Inflammation is a cause of pain and disease. But what can we do to reduce inflammation? Read on to learn about the role of magnesium, and how we can supplement with magnesium for inflammation.
What Is Inflammation?
Inflammation is the activation of the immune system as a result of infection, irritation or injury.
Inflammation triggers include excessive insulin, emotional stress, free-radical damage, viral, bacterial, fungal and other pathogenic infections, obesity, overconsumption of hydrogenated oils, periodontal disease, smoking, some prescription drugs, environmental toxins and radiation.
As an example of inflammation in action, take an ankle sprain. This acute injury will prompt the immune system to create and send a protein called a Circulating Immune Complex (CIC) to the affected area. The CIC travels down to the injured ankle and causes pain and swelling. This action helps prevent further injury and irritation. CIC also supports fresh blood, antibodies and vital cells flooding the area, so that repair and healing can begin.
Next, the proteolytic enzymes are produced and sent down to the affected area to help counteract the inflammation. These enzymes are mediated by magnesium, meaning they perform better when adequate levels of magnesium are present in the blood cells.
Inflammation, Enzymes and Magnesium
Magnesium is responsible for 700 – 800 enzymatic processes in the body, and the production of proteolytic enzymes is just one.
If magnesium levels are too low, the activities of these crucial magnesium-sensitive enzymes will not work as they should. Properly-functioning enzymes are essential for so many reasons:
- Enzymes break down scar tissue, including fibrosis. Fibrosis is scar tissue that builds up in the body and over time creates so much restriction and strain on the organs that they can no longer function properly.
- Enzymes clean the blood of excess fibrin that causes the blood to thicken, which causes blood clots, leading to heart attack or stroke.
- Enzymes take some of the strain off of the liver by keeping the blood clean.
Enzymes are critical to controlling inflammation and we need magnesium for every enzymatic process.
When Magnesium is Low, Inflammation Rises
Researchers have found that when magnesium levels are too low, there is a profound increase of inflammatory cytokines, along with increased levels of histamine.
Problems with insulin metabolism results in the inability to properly store magnesium, causing blood vessels to constrict, elevated blood pressure, and coronary arterial spasm, all of which can result in a heart attack.
The presence of inflammation will itself deplete magnesium levels, so supplementation when the body is battling and inflamed is crucial. If there is not enough magnesium present at this time, excess calcium will precipitate around the area of inflammation which will cause rigidity and blockage of blood flow.
Magnesium is at the core of the inflammatory process. Deficiency in magnesium should be considered the first cause, yet magnesium is seldom considered.
Increases in extracellular magnesium concentration cause a decrease in the inflammatory response while reduction in the extracellular magnesium results in inflammation.