Vitamins, minerals or immune deficiencies with plant extracts: Dietary supplements are becoming increasingly popular. But who uses them, should pay attention to a few things.
Are dietary supplements useful?
For example, vitamin B12: A few years ago, hardly anyone talked about it, today it is literally on everyone’s lips. And not only because there are more and more vegans who almost inevitably fall into a shortage due to their diet. The “nerve vitamin” should provide more energy and mental performance – and thus for exactly what is required in our fast-paced time more and more.
No wonder, then, that the market for dietary supplements is growing: Last year alone, 172 million packs were sold in drugstores and pharmacies in Germany – 4.2 percent more than in the previous year. In a consumer center survey, more than a third of respondents said they had used one or more of these supplements in the past six months.
Particularly eager consumers were adults before the age of 30. The most popular among the pills, powders and juices is magnesium, followed by the second with vitamin A and D, and third with calcium supplements. From where the trend to swallow, it is clear: health has never had a higher priority than today, said the Frankfurt. It is no longer just an absence of illness, but something that can be constantly improved.
Healthy nutrition is still mandatory
Can I just take the remedies like this?
It is safer to discuss the intake with a doctor or doctor and to be examined for a shortage. “Germany is not a vitamin deficient country,” says Professor Christian Sina, director of the Institute of Nutritional Medicine. “It’s possible to eat fully-fledged all year round at acceptable prices and eat enough fresh foods every day to get all the nutrients you need.”
However, certain diets or living conditions make supplementing individual substances necessary. For example, in pregnancy and lactation, there are clear recommendations that folic acid and iodine should be supplemented. Nevertheless, Christian Sina advises against self-medication: “Always discuss the dosage with the attending physician.” Thus, a thyroid disease of pregnant women may require a different amount of iodine.
Even vegans should regularly to the doctor her blood and seek advice about supplements. The same applies to vitamin D if you spend less than half an hour in daylight during the dark winter months.
Are pills as effective as vegetables?
No. “Isolated, laboratory-made vitamins and minerals are generally not absorbed as well as the ingredients in fresh foods,” said nutritionist Sina. ” Calcium from milk and cheese, for example, can be used better by the body than calcium from an effervescent tablet, the nibbling red pepper provides us with more vitamin C than any capsule, and most of the micro nutrients are excreted by the body anyway because it is in the high concentrated amount can not completely absorb at once. “
Less is more
At least they are not harmful, right?
Some can even be really dangerous. In the 1990s, two large vitamin trials in Finland and the US had to be stopped because it was shown that taking beta-carotene in smokers increases the risk of lung cancer. A US study also links an increasing number of liver dysfunctions to dietary supplements – the authors have been able to detect microbial, mycotoxin or heavy metal contamination in several plant products.
Also with the dosage one should be careful: Too much harms possibly.“Above all, fat-soluble vitamins such as A and E, which stores the body, especially in the liver or in adipose tissue, can lead to overdose and increased liver enzymes,” said Christian Sina.
And even to the effect of high-dose water-soluble vitamins or minerals, there are not enough studies that rule out possible damage. “Some consumers are not aware that they are eating more of these nutrients through food and fortified foods, and some of the funds on offer are fifty times as much as we need, ” says Angela Clausen, an ecotrophologist at the Consumer Affairs Council of North Rhine-Westphalia. Westphalia.
When Stiftung Warentest examined 35 drugs last year, the maximum daily recommended dose was exceeded at 26. Particularly high-volume products were from the Internet. Information on recommended maximum amounts is provided by the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment or the Consumer Centers.
Are the products controlled as strictly as medicines?
According to Consumer Surveys, one in two insists on testing the safety and efficacy of dietary supplements. Wrongly: “They fall under the food, not under medication – even if they are often so opened up, so they are not subject to testing and authorization,” said ecotrophologist Clausen. The products are only randomly tested after they are already on the market. Whether and how individual ingredients work and what side effects are possible is not always known.
What if you combine them with medications?
You should keep in mind that dangerous interactions can occur. “Some substances strengthen, weaken or block drugs from drugs,” said Angela Clausen. For example, goji berries may increase the effectiveness of certain anticoagulants, increasing the tendency to bleed. “Even ingredients of grapefruit pose the risk that some drugs are metabolized worse and stay longer than desired in the body,” adds Christian Sina. In addition, some of the supplements distort blood or urine levels. Therefore, the intake of all pills and powders – especially herbal – better consult with the doctor.
Superfoods, Vitamin B12 & Co.
And how should one take the preparations?
Magnesium and calcium should be taken in the right proportions, folic acid not with zinc and selenium not with vitamin C – micro nutrients are often in so-called absorption competition. “Put simply, the large amount of one substance blocks the same transport pathway in the body, which is also necessary for another nutrient,” explains Angela Claus-en.
Even some foods inhibit the absorption, z. For example , coffee or tea blocks iron supplements, spinach or rhubarb calcium products. But there are also substances that are best tolerated and strengthen when taken simultaneously in the effect, such as iron and vitamin C or the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, K, E and high quality oil.
Are there any specific trends in dietary supplements?
Oh yeah. “Currently, magnesium and superfoods are in demand in the mass market,” says Angela Claus-en. Cures with intestinal bacteria have also become established in recent years, in parallel with research on the importance of these microorganisms. But they make up a small market share – and their therapeutic effect has so far been proven only in the case of inflammatory bowel disease.
Why the preferences fluctuate, is due to new scientific findings, but also because the needs in the family and work have changed. Therefore, it is absolutely understandable to want to make nerves stronger with vitamin B12. But a capsule just can not solve everything.