The term “food supplements” covers a range of products consisting of nutrients or other substances with a nutritional or physiological effect and usually containing a large quantity of these substances. Dietary supplements may contain, for example, vitamins, minerals, trace elements, amino acids, dietary fibres, plants or herbal extracts. As a rule, food supplements are taken in dosed form as capsules, tablets, powders or other non food-typical dosage forms in measured quantities.
Dietary supplements are not medicines but foods that are used to supplement the normal diet. Since they fall into the category of foodstuffs, they must above all be safe and must not have any side effects. In contrast to pharmaceuticals, food supplements do not go through a licensing procedure and are only subject to compulsory registration with the Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL).
The manufacturers are responsible for the safety of the products, while the food monitoring authorities of the federal states are responsible for monitoring the food supplements. An excessive intake of vitamins and minerals can have a negative effect on health, for example, in some cases an overdose can be harmful (e.g. of vitamin A). Recent studies indicate that too many older people take food supplements in excessive doses and overdoses of magnesium and vitamin E in particular. Depending on the region of origin, dietary supplements differ significantly in terms of their composition and purpose. In Germany, dietary supplements are not allowed to fulfill any therapeutic benefit, whereas in the USA, for example, many products are available that would be considered drugs in Germany.
Vitamins and provitamins
Vitamins are needed by the human body for vital functions. They cannot be produced in sufficient quantities by the body itself and must therefore be taken in with food. Some vitamins are supplied to the body in the form of precursors (so-called provitamins) and are only then converted into their active form.
Vitamin D can be produced by the organism itself, provided that there is sufficient exposure to sunlight, and together with calcium and vitamin K it is important for the healthy functioning of bones, muscles, nerves and the immune system. Vitamin A is involved in the visual process and has an influence on reproduction and thyroid gland activity. Vitamin K is important for blood coagulation, the various classes of vitamin B mainly contribute to carbohydrate, protein and fat metabolism.
Folic acid is needed for blood formation and plays a role in growth and development, biotin is a component of important enzymes. Vitamin C is important for the formation of teeth, bones and connective tissue, for the healing of wounds and injuries and improves the absorption of iron from food. However, the intake of high-dose vitamin preparations as dietary supplements can also be dangerous for the human body.
A balanced diet is usually sufficient to supply the body with sufficient amounts of the essential vitamins. If a vitamin deficiency is detected, individual vitamins can be supplied in the correct quantity, this should always be discussed with a doctor.
- Amino acids
- Weight Gainer
- Tribulus terrestris