Are we sufficiently supplied with essential vitamins through food, e.g. B. to prevent a vitamin D deficiency – or not? Can you overdose on vitamins? Praxisvita explains when vitamin D preparations and similar vitamin pills help and where caution is required.
Vitamin D supplements
Vitamins are vital: vitamin D for the bones, vitamin C for the immune system, vitamin A for the eyes and skin, and vitamin E to protect cells from toxins. To prevent a vitamin D deficiency, you should sunbathe for about ten minutes a day, if possible, so that the body can produce vitamin D. However, the body cannot produce most of the vitamins itself – they have to be ingested through food. This usually works better than you think: Studies show that a normal mixed diet contains enough vitamins. In addition, more and more products contain extra vitamins – vitamin D preparations can and should therefore be avoided.
Important: In the long term, overdoses of vitamin D preparations can lead to health problems such as headaches, nausea, and dizziness. This also applies to other vitamin pills, especially vitamin A.
Prevent vitamin D deficiency
However, what the body also needs is vitamin D: Experts estimate that most Germans have too little of it in their bodies. Possible consequences are broken bones, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and depression. And: The lower the vitamin D level, the higher the risk of developing colon cancer. It is one of the very few vitamins that the body produces itself. For sufficient production, however, 20 percent of the body surface (e.g. face, hands, arms) must be exposed to sunlight three to five times a week.
Daily requirement: At least 20 μg (micrograms) – this can hardly be covered by the few foods rich in vitamin D (fatty fish, mushrooms, eggs). Vitamin D preparations with 1,000 international units (IU) or 25 μg per day are recommended (no more than 4,000 IU or 100 μg) especially in the winter months. Important: Combined preparations with vitamin D and calcium are not recommended, as they usually contain too much calcium and too little vitamin D.
Other dietary supplements
- Calcium Supplements
Calcium is a very important building block for bones. With a balanced diet, sufficient amounts of the mineral are ingested through food. Only in exceptional cases, such as an intolerance to dairy products, should additional tablets be used. Caution: Studies show that regular intake of calcium supplements can increase the risk of a heart attack by up to 86 percent in the long term – therefore consult a doctor before taking it.
Daily requirement: 1,000-1,200 milligrams (mg) – a third of this is covered by a glass of milk. Vegetables such as kale, fennel, broccoli, and leeks as well as all dairy products are also rich in calcium.
- Mineral iodine
Iodine is necessary for the build-up of hormones in the thyroid gland. With a good supply, it can store up to 10 mg of iodine – which corresponds to the requirement for three months.
Daily requirement: 180-200 μg. If you always use iodized salt and eat 250 g of fresh sea fish or seafood twice a week, you are well taken care of. Important: Pregnant and breastfeeding women often suffer from iodine deficiency. In general, only take iodine tablets after consulting your doctor.
- Mineral magnesium
The mineral is important for the work of the muscles and the transmission of nerve stimuli. Typical deficiency symptoms: muscle cramps.
Daily requirement: 300-400 mg, which is usually covered by food. Important: An increased need in the case of stress, extreme heat, and prolonged gastrointestinal illnesses should definitely be compensated for with preparations. It is best to take magnesium in the evening, which also prevents night cramps.
- Zinc capsules
The trace element zinc plays a key role in the formation of body proteins and connective tissue. It is involved in wound healing, immune defense, and insulin storage. Zinc also ensures a balanced acid-base balance.
Daily requirement: 7 mg (women) or 10 mg (men) – it is usually covered by food. Foods of animal origin are particularly rich in zinc. Signs of deficiency: hair loss and delayed wound healing. Important: Studies show that zinc can significantly reduce the symptoms of a cold. Doctors, therefore, recommend zinc capsules with 20-25 mg at the first symptoms.