The effect of magnesium supplementation and weight loss on liver enzymes in patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease

Majid Karandish, Mahtab Tamimi, Ali Akbar Shayesteh, Mohammad Hosein Haghighizadeh, Mohammad Taha Jalali


  • Background: There have been few studies to examine the effect of magnesium (Mg) supplementation on liver enzymes. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of Mg supplementation and weight loss on liver enzymes, lipid profile, and fasting blood sugar in patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
  • Materials and Methods: This study was a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial. Ultrasonography was used to diagnose fatty liver in patients with alanine aminotransferase (ALT) ³ 40 U/L and without other hepatic diseases. A total of 68 participants (18-56 years) with NAFLD were randomly divided into two groups to receive either Mg supplement (350 mg elemental Mg per day) or placebo for 90 days. At baseline and at the end of the intervention serum ALT, aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alkaline phosphatase (ALP), total cholesterol (TCHO), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), triglyceride (TG), blood sugar and serum insulin, and Mg levels were measured in fasting state. Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and insulin resistance (IR) were calculated using Friedewald formula and homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), respectively. All participants received lifestyle recommendations including low calorie diet and physical activity.
  • Results: Significant decreases within the intervention and placebo groups were observed in ALT (75.64 ± 49.45 to 41.82 ± 19.40 U/L, P = 0.000; 68.50 ± 26.96 to 40.17 ± 19.40 U/L, P = 0.000 in Mg and placebo groups, respectively). Similar significant decreases were observed in AST and fasting serum insulin within the study groups. The decrease in weight was also significant in both groups (91.05 ± 13.77 to 87.60 ± 14.37 kg and 94.59 ± 16.85 to 91.45 ± 16.39 kg in Mg and placebo groups, respectively). LDL-C and TCHO were decreased significantly in placebo group but not in the intervention group. Serum Mg was increased significantly in the intervention group. No statistically significant differences were observed between the two study groups at baseline and after intervention.
  • Conclusion: According to the findings of this study, Mg supplement does not affect liver enzymes but weight loss may have an important role in improving fatty liver disease.
  • Key words: Alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase, insulin, magnesium, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease

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