Archive for the ‘Detox’ Category

Ask Marilyn – Star Question: are epsom salts effective and are they always safe to take?

Sunday, February 1st, 2009

Q: I’ve read up a little about Epsom Salts or Magnesium Sulphate, and they sound great for some skin problems, helping the body to detox, as a muscle relaxant (good for muscle cramp/spasm?) and de-stressor. I would be interested to hear your thoughts on the subject and if there are any cases where it would not be recommended (such as during pregnancy?).

A: We think of magnesium generally as nature’s tranquilliser as it has a calming and relaxing effect on the body including the muscles.  Epsom salts are just hydrated magnesium sulphate and when used in the bath, the magnesium is absorbed through the skin, hence the relaxing effect on problems with muscle cramps and spasms.  This relaxant effect is also useful for women who have painful periods because the womb is a muscle and can also be helpful for other conditions where muscles are affected e.g. fibromyalgia.  The magnesium can also help reduce inflammation so may be useful for people with arthritis and general aches and pains.

Epsom salt baths can also be helpful for skin problems such as eczema and psoriasis as it can reduce inflammation in the skin.  Soaking in Epsom salt baths can also be helpful for relieving a flare up of genital herpes and when suffering from shingles. 

It is also thought that Epsom salts can help draw toxins out of the body, so helpful if you are doing a detox and want something to make the detox more effective.  It is not advisable to detox during pregnancy because the toxins will be released into the bloodstream and can pass into the baby.  So I would suggest that in pregnancy only the feet are soaked in Epsom salts.

For a regular bath use one to two cups of Epsom salts in water temperature that is comfortable (not too hot).  You could do dry body brushing before you get in the bath as this will help to open up the pores to increase the absorption of the Epsom salts.  An Epsom salt bath is best at the end of the day because at the end of the bath, just dry yourself off and get into bed, it is better not to rinse off the salts.

Everyday products that may be affecting your fertility: How to detox safely

Wednesday, October 1st, 2008

Infertility has been on the increase in the last 20 years and although infertility can be caused by many things, including a poor diet, environmental toxins, stress, nutritional deficiencies, hormone imbalances and general poor health, a growing number of experts, myself included, are beginning to suspect that everyday bodycare products may also play a role.


Many of us are unaware that the products we use everyday on our bodies or in our homes could be adversely affecting our fertility. This is because many of the toiletries we use on our bodies are made from the same chemicals used in industrial processes and many of those have been shown to be hormone disruptors in both men and women. Take propylene glycol, for example, a solvent used in hair care products, deodorant and make up. Did you know that it is also the main ingredient in antifreeze?


Studies show that many of the chemicals found in beauty products may be linked to health problems, including hormone disruption and even birth defects and what makes these even more alarming is that your exposure to these everyday products can build up unnoticed over the years because it is only when these synthetic substances are used frequently that they start to accumulate in the body.


The main culprits include parabens, phthalates, talc, triclosan and surfactants. Parabens are found in most body care products and have been shown to affect natural levels of oestrogen, making them a hormone disrupting chemical. Phthalates are one of many ingredients found in fragrances, hair spray, make up nail polish and shampoo and they have also been shown to be hormone disruptors in both men and women. Talc is found in body and face powders and is a known carcinogen. Triclosan is found in toothpaste, soap and body wash and is another hormone disruptor and surfactants, which are found in personal care products that foam can pose serious health risks including adversely affecting reproductive health.


To reduce the toxic load on your body I suggest that you and your partner look at the products you normally use on your body every day and check the labels to see how many synthetic ingredients they contain. Throw out products that you are suspicious of and look for healthy alternatives.  Also have a look through other household products, such as air fresheners, bathroom cleaners and bleach etc. Think about how toxic they are and look for natural alternatives in health shops and supermarkets. Finally, you may also want to consider a gentle detox programme to rid yourself and your partner of any accumulated toxic load. This is especially important when you are planning for pregnancy and in my latest book Getting Pregnant Faster you’ll find plenty of advice on how to detox your diet and lifestyle in the preconception period.

In the News: Risk of miscarriage soars if the father is over the age of 35

Monday, September 1st, 2008

We hear so much these days about the increased risk of miscarriage in older women but now it seems that men who leave it until their mid 30s to start a family are also more likely to lose their unborn child to miscarriage. With statistics showing that more men are leaving it later and later to have children this new research is a stark warning that some of them may be leaving it too late.


A French study of thousands of couples has shown that miscarriage rates increase once a man hits 35 and by the age of 45 this risk has doubled with one in three pregnancies ending in miscarriage regardless of the age of the woman. The large scale study is the first to reveal the true impact of a man’s age on his chances of fatherhood and warns that it is not just women who need to keep an eye on their biological clocks if they want to start a family.


Although it is possible for a man to father a child at the age of 90, the truth is that the older a man is the more semen abnormalities there are and to give himself the best possible chance of becoming a father a man should try to have children before the age of 40 to 45. Others studies have shown a father’s age can have a lasting consequence on his child’s health. Older fathers are, for example, five times more likely to have children with Down’s syndrome and up to twice as likely to have a child with a cleft lip. Children with older dads also have an increased risk of heart defects, autism, schizophrenia and epilepsy.