When the immune system is intact, infectious diseases become less common, and their progression is weakened. But healthy people also use vitamin supplements and foods with added vitamins and minerals in the hope of doing something good for their bodies. But how useful are vitamin supplements, and does it make a difference whether you consume natural or synthetic vitamins?
Prevention of a weakened immune system
The first wave of colds is already over, the second will surely come with the next drop in temperature, and the flu sick leave will not belong in coming. What you need now is an intact, strong immune system that can defend itself effectively against external attacks. A healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced diet and adequate exercise can help boost immune defenses. In everyday life, however, many people find it very difficult to implement this advice optimally.
However, those who do not eat a balanced diet are foregoing many important vitamins and nutrients. Then there is a lack of performance, tiredness, and weakness. Smoking also supports the dangerous free radicals on their raids through the body and leads to excessive consumption of vitamins C, E, and beta-carotene. Unfortunately, these vitamins are then no longer available elsewhere. And it’s not just the complexion that suffers. A sufficient intake of these vitamins is therefore highly recommended.
Video: Artificial Vitamins: Healthy or Dangerous?
The renowned British Medical Journal (BMJ) publishes a large comparative study, which shows that no beneficial effects of artificial vitamin preparations can be proven.
Supplementing vitamins, minerals and trace elements makes sense?
The basic support through a suitable multivitamin preparation is therefore provided by the Viennese medical doctor, and internist Prof. Dr. Christian Temml (Emory University, USA) recommended, “because this creates a nutrient base that is sure to prevent an undersupply and, especially in the cold season, is able to significantly strengthen the immune system.
If so-called functional food is eaten at the same time, there can be no harmful oversupply of most nutrients because the body releases all the nutrients that it does not need and cannot store. “
As a rule, people in our part of the world do not have a nutritional deficiency with a normal diet, but in special cases, it makes sense to take food supplements under medical supervision:
- in old age (e.g. with age-dependent macular degeneration)
- during pregnancy (folic acid)
- for chronic diseases (e.g. Crohn’s disease)
- in the prevention of respiratory diseases
- with certain diets and exclusively vegan nutrition (iron and vitamin B12)
Nevertheless, from a nutritional point of view, it is fundamentally sensible to change one’s diet so that the additional intake of vitamin and mineral supplements is not even necessary. Because, according to experts, dietary supplements cannot compensate for a poor diet.
Pointless and useful vitamin tablets and mineral supplements
After the decade-long trend towards dietary supplements, initiated by the American chemist Linus Pauling in the 1970s, more and more studies are now showing uncontrolled vitamin intake in pill form as risky or, at best, unnecessary. There are exceptions, however.
For example, diseases based on iodine deficiency have practically disappeared through the addition of iodine to household salt. It is also useful to take vitamin D in winter. In any case, according to the Robert Koch Institute, around 60 percent of Germans suffer from an undersupply of the “sun vitamin” D – in Austria, it should be similar.
A vitamin D level that is too low increases the risk of osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. For this reason, experts recommend taking 1,000 IU (international units) of vitamin D per day if a vitamin D deficiency is diagnosed. These are taken either in the form of tablets or drops once a day.
Vitamins and minerals are essential for life
The nutritionist Dr. Astrid Laimighofer emphasizes the importance of a sufficient supply of vitamins and minerals and the associated positive effects on the immune system: “Vitamins and minerals are essential for life and must be taken regularly.
Basically, an attempt should be made to cover the need for vitamins through food. However, in many cases, certain lifestyle habits, such as overly one-sided food choices or frequent stressful situations, require additional vitamin intake. The immune system is also armed during the cold season. “
However, this only applies if a blood test reveals vitamin deficiency. Vitamin supplements are of no use to people who are not deficient in nutrients and who are otherwise healthy.
Are Naturally Occurring Vitamins Better Than Man-made Vitamins?
No, synthetic vitamins are used just as well by the body as vitamins from food. The substances are identical and there are no differences to vitamins or minerals from food. Nevertheless, high-quality fruit and vegetables should not be missing on the menu, because they contain the so-called secondary plant substances (SPS). They include, for example, sulfides, thiocyanates, phenolic acids, flavonoids, glucosinolates, and saponins.
It should be noted that food supplements in food can lead to an overdose of vitamins and minerals. The same applies to high-dose combination preparations, they can also damage the body. They can lead to constipation, diarrhea, and gas. Therefore, such preparations should actually only be made with a doctor’s agreement.
Not least because of the quality of the selected products must also be properly assessed. According to the recommendation of the nutritionist Dr. Sonja Schwinger completely dispenses with additives such as magnesium stearate, emulsifiers or fillers, and colorings in dietary supplements. Because these substances have been shown to delay or reduce the absorption of the supplied micronutrients from the intestine. Dr. Schwinger is a member of the Austrian Academic Institute for Nutritional Medicine and runs his own practice focusing on nutritional and holistic medicine.
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