Magnesium and Niacin – the Detox Duo

I give people magnesium and niacin because they help accelerate detoxification. Whenever you’re burning off fat you’re simultaneously releasing toxins. This is because the body stores a wide variety of toxins in fat, to get them out of the way. People love the effect.

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The liver needs extra help detoxifying released toxins (also released if you quit taking in toxic substances), which is the basis of my 9-Day Liver Detox Diet. Magnesium supports so many critical detox enzymes. Also, as you burn fat, and release toxins, it helps to alkalise your system. There are many other health benefits of magnesium – from lowering blood pressure (by relaxing blood vessels) to helping to stabilise blood sugar levels. As a major relaxer of muscles, magnesium helps to relieve tension, of both the mind and body, reducing anxiety, promoting sleep and relieving muscle pain and stiffness. The optimal amount to supplement, for short term use, is around 450mg. really, the high end of optimum is 800mg and, if you’re simultaneously eating lots of greens, nuts and seeds you can achieve 350mg from diet.

That is why the combination of any of my supplement packs (providing 155mg of magnesium), plus 2 x NoBlush Niacin (giving 290mg) gives you 455mg of magnesium in a very absorbable forms, my favourite being magnesium ascorbate.

But supplementing magnesium isn’t the only option. I am a great fan of Epsom salt baths, a favourite treatment of naturopaths for over 100 years and for good reason. It is absorbed through the skin.

A clinical study performed at the University of Birmingham, established this beyond a doubt, showing both increased blood levels, followed by increased urinary levels as magnesium was excreted. Every single person in the study had increased levels so the results are beyond doubt. This happened within 2 hours so the effect is quick. Epsom salts is actually magnesium sulphate, and sulphur is a vital detoxifying nutrient use by the liver to bind to and remove toxins. Sulphur is a forgotten essential nutrient, with no RDA. It’s in onions, garlic and eggs but often people need more. Supplementing MSM, an absorbable form of sulphur, helps detoxification, and so does soaking in Epsom salts.

I have, however, struggled to find a true Epsom salt without additives, caking agents, chemicals, artificial perfumes – just pure Epsom salts. But I’ve found one. It’s called Newton Wood, the place where Epsom salts were discovered. Newton Wood’s Epsom salt crystals are superb in every respect, so that’s what I use on my retreats during which participants, not only supplement magnesium, but also have Epsom salt baths and sessions in the hot tub and steam room into which we add Epsom Salts. Here’s a few comments from people on my last retreat:

‘Very relaxing and simple to use’.
Joan, Ireland

‘Excellent product, felt totally relaxed, refreshed and re-charged for the day!!’
George, Essex

‘Really relaxing, very good.’
Lyn C

‘Lovely product, very relaxing.’
Jodie, Hampshire

‘Soft on the skin and quick to dissolve.’
Audrey H

‘I felt super-relaxed after a hot bath with these Epsom Salts and I will definitely be using them again.’
Frances, London

By the way, asthmatics given magnesium halve their recovery time from an attack, so inhaling magnesium vapours is another way to absorb it, and is especially good for those with conditions involving inflammation of the lungs.

The other known benefit of magnesium sulphate (Epsom salts) is as a laxative, but you have to be consuming this internally. Too much, however, will give you diarrhoea.

Niacin releases toxins

The other great detoxifier is niacin (vitamin B3). Like magnesium it is involved in many detoxifying enzymes, and is vital for methylation, which is another of the liver’s key detoxifying pathways. Niacin is also known to support healthy cognition – or clarity of mind. We often give those with mental health concerns 1,000mg of niacin. The positive effect of this in reducing hallucinations in schizophrenia was proven back in the 1950’s by my teacher, the late Dr Abram Hoffer. But that’s another story.

However, there are two additional effects of niacin, in its blushing form, that most people are unaware of. Pure niacin, at a dose of 100mg, makes you blush for about 20 minutes. You go hot and itchy, then cool down. This vasodilatory effect actually releases toxins from cells into the bloodstream, which then get cleared through the kidneys via urine, or sweat, or transformed into non-toxic substances in the liver.

You can magnify the effect of niacin by taking it, when the blushing starts or is winding dow, in a low temperature sauna or steam room, thus encouraging the formation of sweat, in which toxins can be removed. It is important, however, to drink lots of water, thus diluting toxins and keeping you fully hydrated. Solgar sell niacin 100mg but make sure you don’t buy a supplement that say no-flush – in this case you want the blush. There are two forms of niacin – niacin and niacinamide. In the UK these used to be called nicotinic acid and nicotinamide. The former makes you blush, the latter does not. Annoyingly, EU rules state that labels containing any form of B3 must call it ‘niacin’ regardless of it’s form so supplement makers don’t actually have to state the form. So, if you buy something called niacin and nothing happens it is probably niacinamide, not niacin.

Some people don’t blush initially on 100mg and need to increase the amount. The blushing is mediated by a prostaglandin, dependent on having sufficient omega-6 fats. So, if I have a client who doesn’t blush it makes me suspect they are lacking in essential fats.

A word of caution: Don’t try niacin at work, when you’re travelling and having important meetings. It is best taken at home, where you can chill out and lie down if the blushing is extensive. By the way, if your body goes blotchy the white areas are the areas with less blood flow. By looking, for example, at a person’s back you can see the areas of tension, where blood flow is restricted.

Niacin and magnesium are muscle relaxants and sleep promoters

Both niacin and magnesium help to relax muscles and induce deep sleep. I often give people struggling to get a good night’s sleep the combination. You’ll probably notice, both after an Epsom salt bath and a niacin blush, how relaxed you feel and, if you lie down, there’s a good chance you might drift into a refreshing sleep.

I use this effect to ‘recharge’ after I’ve been teaching. My perfect recovery ritual is to take 100mg of blushing niacin as well as 2 x No Blush Niacin, then, as the blush is diminishing, jump in the hot tub or bath, with added Newton Wood Epsom salt crystals, and soak. (You cool down in the last phase of the flush so the hot water helps.) Then I get out, lie down and invariably nod off, waking up half an hour later, feeling completely recharged, both physically and mentally.

You might want to give it a go.

No-Blush Niacin (with magnesium ascorbate) is available from
Niacin 100mg (the blushing form) is available from Solgar, in health food shops.
Pure Epsom salt crystals are available from