South Africans are magnesium deficient, fuelling disease – WHO and nutritional consultant

Three quarters of South Africans are believed to be deficient in magnesium – an essential nutrient responsible for hundreds of chemical reactions in our bodies – contributing to heart disease, diabetes, stress, insomnia and muscle injury.

Magnesium is associated with thousands more chemical reactions, is required daily and helps make calcium soluble so it can enter bone. It also enables cells to repair themselves, is more important than calcium, potassium or sodium and regulates all three.

“Millions of South Africans suffer daily from magnesium deficiency without even knowing it,” says nutritional consultant, Vanessa Ascencao. “Research is increasingly showing that magnesium deficiency may be responsible for more disease than the lack of any other nutrient.”

Deficiency is globally widespread due to poor diet and soil being farmed to the point of magnesium depletion. Symptoms of deficiency include headaches, dizziness, muscle and stomach cramps, nausea, tingling hands and cardiac arrhythmia.


The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates 75% of Americans are magnesium deficient and most industrialised countries show a similar trend. A WHO report estimates that most South Africans are consuming only slightly more than half the RDA of magnesium.

Ascencao notes that magnesium deficiency is often misdiagnosed as it does not show in blood tests because only 1 % is stored in the blood.

In addition to diabetes, heart disease, migraines and asthma, magnesium deficiency is linked to poor mental performance, depression, psychosis, fatigue, irritability, and muscle spasms. Without magnesium, calcium can’t be used properly, impacting on muscle function and bone health.

Magnesium can be obtained through a nutrient-rich diet but supplementation is advised, particularly in the form of the highly potent magnesium chloride. The purest source in the world is found at the ancient Zechstein seabed, below Europe, where it is filtered into a topical grade magnesium chloride.

Supplementing orally may lead to intestinal complaints and the gut absorbs only about four percent of magnesium oxide. The solution is transdermal therapy with magnesium chloride. Transdermal BetterYou Magnesium Oil, sourced from Zechstein and sold in 16 countries, is undergoing a trial in Harrow, UK, and various other studies have proven the effectiveness of transdermal application. In one 12 week trial, 89% of subjects improved their magnesium levels by almost 60%.


BetterYou Magnesium Oil ( is among the purest, naturally filtered and most soluble source available, allowing the mineral to reach body tissue through the skin, effectively and quickly. In this way, essential magnesium enters the cells immediately, replacing lost magnesium and scientifically proven to boost levels.

BetterYou Magnesium Oil is available in SA at Dis-Chem.




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