here 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 the following;

  • 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, a natural mineral compound 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;

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, no scientific evidence supports this claim.

Most of the research on Epsom salt has been conducted on animals, so it is unclear if the same effects would occur in 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 has benefits or is safe for people with diabetes. In fact, there are some potential risks associated with using Epsom bath 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 skin 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 .

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 briefly in warm water can help 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 salt's hot water and magnesium can 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 bath salt is best. Talk to your doctor if you have 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 when 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 the methods mentioned above are home remedies, it's always best to speak with your doctor before applying them. Seek medical help in case of an injury to your foot. 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, clean 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 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it OK to soak your feet if you are diabetic?

Yes, it is generally safe for people with diabetes to soak their feet in Epsom salt, provided they do not have any open wounds, sores, or infections.

Epsom salt foot soaks can help relieve muscle soreness, reduce inflammation, soften skin, and promote relaxation.

Who should not soak feet in Epsom salt?

People who should avoid soaking their feet in Epsom salt include those with:

  • Open wounds, sores, or infections on the feet.
  • Severe peripheral neuropathy (loss of sensation in the feet).
  • Severe peripheral arterial disease (reduced blood flow to the feet).
  • Allergic reactions to Epsom salt or magnesium sulfate.
  • In kidney disease, the body may struggle to process the magnesium in Epsom salt.

If you have any concerns or pre-existing health conditions, it's always a good idea to consult a healthcare professional before using Epsom salt foot soaks.

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 a warm bath and only soak them briefly. 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. The tips above can help keep your feet healthy and avoid 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 currently use a Medtronic Guardian 4 CGM and a MiniMed 780G insulin pump with Humalog insulin.

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