Vitamins: important for a functioning metabolism

Vitamins are indispensable for a functioning metabolism. Since the body can not produce it - with a few exceptions - they have to be ingested with food.

Those who eat a balanced diet usually get the recommended amount of vitamins. However, adolescents, pregnant women, nursing mothers, seniors and people who suffer from certain illnesses or ongoing stress should pay more attention to adequate vitamin intake.

How many vitamins do we need?

With a mixed diet recommended by the Nutrition Society, which includes five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, most people are adequately supplied with vitamins.

Additional vitamins in the form of dietary supplements are then usually not necessary. In special life situations such as pregnancy and lactation, extreme stress or exercise, however, the need for vitamins may increase. In this case, talk to your doctor or a qualified nutritionist about a suitable supplement.

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Beware of dietary supplements

Many vitamin supplements are so-called nutritional supplements. That is, they are meant to complement the diet, but not to compensate for an unhealthy diet. Some higher-dose vitamin supplements are considered medicinal products and are therefore only offered in pharmacies. Above all, large amounts of vitamin A or D are questionable, since an excess of these fat-soluble vitamins can not simply be excreted via the urine as with the water-soluble ones.

You should note that

Many product promotion claims for supplements are controversial and scientifically untenable.
Avoid the combination of several preparations, it could overdose.
In special life situations such as pregnancy, lactation, illness, sport and age, the nutritional requirements are increased. In these cases, talk to your doctor or nutritionist about appropriate nutritional supplements.
Bear in mind that interactions with drugs are possible.

Remember, many foods, such as ACE juices, cereal, or cereal, are already fortified with vitamins.
Conclusion: dietary supplements can not replace fruit and vegetables, but at the most complete. The reason: In addition to vitamins and minerals, they provide bioactive substances that are not yet known in detail. In contrast, dietary supplements usually contain only a few isolated substances.

More about food supplements

Who needs more vitamins?
Special life situations or eating habits can lead to an increased need for vitamins.

Who is under stress

Emotional influences, physical or mental overuse can result in an increased need for vitamins. However, people who suffer from acute infections or are in a postoperative period are also affected. Any form of stress leads to generally increased vitamin consumption and thus vitamin requirements. This is an important prerequisite for stress reduction.


Here it is often especially vitamin C and folic acid, which are missing. In general, heavy smokers increase the general need for vitamins, since numerous vitamins are used by the body for "cleansing", ie for detoxifying harmful smoke components. For example, the demand for vitamin C is 40 percent higher than for non-smokers.

In case of increased alcohol consumption

Regular alcohol consumption leads to loss of appetite and thus to lower food intake. In part, this is also due to the fact that attempts are made to compensate for the alcohol-related high calorie intake by sparse food. In addition, alcohol adversely affects the absorption and utilization of vitamins in any form. Even wine and beer, which can have a positive effect on the nutrient balance in small quantities, lead to the same result in excess. Particularly affected are the vitamins B1 and B6, C, folic acid and niacin.


Even with a diet with 1,500 kilocalories per day, it is difficult to establish a balanced nutritional plan that optimally ensures the supply of vitamins and minerals. One can imagine that an undersupply is programmed with even less food intake. Extreme diets are therefore not recommended in terms of nutrient supply.


On the one hand, growth and development in puberty results in an increased need for nutrients - including vitamins. On the other hand, fast food is popular with young people in particular. Apart from other "unhealthy" factors such as too much fat and sugar, it is usually characterized by a low vitamin content.

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