There is a lot of information about Epsom salt and its purported benefits for diabetes. Some people swear by it as a miracle cure, while others claim it is bad for diabetics. So, what is the truth? Is Epsom salt good for diabetes or not? In this blog post, we will take a look at the evidence and potential risks.

In this Diabetic & Me article, you will learn about;

  • What are Epsom salts?
  • What are Epsom salt baths?
  • Are Epsom salts safe for people with diabetes to use?
  • How to take care of your feet when you have diabetes?

What is Epsom Salt?

Epsom salt is a type of magnesium sulfate (magnesium sulphate), a natural mineral found in seawater and mineral springs. It has been used for centuries as a medicinal remedy for various ailments. In recent years, Epsom salt has become popular as a natural home remedy for many health conditions, including;

  • sore muscles
  • arthritis pain
  • neuropathy pain (nerve damage)
  • tired and swollen feet

Some believe Epsom salt can help lower blood sugar levels, improve insulin sensitivity, and reduce inflammation. The most common myth is "Epsom salt can cure feet numbness" however, there is no scientific evidence to support this claim.

In fact, most of the research on Epsom salt has been conducted on animals, so it is unclear if the same effects would occur on humans. So, what does the evidence say about Epsom salts used in an Epsom salt bath? Is Epsom salt safe for diabetics to use? No scientific evidence suggests that Epsom salt is effective or safe for people with diabetes. In fact, there are some potential risks associated with using Epsom salts.

How Does Epsom Salt Affect Diabetes?

Unlike other salts, Epsom salt has a high concentration of magnesium, which is why diabetics misunderstand Epsom salt usage.

  • One study found that soaking feet in warm water and magnesium sulfate (the active ingredient in Epsom salt) may increase the risk of dry and cracked feet. This can lead to infections and further foot damage.
  • Magnesium is an important mineral for people with diabetes. It has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and help lower blood sugar levels. However, using Epsom salt to cover magnesium deficiency is not the same as taking a magnesium supplement. The amount of magnesium in an Epsom salt bath is not high enough, and it is unclear if the body can absorb magnesium adequately through the skin.

Therefore, it is advisable for people with diabetes to avoid using Epsom salt. There is no evidence to suggest that it has any benefits and may actually be harmful.

If you are looking for ways to improve your diabetes management, speak to your doctor, healthcare professional, or a registered dietitian.

What Happens if You Soak Your Feet in Epsom Salt Water?

If you have diabetes, taking care of your feet is important. Soaking your feet for a short period in warm water can help to relax them and relieve any pain or discomfort you may be feeling. You can also use a foot massager or a spa foot bath. However, avoid soaking your feet in Epsom salt water or for long periods in hot water. This is because the hot water and magnesium in the salt can actually cause further foot damage by drying it out and creating cracks. This can lead to infections and more serious foot injuries.

Epsom salt is often touted as a miracle cure for various ailments, but it's important to remember that it's not always safe for everyone. If you have diabetes, avoiding Epsom salt baths is best. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns about using Epsom salts.

Alternatives to Epsom Salts

If you're looking for a safe and effective way to relieve pain, there are plenty of alternatives to Epsom salt. Here are a few options:

Ice Packs

Being a diabetic, I know you might feel muscle cramping or feet numbness. Applying an ice pack to the affected area can help reduce inflammation and pain. Be sure to use a towel to wrap the ice pack in to avoid frostbite.

Heating Pads

Another option is to use a heating pad. Like with an ice pack, you'll want to remove the heating pad as soon as the pain subsides to avoid burns. Important to know is that whether you are using an ice pack or a heating pad, they will only give you temporary relief.

O.T.C. medication:

Plenty of over-the-counter medications can help relieve pain with mineral compounds. Acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and naproxen are all effective options. But avoid using any medication alone and only use them when other remedies don't help. Make sure to speak with your doctor first, especially if you're already taking other medications.

Massages

Getting a massage can also help to relieve pain. But make sure to find a qualified massage therapist with experience working with people with diabetes. You can also use a massage oil/cream that contains capsaicin. This ingredient can help to relieve pain by numbing the affected area. You can also use a foot massager or a foot spa bath.

Herbal Teas

Some herbal teas can help to relieve pain. Chamomile and ginger tea are both effective options. Avoid any tea containing caffeine, as this can worsen the pain.

Diabetes Management

Managing your diabetes correctly and preventing high blood sugar levels are equally important to care for your health and feet.

Talk To Your Doctor

As all of the methods mentioned above are home remedies, it's always best to speak with your doctor before applying them. This is especially important if you're already taking medication for your pain. 

10 Tips for Diabetics to Take Care of Their Feet

  • Wash your feet every day with warm water and mild soap.
  • Dry your feet thoroughly, especially between the toes.
  • Apply lotion or cream to your feet to keep them moisturized.
  • Don't go barefoot, even indoors. Use flip-flops.
  • Wear socks and shoes that fit well and don't rub your feet.
  • Inspect your feet daily for cuts, blisters, or other foot injuries.
  • Trim your toenails regularly with a toenail clipper and file down any sharp edges.
  • Don't smoke. Smoking can cause problems with circulation and make it more difficult for wounds to heal.
  • Exercise regularly. This can help to improve circulation and keep your feet healthy.
  • Manage your diabetes. Keeping your blood sugar levels under control can help to prevent problems with your feet.

Conclusion

A hot bath or soaking your feet in a hot tub with Epsom salt will not only aggravate your diabetes but also lead to other foot problems. So, avoiding Epsom salt is best if you have diabetes.

However, if you still want to soak your feet, do it in luke water and only soak them for a short period. Excess moisture can also lead to fungal infections, so ensure your feet are dry before putting on socks and shoes.

An Epsom salt foot soak results in poor blood circulation through your blood vessels. Another significant issue is skin dryness due to excess moisture. Taking care of your feet is essential, especially if you have diabetes. Following the tips mentioned above can help to keep your feet healthy and avoid any further injuries.

About the Author

Ely Fornoville

Hi, I'm Ely Fornoville and I am the founder of Diabetic & Me. Being a type 1 diabetic since 1996 I developed a passion to help people learn more about diabetes. I write about diabetes and share stories from other diabetics around the world. I am currently using a Freestyle Libre CGM and a Minimed 640G insulin pump with Humalog.

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