Magnesium (Mg) is an essential mineral micronutrient in humans. Risks of dietary Mg deficiency are affected by the quantity of Mg ingested and its bioavailability, which is influenced by the consumption of other nutrients and ‘anti-nutrients’. Here, we assess global dietary Mg supplies and risks of dietary deficiency, including the influence of other nutrients. Food supply and food composition data were used to derive the amount of Mg available per capita at national levels. Supplies of Mg were compared with estimated national per capita average requirement ‘cut points’. In 2011, global weighted mean Mg supply was 613 ± 69 mg person–1 day–1 compared with a weighted estimated average requirement for Mg of 173 mg person–1 day–1. This indicates a low risk of dietary Mg deficiency of 0.26% based on supply. This contrasts with published data from national individual-level dietary surveys, which indicate greater Mg deficiency risks. However, individuals in high-income countries are likely to under-report food consumption, which could lead to overestimation of deficiency risks. Furthermore, estimates of deficiency risk based on supply do not account for potential inhibitors of Mg absorption, including calcium, phytic acid and oxalate, and do not consider household food wastage.
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Vol. 66 • No. 12