One in three takes vitamins – Vitamin deficiency

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Whether tablets, powder or juices: dietary supplements are very popular in this country. One in three takes vitamins at least once a week, and one in six even daily. This is shown by a current survey by the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR).

Vitamins and minerals are essential for our body: they strengthen the immune system, contribute to healthy bones, strengthen hair, teeth, and nails. In order to get enough of it, every third German citizen takes food supplements at least once a week, and every sixth even daily. Preparations with vitamin D, vitamin B12, vitamin C, and multivitamin preparations are particularly popular. This is shown in a current special edition of the BfR consumer monitor 2021.

Vitamin deficiency is rare

Respondents often name compensating for a deficiency as a reason for this. As a rule, however, this is not necessary at all: “Food supplements are unnecessary for most people,” says BfR President Professor Dr. dr Andrew Hensel. In order to be well supplied with vitamins and minerals, a balanced and varied diet is sufficient for healthy people. However, there are also exceptions, for example, if all animal foods are avoided, during pregnancy or in the case of elderly or chronically ill patients.

Don’t risk overdosing

It is best to always discuss the use of dietary supplements with your doctor. Because: “Anyone who takes high doses of vitamins without it being necessary risks oversupply and thus undesirable effects on their health,” says Hensel. According to the survey, 42 percent of those who regularly take vitamins are aware of this risk.

Since vitamin pills are not medicines, they do not go through an official approval process in which their harmlessness to health has to be proven. In Germany, the national regulation on food supplements (NemV) regulates which vitamins may be added to a food supplement. However, it does not contain any legally binding dosages or maximum quantities. In order to close this gap, the BfR has published recommendations for maximum amounts of vitamins in food supplements, which also serve as a guide for consumers.

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