Can You Take Berberine And Magnesium Together?

In this blog, we will discuss Berberine and Magnesium, two naturally occurring substances with a wide range of health benefits. We will explore their roles in the human body, their potential health benefits, and the possibility of taking them together.
Greta Daniskova

Greta Daniskova

Greta is a BSc Biomedical Science student at the University of Westminster, London.

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What is Berberine?

Berberine is an isoquinoline alkaloid occurring naturally in several plants including Coptis sp., Berberis sp. and Hydrastis canadensis (goldenseal) [1, 2, 3, 4]. It has been utilized for more than a millennium (in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine) for various conditions, including bacterial gastroenteritis and diarrhoea [5].

What does Berberine do?

The pharmacological spectrum of berberine is broad. The plant alkaloid has been widely investigated for the treatment of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hyperlipidaemia, inflammation, bacterial as well as viral infections, mental disease, Alzheimer’s disease, osteoporosis and more. [1, 6]

In patients with diabetes, berberine reduces fasting blood glucose, haemoglobin A1C, markers of inflammation and oxidative stress, stimulates insulin secretion and improves insulin resistance [7].

Berberine also exerts a neuroprotective effect. It protects against neurotoxicity through antiapoptotic, antioxidative and anti-inflammatory activity via well-known pathways such as the Pl3K/Akt/Bcl-2 pathway, Nrf2/HO-1 pathway and MAPK signalling pathway [8].

Moreover, berberine displays considerable antimicrobial action against a variety of organisms – bacteria, viruses, fungi, protozoans, helminths and chlamydia, among others. [4].

Besides, berberine has been also demonstrated with anti-tumour activities, such as suppressing cancer cell growth [2, 9] and inhibiting cancer cell invasion and metastasis.

What is Magnesium?

Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the human body and the second most abundant intracellular cation after potassium [10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17] – in fact, it is one of the most widespread elements in nature.

What does Magnesium do?

Magnesium participates in more than 300 enzyme-related mechanisms in the body, from ATP, DNA and RNA metabolism [10, 18, 12, 13, 19, 15, 16, 17]; it is necessary for protein synthesis, cellular energy production and storage, reproduction and membrane stabilisation of mitochondria [10, 13, 16].

It is also an important catalyst for the regulation of muscular contraction, control of blood pressure, metabolism of insulin, cardiac excitability, vasomotor tone control, nerve transmission and neuromuscular conduction [10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 20, 21]. Magnesium assists in calcium transport and potassium transport; necessary for nerve impulses, muscle contraction and normal heartbeat [22].

Moreover, magnesium contributes to the homeostasis of a range of cations, such as sodium, potassium and calcium, and therefore physiological functions, including impulse conduction, blood pressure, heart rhythm and muscle contraction [11].

Magnesium is also essential for all bone mineralisation, and immune system competence, as well as a cofactor for phosphate transfer and neuronal transmission [12, 13, 14].

Low magnesium levels have been linked to the increased risk of developing several chronic conditions: atherosclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, insulin resistance and type-2 diabetes mellitus, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, migraine headaches and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) [10].

Can you take Berberine and Magnesium together?

While it is not clear from the referenced articles whether the berberine and magnesium in question can be taken together, note that berberine, as a plant extract, used in clinical practice and, according to extensive animal and human trials, can affect a broad array of human-relevant health outcomes, such as diabetes, obesity and inflammation-associated disease [23, 24].

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Some recent laboratory and clinical reports indicate that berberine can interact with medications used in combination with any of those dietary supplements above, potentially interfering with their absorption and effectiveness [25, 26, 27].

But in contrast, magnesium is safe for the majority of the population (except for some susceptible people) when acquired by food or through oral supplementation, whereas it could potentially interact with medications such as antibiotics, calcium channel blockers, muscle relaxants, water pills (diuretics) and bisphosphonates [28].

Conclusion

It suffices to say that while there’s no evidence of interaction (directly reported in the literature), specifically between berberine and magnesium, it’s always good practice to check with your healthcare provider before adding any new supplement to your regimen, particularly if you’re also taking prescription medications, or have other health conditions.

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Greta Daniskova

Greta Daniskova

Greta is a 2nd-year student currently pursuing her Bachelor's Degree in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Westminster in London. Currently, in her second year of undergraduate studies, she exhibits a keen interest in the dynamic field of healthcare. With a focus on understanding the intricacies of human biology and disease mechanisms, Greta is driven by a desire to contribute to advancements in medical research and patient care.