For all our technology involving magnetism, it's still largely a mystery. Magnetism's precise nature is still unknown by physics, and it's role in cells is poorly understood by biology.
To a physicist, magnetism is a field of influence formed by moving electric charges, such as electrons flowing in a chunk of matter, or spinning in atoms and molecules. By this view, magnetism is a dipolar energy aura defined as lines of force, with all lines converging on two points of opposite polarity. So magnetism arises from polarization of opposite electric charges: positive (south) and negative (north) poles. Our planet, a well-known example, is a giant magnet to fix behavior of a compass.
All things are magnetic to some extent. The essential factor for magnetism is "free" electrons—those hypermobile matter packages with negative electric charge. An electron is spinning charge—a mini-dynamo. And spinning makes it act as a magnet.
Many holistic advocates view the human body itself as a big electromagnet—a perspective with vast implications for medical science. This magnetic field is generated by very-low-frequency electric currents which maintain polarities thoughout the body. All tissues generate weak magnetism with intensity proportional to extracellular potassium, and inversely proportional to body fat (fat is an insulator). Thus a high carbohydrate, low fat macrobiotic diet assures strong magnetic polarity in body tissue.
Blood, due to its chemistry, assists to creatie a body' magnetic field. Iron content of red blood cells is presumed to be a crucial magnetic determinant, although the ratio of sodium-potassium is also key. Ten years ago David Cohen of MIT's National Magnet Lab reported the underlying cause of the body's magnetic fields is the "steady current generated by a polarized layer due to a gradient of extracellular potassium along cell membranes."
Thus blood's chemical composition is key to intrinsic biomagnetism. The ancient Chinese were right all along about blood's relation to ki. Iron in our blood may determine the body's gross magnetism, but cobalt may ultimately accentuate and potentiate this field. Interactions with other elements like calcium and copper (both B12 synergists) may bolster the effect.
Nobel Laureate Albert Szent Gyorgyi, M.D., wrote in 1985, "Whether an electron behaves as charge, or as magnet, depends on its state of motion. When it moves, it's a charge. But if it stops, it becomes a magnet. So an electron has this queer quality that it can change from electric charge to magnet. This quality of elementary particles is one we can't understand, yet this transformation is a foundation of life and civiization."
"To drive cells, an electron must be stopped, then act as a magnet, thus transferring its energy to cell machinery. If this energy can't be transferred, then the spinning electron couples with an electron spinning in the opposite direction, so the magnetic force is balanced, neutralized—and lost."
Gyorgyi believes certain vitamins, minerals and enzymes keep cell electrons from losing their energy. They interact, and their hydrogen and oxygen become water, but uncoupled electrons don't react with other spinning electrons, thus their energy isn't lost, but transferred to other living materials, to keep them vital.
Hydrogen, with a single circulating electron, is exceptionally able to pump up its energy level by filling up with photons, and giving off energy as pi-electrons, which then determine protein building and DNA integrity. Through hydrogen, then, pi-electrons control the whole energy transfer process, and the body's surrounding magnetic field.
Biophysicists propose magnetic resonance of pi-electrons is the "anti-entrophy" principle of life. Without it, we would rapidly waste energy and die. By supplying energy to cells, the resonance of pi-electrons stabilizes, or hold things together. Within human biology there's good evidence of these effects.
Biophysical chemist Johanna Budwig says certain foods, especially those high in "neutralized" (processed hydrogenated) fats disturb the basic order of all growth processes, resulting in abnormal growth, such as cancer. Normal, healthy growth is a function of highly unsaturated fats in cell membranes that are rich in pi-electrons in resonance with photons of sunlight.
Five lines of evidence bolster this idea of biomagnetic resonance as the anti-entrophy principle (or why we don't fall apart). First, research shows acid and alkaline are affected by magnetism. Acid blood can become alkaline by exposure to a north magnetic pole. And magnetic north produces a slight alkaline effect on water, while a south pole produces a slight acid effect. Changes in hydrogen ion concentration are the major factors in pH shifts, and its on hydrogen ions and their magnetic fields that external magnets ostensibly act.
Second, magnetism is known to enhance or reduce enzyme activity. Enhanced enzyme activity—particularly trypsin and catalase—plays key roles in B12 absorption and conservation, and is achieved by exposure to strong magnetic fields. My hunch is metal elements in enzymes make them prone to magnetism.
Third, human experiments demonstrate magnets can induce elevated oxygen uptake and lowered pulse rate in healthy subjects. Does B12- heme become more active in magnetic fields? No one knows, though external magnetic fields do enhance blood flow. It's known oxygen-rich blood helps retardl cancer, aging and degeneration.
Fourth, Moscow Institute of Neurophysiology found magnetism creates all sorts of brain biochemistry changes. Soviet research suggests a center in the brain is a magnetic receptor, and animal brains are permanently changed by magnetism. Dr. Robert Becker says electromagnetism has profound effect on behavior and biocycles, and the main mechanisms for this are in the nervous system. I am thinking pineal and pituitary, due to their high cobalt content and integral role in the limbic system.
Fifth are effects of external magnetism on degenerative processes like cancer and aging. Cancer research has shown since the '60s that regular exposure to strong magnetism helps reverse both cancer (higher remission rates) and aging (restore hair to the natural color of younger years). Dr. Ken MacLean, founder of NY's Institute of Biomagnetics, contends cancer can't exist in a strong magnetic field, though certain field strengths can also be deleterious.
In sum, the potential to mitigate degenerative processes, boost enzyme activity, enhance tissue oxygenation, and induce blood alkalinity suggest magnetism is indeed basic to sound health. Acid blood, oxygen depletion and low enzyme activity are often cited as the biochemical roots of disease.