Although it would presumably require intense training and concentration to perform, would it be possible to extract the minerals from within someone's body (either their blood or other metals) through metalbending in the way that Magneto escaped his plastic prison in X-Men II?

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    in theory i assume it would work, though it might be almost like a "talent" such as blood bending. since blood bending works though i believe we can leave it open for metal bending metal in a person. though that guard was given an injection so he had far more metal then a normal person would have on them, so im not sure how much you would actually get out of a person.
    – Himarm
    Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 20:08
  • No. There isn't enough metal in the human body even if you could extract it to do anything with. Calcium, which would likely be the bulk of the metallic minerals in the human body along with a tiny bit of iron and other minerals. These minerals would be in their softest most natural unalloyed states. It is unlikely a bender, even if they could do it, would have much metal to work with from a single person. Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 20:25

2 Answers 2


Yes, a skilled metalbender could do what Magneto did in X-men 2.

In the Season 3 finale of Korra:

Korra has mercury forced into her bloodstream with metalbending. It is later extracted from her body by Suyin, also using metalbending.

To be clear, it is likely impossible to remove the miniscule amounts of a metal that naturally exist in a human's body through metalbending.

However, that's not what Magneto was doing in X2. He was only able to extract metal from the guard's body because Mystique had injected metal into the guard the night before. Therefore, the situation described in the spoiler text and what Magneto does in X2 are functionally equivalent.

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    exactly, the fact that mysique injected a large amount of metal into the victim is what makes it possible.
    – Himarm
    Commented Oct 21, 2014 at 14:25

In short: no, this would not be possible.

Magneto used the trace amounts of iron in the guard's blood to take advantage of his magnetic powers. By extracting the iron, he was able to use it as a weapon to escape. It is also mentioned that the guard in question had more iron than a normal human being would have, but this does not matter for the purpose of this question. It would be arguable that the difference would be great enough given the known limitations of metal bending.

On the other hand, "Metalbending" from the Avatar series works off an entirely different concept:

During a lecture about chakras, Guru Pathik explained to Avatar Aang that metal is merely earth that has been purified and refined. Utilizing her unique ability to "see" using earthbending, Toph was able to perceive the trace amount of "unpurified" crude earth still present in the metal, target it, and use it to bend the purified metal itself.

In the case of "Metalbending", it takes advantage of metals that aren't 100% pure. From the same page:

During the events of the Anti-bending Revolution, it was revealed that metalbending is ineffective against highly purified metal.

In this case the iron and other trace metals in a person's blood just wouldn't be bendable due to the limitations seen in both shows. The closest thing we get is an incident revolving around Mercury poisoning:

however, when the young airbender revealed that the venom was metal-based and Lin's younger sister promptly removed most of it from Korra's system, saving the Avatar's life.

However even this was only able to remove the majority of the Mercury:

Nonetheless, the poison had caused significant internal damage, rendering Korra unable to walk for nearly six months and incapable of contacting Raava or entering the Avatar State. In addition, the residual traces of poison in her body prevented her from making a full recovery.

We could make the argument that this means that even pure metals could be removed, but it is mentioned that the one who removed the Mercury, Suyin, also relied on the impurities to effectively "bend" it:

When Suyin first taught Korra metalbending, she got her to feel the fine pieces of earth inside a metal sculpture.

This would explain why there were still trace amounts of Mercury in Korra's body, since there wasn't enough impurities for Suyin to "bend" all of it out. So even for the very powerful metal benders, they wouldn't be able to do much with the metal in someone's body unless it was a very substantial amount of metal.

  • Interesting but consider that a lot of the metal in our bodies is not pure. It is found bound by various other chemicals, notably proteins. Since the definition of "earth" is, perforce, not very clear, I see no reason why a metal bound by a protein cannot be considered impure
    – terdon
    Commented Oct 21, 2014 at 2:42
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    Personally, I view "earth" to be "rock" because that's really what's in the show. By what I've found in this chart, we can estimate the average person to contain just around 3% of their mass as minerals. On the other hand, the human body is 53% water. We can surmise then that it would be ~18 times more difficult for someone to manipulate the "earth" within a person than those creepy blood benders. Even if a metal bender could bend the iron, it would be somewhere in the range of 11200x more difficult than a blood bender.
    – BlueBuddy
    Commented Oct 21, 2014 at 3:25
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    Note: In the most recent episode, an old character complains that Suyin did a poor job of removing the metallic poison.
    – Brian S
    Commented Oct 21, 2014 at 14:05
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    Since the question is asking in relations to xmen then IT would be possible by your own reasoning, since we know mystique injects a whole vial of metal into the guard. therefor if someone injected a whole vial of "impure metal" into a person a metal bender should be able to pull it out of the person.
    – Himarm
    Commented Oct 21, 2014 at 14:27

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