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Supplements - do I need them?

Vitamin C for the immune system, magnesium for the muscles or vitamin D for the bones - vitamins and minerals or other substances with nutritional or physiological effects (such as amino acids, fatty acids, dietary fibres, plant extracts and powders or rock flour) are available on the market in large numbers and in various combinations as food supplements.

About one third of adults in Germany regularly take such products, which are offered in the form of capsules, tablets, powders or in liquid form. The products are often advertised as being able to compensate for insufficient nutrient intake through nutrition or to achieve positive health effects. But in which cases does our body actually need an extra portion of vitamins or minerals? Does supplementation make sense if there is sufficient intake through the normal diet? And what about the benefits and risks of taking one of the many available other substances with nutritional or physiological effects?

Basically, a balanced and varied diet provides the healthy body with sufficient vitamins and minerals. In Germany, study data indicate that only a few vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin D, calcium, folic acid and iodine, are not consumed by some population groups in accordance with the intake reference values of the German Nutrition Society (DGE). Even if this does not equate to an undersupply or even a deficiency, food supplements can be useful in individual cases for certain population groups. However, they are not necessary for the majority of the population that is well supplied.



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