What's up with nutritional supplements

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Magnesium tablets, vitamin pills or carotene capsules - the market for dietary supplements is booming. But does it really do you any good?

From: Birgit Deiterding

Status: 10.09.2018

One in three Germans fears that normal food will not be enough and turns to dietary supplements. “Health!” Reporter Veronika Keller wants to find out: What are the benefits of the artificial vitamin and mineral products? When do they make sense?

"With an effervescent tablet, I've already had a real bomb of vitamins and minerals. That should strengthen my immune system and make me fitter overall. So perfect for my health. But is that actually true or can something like that even harm me in the long run?"

Veronika Keller, reporter

Dietary Supplements: The Market

In 2017, Germans bought 172 million packs of dietary supplements. More than a billion euros were spent on this. What exactly is there on the market? Veronika Keller takes advice - in the drugstore and in the pharmacy.

"The selection in the drugstore is impressive. I have now taken all sorts of things with me. Vitamins A, E, D, C. Many packs also say that it is good for the body's defenses and a healthy immune system. Sounds good at first. Now I'm curious what the pharmacies recommend to me. "

Veronika Keller, reporter

During the test, she tells the same story in every pharmacy: "I feel tired, exhausted and want to strengthen my immune system." The advice: different in every pharmacy.

"Here I got a preparation made from vitamin C and vitamin D. This is a drinkable powder that you can dissolve. The pharmacist said it was very good for my immune system. But he didn't ask me anything about my diet or my blood values . "

Veronika Keller, reporter

Go on to the next pharmacy.

"Now the pharmacist has said that I should definitely try these capsules. He has been taking them for a year and has never been sick. This is such an all-round preparation with all sorts of minerals and vitamins. However, I have now paid 27 euros for 60 capsules . Pretty expensive."

Veronika Keller, reporter

High-dose preparations can even harm the body

Veronika Keller brings the yield of preparations from ten pharmacies and the drugstore to nutrition expert Daniela Krehl.

"Actually, these preparations are of no use, because most people in Germany are well supplied with vitamins and minerals. It's pure money-making."

Daniela Krehl, nutrition expert, Bavarian Consumer Center

Could the products even harm if you take them over a long period of time?

"The products are sometimes very highly concentrated. With this product with vitamin E, you basically have more than 10 times more ingredients than you need every day. And I have to see that I still eat normally The so-called fat-soluble vitamins can then also accumulate in the body and become really dangerous. "

Daniela Krehl, nutrition expert, Consumer Center Bavaria

Magnesium - what's the point of the extra dose?

Studies show that long-term, high-dose intake of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K significantly increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Even with trace elements such as iron or zinc, too high a dose can be toxic in the long term and lead to gastrointestinal diseases. The favorite among nutritional supplements is magnesium. It is said to prevent cramps and relax the muscles.

But do you need the extra dose of magnesium or is it completely superfluous? To find out, Veronika Keller takes a blood test at the doctor. Her blood values ​​are compared with the values ​​of Anita Grundbacher and Mikele Schuldt. Anita does sport, has a healthy diet and has been taking magnesium every day for ten years. Mikele neither pays attention to his diet nor does he use dietary supplements.

"It's not the case that the doctor has prescribed this for me. But my mom takes it too and I just have the feeling that I'm better. Especially when I take this in the evening before bed, I feel than when I can sleep better. I don't know whether it will help or not because everyone says something different. But I just have the feeling that it helps me. "

Anita Grundbacher, takes dietary supplements

Diarrhea from too much magnesium

At the Center for Nutritional Medicine in Munich, Dr. Bishop the three.

"Magnesium is water-soluble, which means that if I take too much I can get diarrhea on the one hand because it has a laxative effect and on the other hand my body is a little more stressed because I then have to excrete everything through the kidneys, which I have to do from the start actually didn't need it at all. "

Dr. Gert Bischoff, Center for Nutritional Medicine, Munich

The result: all within the normal range

Dr. Bischoff takes a blood count of Mikele, Anita and Veronika Keller. The results:

"Anita, you can see that your magnesium is in the normal range. You also take it. But with the other two it is also in the normal range. And otherwise: sodium, potassium, iron, everything normal for all three."

Dr. Gert Bischoff, Center for Nutritional Medicine, Munich

The values ​​are actually quite similar: Veronika Keller's value is 0.79 millimoles / per liter. Anitas at 0.81 and Mikeles at 0.77. Are dietary supplements completely pointless then?

"Reasons why you can take it are: If I really have symptoms of a deficiency symptom. For example, if I have severe anemia, that can be an indication of an iron deficiency. Then of course I should take iron. Or in people who If you have osteoporosis, calcium and vitamin D can be useful. But if you eat normally and have no symptoms or a detected deficiency in your blood values, then they are completely unnecessary. "

Dr. Gert Bischoff, Center for Nutritional Medicine, Munich

Balanced diet: vital salad

A balanced diet is completely sufficient. Veronika Keller prepares a salad with Daniela Krehl that contains all the important nutrients.

"This is our multivitamin tablet in the form of food. And the great thing is that there are many other substances in it that we do not find in effervescent tablets. Such as: fiber, secondary plant substances that have a positive bioactive effect on our health."

Daniela Krehl, nutrition expert, Bavarian Consumer Center

Vegetables in particular contain many vitamins. 50 grams of carrots cover the daily requirement of vitamin A. And: Just one pepper contains the entire daily ration of vitamin C. Where is there a particularly high amount of magnesium?

Nuts are magnesium bombs

"Definitely in whole grain products like bread. But oatmeal also has a lot of magnesium. And nuts. These are real magnesium bombs. It doesn't matter whether it's hazelnuts or walnuts. There is really a lot of magnesium in them."

Daniela Krehl, nutrition expert, Consumer Center Bavaria

Linseed oil scores with a high content of omega-3 fatty acids, which strengthen the cardiovascular system. And dairy products, like cottage cheese, provide plenty of calcium.

"It's actually very easy to eat healthily. You don't need any nutrients in tablet form."

Veronika Keller, reporter