Ability of a cocoa product to
correct chronic Mg deficiency in rats

Planells E, Rivero M, Mataix J, Llopis J
Department of Physiology,
School of Pharmacy,
Institute of Nutrition and Food Technology,
University of Granada, Spain.
Int J Vitam Nutr Res 1999 Jan; 69(1):52-60


Epidemiological studies have reported that Western diets are often deficient in Mg. We investigated the ability of a cocoa-derived product, used in some European countries as a dietary complement added to milk, to aid recovery from chronic Mg deficiency in rats. The animals were divided into three groups, each of which received a different amount of dietary Mg. Rats in the Mg-deficient (D) group received an Mg-deficient diet (0.225 g Mg/kg food) during 8 weeks. In the cocoa-supplement group (D + CC), the rats consumed the Mg-deficient diet for 5 weeks, and were then switched for 3 further weeks to the same diet supplemented with 3% (wt/wt) cocoa product, so that the Mg content of the diet was 0.27 g/kg food. Rats in the control group (C) were given the same diet as in group D, except that the amount of Mg was 0.56 g Mg/kg food. We measured the concentration of Mg, Ca and P from ten rats in plasma, whole blood, skeletal muscle, heart, kidney and femur in rats that were fed the diets for 35, 42, 49 or 56 days. In animal fed the cocoa-supplemented diet (D + CC) significant improvements were found between days 35 and 56 in the alterations in Mg, Ca and P caused by Mg deficiency in all tissues studied. On day 56, kidney and bone concentrations of Mg and Ca had returned to normal. Our findings show that the habitual use of the cocoa product as a dietary supplement favors correction of the negative effects of long-term feeding with a diet moderately deficient in Mg.

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