PRESCRIBING A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE
Ana María Lajusticia Bergasa was born in Bilbao on 26 July 1924, the daughter of Jesús Lajusticia Alonso and Delfina Bergasa Goyenechea. Her most important childhood memories include those associated with traditional food and harvesting ingredients, both animal and vegetable, which have disappeared from today’s diet. The traditional way of growing vegetables, retrieving collagen from joints of meat and long cooking times, were aspects of everyday life that she later sought to bring back in a unique way.
Ana María Lajusticia talks of a happy childhood cut short by the vicissitudes of the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939).
After her father passed away in 1937, she began to suffer heart palpitations at night, stemming from her desire to be a good student and thereby contribute to the household economy, which at that point was in the hands of a maternal uncle. At the age of 15, she moved with her family to Madrid. She studied for her baccalaureate and, in the 1941-1942 academic year, influenced by her grandmother Felicidad Goyenechea Artaza, she started studying Biochemistry at university.
In 1947, she became one of the few women to not only complete her bachelor’s degree but also to do so with flying colours. She attributes this success to perseverance, discipline and inquisitiveness. In 1948, she went to live in the province of Girona, after finding work there at the Osor mines.
As she has said on more than one occasion: ‘I spent 21 years in a medical corset; I know what it is to be ill, and I know what it is to be well’., She’s referring to the doctor’s orders she was given in 1955 and which she followed faithfully until 1973. At the age of 43, she was diagnosed with Type II diabetes, which did not presage the longevity and extraordinary health she has clearly enjoyed. She used her background in chemistry carry out research until she realised what the problem was: her diet was woefully inadequate. It lacked proteins and vitamin C, involved excessive consumption of carbohydrates and the vegetables she ate were poor in magnesium.
By changing her diet and significantly increasing her magnesium intake, her life changed. At the age of 52, she stopped using a corset and had to deal with the muscle weakness this artificial ‘scaffolding’ had caused in her back. Curing herself, and discovering for herself the many good things that a proper balanced diet can do turned this Basque grandmother into a champion of the cause of magnesium and other ingredients that are so good for our health.
Ana María Lajusticia created her own brand of food supplements with her name and image, with the aim of making the nutrients so necessary for care and health preservation available to all. Since then, she has been tirelessly dedicated to spreading her extensive knowledge in dietetics and nutrition through various media to help promote a healthy lifestyle.
RESEARCHER, WRITER AND SPEAKER
Ana María Lajusticia’s wide-ranging theoretical and practical knowledge led her to write her first book La alimentación equilibrada en la vida moderna (A Balanced Diet in Modern Life), which became an extraordinary success. She has published twelve books, including El Magnesio, clave para la salud (Magnesium, the Key to Health), La artrosis y su solución (Osteoarthritis and its Solution), Dietas a la carta (Diets à la carte), Los problemas del adulto (Problems in Adulthood), Alimentación y Rendimiento Intelectual (Diet and Intellectual Performance), and Colesterol y Triglicéridos (Cholesterol and Triglycerides).
Of all the books she has published, particularly noteworthy is the first (published in 1979), El Magnesio, clave para la salud (Magnesium, the Key to Health), a bestseller at the time, seven editions of which were produced in the same year.
In 2000 she signed with the publishing house EDAF and wrote her first book with them: Overcoming osteoporosis, which was followed by updated editions with new studies, of her previous books and later two more unpublished works – 2006’s La respuesta está en el Colágeno (The Answer is in Collagen), and, in 2014, El magnesio en el deporte (Magnesium in Sport). Her first work, El magnesio, clave para la salud (Magnesium, the Key to Health), and La artrosis y su solución (Osteoarthritis and its Solution) have been translated into French, German, Dutch and Polish. Also available in German are Dietas a la carta (Diets à la carte), Vencer la osteoporosis (Beating Osteoporosis), La respuesta está en el Colágeno (The Answer is in Collagen) and El magnesio en el deporte (Magnesium in Sport).
This vibrant entrepreneur moved to Barcelona in 1973 and shared a business at Calle Laforja 63. It was in 1980 that she registered her own brand, Ana Maria Lajusticia®. Today, her son Manuel Feliu, CEO of the company Distribuciones Feliu, S.L., promotes and distributes her products which, she, at 96, still enthusiastically formulates to improve everyone’s well-being.
She remains very socially active via social media, thanks to her partners. Her Facebook page currently has more than 70,000 followers, whilst her YouTube channel publishes weekly health-related content. This, in addition to her talks, workshops and interviews, is how, at the age of 96, Ana María Lajusticia keeps in contact with her loyal followers. Although happy with the enormous impact her work in favour of food supplements has had, she remains firmly convinced that the “magnesium revolution” is yet to come.
She consumes her own products every day, as they help preserve joint flexibility, intestinal and digestive motility and in facing the intellectual challenges that she still tackles with dedication and passion today.