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Did you know your body requires magnesium for proper detoxification of your cells?
Magnesium is a foundational nutrient on which detoxification systems depend for their function. Without proper magnesium levels in the body, natural minerals like calcium can accumulate within your cells because magnesium deficiency causes cells to lose the ability to maintain normal mineral concentrations and exhibit toxic effects. The health of detoxification systems also is critical because exposure to environmental contaminants, synthetic chemicals, and pollution is a reality in our industrial world.
Magnesium is one of the best weapons in your arsenal against chemical toxicity!
Just how does magnesium support detox? First and foremost, magnesium’s major role in the production of energy (as ATP) puts magnesium at the top of the list when it comes to detox! After all, ATP provides your cells with the energy they require for pumping out toxins before, during, and after they accumulate.
It’s true! High levels of energy are needed for the function of sodium/potassium ATPase, the enzyme that uses this energy to pump sodium ions from cells and potassium ions into cells. Cells use ATPase as the pumping mechanism for transporting nutrients, preserving proper concentrations of minerals within cells (and extracellular fluid), and removing toxins.
Abundant highly absorbed magnesium that flows through the body’s pathways allows for the creation of energy needed to pump excess calcium from cells and thereby to maintain proper calcium to magnesium ratio within cells. Excess calcium in cells reduces the amount of available magnesium and rigidifies cell membranes, thereby reducing cell function. In addition, the entry of calcium into cells can overwhelm the capacity of ATPase to remove it.
When too much calcium enters into a cell, entry of magnesium is blocked, and the cell loses its ability to pump out calcium. When this occurs, the cell cannot transport nutrients, regulate its membrane, or preserve proper concentration gradients of minerals within itself or in the fluid outside its membrane (extracellular fluid).
Another aspect of magnesium’s role in detox is its impact on metals including aluminum, mercury, lead, cadmium, beryllium, and nickel.
Maintaining sufficient levels of magnesium supports the body’s efforts to detoxify metals whether for day-to-day heavy metal detox (in order to prevent accumulation within cells), or when levels of metals have become extremely high (as in heavy metal poisoning) due to chronic or acute exposure.
For example, lead and cadmium are known to exert cumulative toxic effects on the heart and kidneys. Due to lead’s high toxicity, in cases of exposure lead detox is imperative. Magnesium appears to competitively inhibit uptake of both metals, especially when they are found together. One study found that increased intake of magnesium facilitates the elimination of lead and cadmium through urinary excretion.
It is also known that mercury dramatically increases excretion of magnesium from kidneys. It has been suggested that magnesium loss is responsible for kidney damage witnessed in mercury poisoning. That kidney damage may relate to magnesium losses in mercury poisoning appears likely given that the body’s demands for magnesium increase as metal toxicity rises.
Finally, magnesium plays a significant role in supporting the body’s antioxidant systems. An important aspect of detoxification with respect to antioxidant status is that magnesium helps prevent the accumulation of oxidative by-products within tissues.
It is known that magnesium deficiency causes accumulation of oxidative products in the liver, kidney, skeletal muscles tissues, and red blood cells. When antioxidant systems fail to function properly, increased free-radical activity creates oxidative products that damage tissues and cells, and can significantly reduce their function. By supporting optimal antioxidant activity within the body, magnesium helps reduce free-radical damage and thereby lessens harmful effects related to an excessive activity of oxygen radical species.