Seite Ebene 4 a

Inhalt; Accesskey: 2 | Servicenavigation; Accesskey: 4

You are here:


Vitamins are organic compounds that the human organism cannot produce at all or only in insufficient amounts. Since they are indispensable (essential) for humans, they must be ingested with food. They are formed by plants and microorganisms and are contained in plant-based foods, i.e., fruit, vegetables and cereals, but also in animal-source foods such as meat, fish, eggs, milk and in products made from them.

Vitamins are involved in numerous processes in human metabolism. For example, they promote the building of cells, bones and teeth and are important for immune function.

There are 14 vitamins in total: Vitamin A and provitamin A (beta-carotene), which can be converted by the body into vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E and vitamin K, the B vitamins (B1, B2, B6, B12) niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, biotin and vitamin C. Vitamin C and the B vitamins are water-soluble; all other vitamins are fat-soluble. The body can only absorb them if at least a small amount of fat is taken in with the food at the same time. A special role is played by vitamin D, which can be formed in the body itself through sunlight irradiation (UVB).

As a rule of thumb, a balanced and varied diet provides the healthy body with sufficient vitamins. In Germany, only a few vitamins (and minerals) are not consumed by some population groups according to the intake recommendations of the German Nutrition Society (DGE). However, this does not necessarily translate into an undersupply or even a deficiency.

However, the risk of an insufficient supply of vitamins increases if the intake is permanently too low, for example due to an unbalanced diet, reduced diets or a reduced absorption in the intestine (in the case of diseases). If there is an increased need (for example during pregnancy and breastfeeding), more attention should be paid to a nutrient-rich diet in order to be adequately supplied during these times as well.

In certain cases, dietary supplements can be useful - for example, vitamin D supplements for people who hardly spend time outdoors and are therefore not sufficiently exposed to sunlight to produce enough vitamin D, or folic acid supplements for women who want to become pregnant - or already are. For the predominantly well-supplied population, however, vitamin supplements are not necessary. In order to provide consumers with significant additional nutrient intake when needed and at the same time protect well-supplied people from excessive intake, the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) has developed maximum recommended amounts for vitamins and minerals for use in food supplements and fortified foods.



Eine Initiative des BfR:

Cookie Notice

This site only uses cookies to offer you a better browsing experience. Find out more on how we use cookies in our Data Protection Declaration.