Magnesium supplements can protect the liver from acetaminophen

Magnesium supplements can protect the liver from acetaminophen

A new study suggests that magnesium supplements may be able to alleviate known side effects of the painkiller acetaminophen. The study found evidence in laboratory animals that oral magnesium can prevent acetaminophen-related liver damage by affecting the gut microbiome. However, more research will be needed to confirm this potential preventive benefit.

Acetaminophen, whether taken alone or with other medications, is one of the most widely used medications in the world. Sold generically and under the popular brand name Tylenol, it can relieve fever and mild to moderate pain. But taking too much acetaminophen over a short period of time can cause severe and even life-threatening liver injury. It is believed to be the leading cause of acute liver failure in the United States, with an estimated 56,000 emergency room visits, 26,000 hospitalizations, and 500 deaths annually attributed to the drug, according to one study. 2005 study.

A drug’s harmful effects on the liver come from how the drug is metabolized in the body. The main culprit appears to be an enzyme called CYP2E1, which breaks down acetaminophen into byproducts that can be toxic to the liver at high enough levels. So finding a way to safely inhibit CYP2E1 activity while taking acetaminophen may allow us to prevent overdoses and even allow the drug to be activated. More useful than it actually is.

in a study published On Monday in Cell Host and Microbe, scientists in China and California describe how magnesium might do the job.

magnesium It plays an important role in keeping many parts of the body healthy, including the heart, often by affecting hundreds of different enzymes. The researchers hypothesized that magnesium may also interact in important ways with the gut microbiome, a community of normally harmless or beneficial bacteria and other microbes that live along the digestive tract. The researchers conducted experiments on mice, pigs, and humans to test their hypothesis. In one experiment, for example, the team cultured the intestines of mice with the microbiomes of people who took magnesium supplements, and then gave the mice high doses of acetaminophen.

Through these tests, the team found evidence that magnesium can prevent acetaminophen-associated liver damage by inducing metabolic changes in the gut microbiome. Specifically, oral magnesium appears to stimulate the metabolism of gut bacteria BifidobacteriaThis leads to increased levels of a compound called indole-3-carboxylic acid (I3C), which then binds to and inactivates CYP2E1.

“We present a valuable approach, oral magnesium, as a safe and effective strategy for preventing CYP2E1-mediated acute liver failure,” the authors wrote.

The results are largely limited to animals, so they are not proof that people can just take magnesium supplements to stay safe from a potential acetaminophen overdose. It is too early to know whether its protective effect can be easily applied to everyone, since different people and their microbiome may respond in different ways to magnesium.

But the results provide some interesting new avenues of research, the team says. Find a way to boost levels Bifidobacteria Or I3C even without magnesium can help prevent acute liver injury due to acetaminophen, for example. Since CYP2E1 is also thought to be involved in other types of liver failure, such treatments could have more applications than just making acetaminophen safer.

However, the authors say that “further trials with a wider range of humans are needed in the future.”

(Tags for translation)Liver

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