Vitamin capsules & Co: What you should know

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Pills, powder, capsules, effervescent tablets – the choice is large.  Dietary supplements have long been part of everyday life. But does that make sense?

Around a third of Germans take vitamins from food supplements at least once a week. One in six even swallows vitamins every day in the form of tablets, capsules or liquids, according to a survey published by the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) this Thursday. Questions and answers about this:

What did the study show?

About half of those surveyed by the BfR state that they often consciously pay attention to an adequate intake of vitamins. Fruit and vegetables are the most important sources of vitamins , followed by fish and legumes .

Just under a quarter of those surveyed see food supplements as an important source of vitamins. Still, about a third say they take vitamins from supplements at least once a week – particularly vitamin D, followed by vitamin B12, vitamin C and multivitamins. Around a thousand people were surveyed as part of the BfR consumer monitor.

What are vitamins important for?

Vitamins are essential for most bodily functions. For example, they strengthen the immune system and promote the development of cells, bones and teeth. Since the body cannot produce them or only insufficiently, they have to be ingested with food.

Is an additional income necessary?

No. Experts say in most cases, swallowing extra vitamins isn’t necessary . With a balanced and varied diet, the body receives almost all vitamins in sufficient quantities. BfR President Andreas Hensel even explains:Anyone who takes high doses of vitamins without it being necessary risks oversupply and thus undesirable health effects.BfR boss Andreas Hensel

Only in certain cases is the intake of vitamins from dietary supplements expressly recommended, for example for folic acid before and during early pregnancy.

Which rules apply?

Dietary supplements are foodstuffs and must therefore not endanger health. They do not go through an official approval process in which the harmlessness to health must be proven. In Germany, the national regulation on food supplements regulates which vitamins may be added to a food supplement. However, it does not contain any legally binding maximum amounts for the addition of vitamins . The responsibility for this lies fundamentally with the food companies.