Magnesium and liver disease

Meixi Liu, Huayu Yang, Yilei Mao


Magnesium is a vital cation that takes part in many cellular processes. Magnesium balance can be disturbed in multiple conditions, and differences in magnesium concentration can be responsible for numerous physiological and pathological processes. Magnesium deficiency is commonly associated with liver diseases, and may result from low nutrient uptake, greater urinary secretion, low serum albumin concentration, or hormone inactivation. In turn, low magnesium content in serum and liver tissue can lead to the progression of these diseases, due to a disruption in mitochondrial function, defective protein kinase C (PKC) translocation, inflammatory responses, oxidative stress, or metabolic disorders. Furthermore, magnesium supplementation can improve liver function in certain liver diseases. This paper comprehensively reviews the changes in magnesium concentrations associated with liver cirrhosis, alcoholic liver disease (ALD), liver cancer, and viral hepatitis, and explains how such changes may in turn impact these disease processes.