the soft tissues, bones and muscles. With increasing awareness in supplemental nutrition, people are consuming self-prescribed mineral supplements, and using formulated topical creams. With the advent of focused marketing strategies and advertorial intent, topical medication, including cosmetic creams, are used without a moment’s hesitation. However, researchers are now realizing that the minerals absorbed by the skin, may significantly affect the levels in the body. These could have far-reaching consequences on various bodily functions by disturbing the delicate equilibrium of micronutrients.

A study conducted at the University of Hertfordshire, UK, and published in PlosOne indicates that supplemental magnesium gets absorbed via transdermal application. The study included twenty-five healthy individuals who were administered a low dose, 56 mg/day, of a magnesium-formulated cream for topical application. The individuals were randomly assigned to an intervention or placebo group after 2 weeks of measuring baseline levels. Magnesium ion (Mg2+) concentration was subsequently tested from urine and blood serum samples. Physical exercise has been shown to deplete the Mg2+ status in the human body; therefore, participants were also classified as athletes (2 hours of physical exercise at least 5 days a week), or non-athletes. The results were analyzed taking this classification into account, as well as, the subjects’ dietary recordings.

It was found that the topical application resulted in a mean increase of serum and urine Mg2+ concentration in the intervention group, when compared to the placebo group. The 8.54% and 9.1% increase in the serum and urine samples clearly indicated a clinically relevant and statistically significant result. Although this study might be considered as an “underdose” of transdermal Mg2+, it has generated enough interest to conduct a larger scale study, with higher dose of Mg2+, 70-400 mg/d (generally present in the commercial skin creams). A longer duration, cohort-specific, large-scale study is warranted for more definitive answers, with focus on the long-term effects of supplemental topical creams.


Written By: Akshita​ ​Wason,​ ​B.​ ​Tech,​ ​PhD



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