(1) We investigated the involvement of serum magnesium level in early alcoholic liver disease (ALD), gut barrier dysfunction, and inflammation in alcohol use disorder (AUD) patients; and lastly, the efficacy of 2-week abstinence and medical management to alleviate hypomagnesemia. (2) Forty-eight heavy drinking AUD patients (34 males (M)/14 females (F)) participated in this study. Patients were grouped by serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) level (a marker of liver injury) as group 1 (Group 1 (Gr.1); ALT ≤ 40 U/L, 7M/8F, without any indication of early-stage ALD) and group 2 (Group 2 (Gr.2); ALT > 40 U/L, 27M/6F or early-stage ALD). These patients were sub-divided within each group into patients with normal magnesium (0.85 and more mmol/L) and deficient magnesium (less than 0.85 mmol/L) levels. All participants were assessed at baseline (BL) and received standard medical management for 2 weeks with reassessment at the treatment end (2w). (3) Female participants of this study showed a significantly lower baseline level of magnesium than their male counterparts. Gr.2 patients showed a greater propensity in the necrotic type of liver cell death, who reported higher chronic and recent heavy drinking. Magnesium level improved to the normal range in Gr.2 post-treatment, especially in the hypomagnesemia sub-group (0.77 ± 0.06 mmol/L (BL) vs. 0.85 ± 0.05 mmol/L (2w), p = 0.02). In Gr.2, both apoptotic (K18M30) and necrotic (K18M65) responses were significantly and independently associated with inflammasome activity comprising of LBP (Lipopolysaccharide binding-protein) and TNFα (Tumor necrosis factor -α), along with serum magnesium. (4) In AUD patients with liver injury, 2-week medical management seems to improve magnesium to a normal level. This group exhibited inflammatory activity (LBP and TNFα) contributing to clinically significant hypomagnesemia. In this group, the level of magnesium, along with the unique inflammatory activity, seems to significantly predict apoptotic and necrotic types of hepatocyte death.
Keywords: alcohol use disorder; alcoholic liver disease; early-stage ALD; heavy drinking; hypomagnesemia.