Three quarters of South Africans are believed to be deficient in magnesium, an essential nutrient that if lacking, will fuel diseases such as depression and psychosis, said nutritional consultant Vanessa Ascenacao in a statement on Wednesday.
“Millions of South Africans suffer daily from magnesium deficiency without even knowing it,” she said.
“Research is increasingly showing that magnesium deficiency may be responsible for more disease than the lack of any other nutrient.”
Magnesium is responsible for hundreds of chemical reactions in the body, and is required daily. It helps make calcium soluble to enter the bone, is vital for muscle function, and enables cells to repair themselves, among other functions.
Magnesium deficiency has been linked to poor mental performance, depression, psychosis, fatigue, irritability, and muscle spasms. According to the World Health Organisation, South Africans are only getting just over half of the recommended daily allowance.
The problem is not just local however, according to the statement magnesium deficiency is a global problem due to poor diet and soil being farmed to the point of magnesium depletion.
Ascencao said magnesium deficiency is often misdiagnosed as it does not show in blood tests because only 1% of the nutrient is stored in the blood. To make sure you get the recommended daily dose, Ascencao recommended eating a nutrient-rich diet, but also advised taking supplements.
Top ten foods highest in magnesium are raw spinach, pumpkin seeds, mackerel, soy beans, brown rice, avocados, plain low-fat yogurt, bananas, figs and dark chocolate.
Source: SA Breaking News
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