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Magnesium Has Strong Cancer-fighting Properties

— January 31, 2022

Magnesium is one powerful immune-boosting mineral.

New research shows that magnetism, a mineral produced in the body, appears to have powerful cancer-fighting properties and can successfully treat other life-threatening conditions.  This could mean it would become an active ingredient in a new method of cancer treatment and prevention. Magnesium is a cofactor in more than 300 enzyme systems that regulate biochemical reactions in the body, according to WebMD, including protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, and blood pressure regulation.  It has also been used to promote a healthy nights’ rest.

The cancer-fighting research came from a paper published in Cell, which found that “killer T cells were only able to eliminate cancerous or infected cells in rats if their LFA-1 proteins had bound with free available magnesium.”  The research team, based in Switzerland, found that magnesium acts like a barrier against deadly cells, which makes it a powerful immune system weapon.  The mineral could have COVID-fighting implications as well.

Magnesium Has Strong Cancer-fighting Properties
Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán from Pexels

“Cell-surface binding and receptor proteins are areas of key interactions in studying physiological effects, and the COVID-19 pandemic taught many people how important these interactions, sometimes called docking, can be to our health,” according to the data.

The team found that low magnesium in the rats was significantly linked to a quicker progression of cancer.  They also discovered that influenza and other viruses would spread more slowly if magnesium levels were sufficient.  This mineral is commonly introduced into the body through many foods in addition to supplement form.

“In light of our experimental data and the retrospective analyses we performed on two clinical trials, magnesium deficiency is very likely to be responsible for at least a proportion of the insufficient efficacy seen in cancer patients receiving immune therapy,” said Dr. Christoph Hess, Ph.D., from the University of Basel.

In their cancer-fighting paper, the team concludes, “The relevance of extracellular magnesium in cellular immunity remains largely unknown.  Here, we show that the co-stimulatory cell-surface molecule LFA-1 requires magnesium to adopt its active conformation on CD8+ T cells, thereby augmenting calcium flux, signal transduction, metabolic reprogramming, immune synapse formation, and, as a consequence, specific cytotoxicity.  Accordingly, magnesium-sufficiency sensed via LFA-1 translated to the superior performance of pathogen- and tumor-specific T cells, enhanced effectiveness of bi-specific T cell engaging antibodies, and improved CAR T cell function. Clinically, low serum magnesium levels were associated with more rapid disease progression and shorter overall survival in CAR T cell and immune checkpoint antibody-treated patients. LFA-1 thus directly incorporates information on the composition of the microenvironment as a determinant of outside-in signaling activity. These findings conceptually link co-stimulation and nutrient sensing and point to the magnesium-LFA-1 axis as a therapeutically amenable biologic system.

Hess said he is “now investigating whether magnesium-rich lipid molecules, coated in antibodies and injected into tumors, can prevent or reverse growth in the tumor microenvironment.”  Also, his team will take a closer look at whether magnesium supplements improve the outcomes of immuno-therapy trials.


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