Whether you are a vegan, a competitive athlete or a pregnant woman, the use of nutritional supplements should be well considered and should suit your own situation.
Oxidative stress in the body increases with endurance exercise. “Free radicals are formed, which stimulate muscle growth. Antioxidant vitamins such as A, C and E are needed to counteract them,” says Riedl.
All B vitamins support the processes of energy provision, iron in turn promotes the oxygen supply of the body. Physician Riedl advises having the status checked regularly.
Smokers have an increased need for vitamin C because free radicals stress the body. At the same time, tobacco consumption inhibits the absorption of vitamin C from the intestine. But simply supplementing the substance in high doses doesn't work.
Studies show that this can increase the risk of cancer in smokers. “Even a small red bell pepper, 500 milliliters of orange juice or 300 grams of spinach can meet the daily vitamin C requirement,” says Riedl. But it would be much healthier to stop smoking.
If digestion is disturbed, as in the case of celiac disease or Crohn's disease, the absorption of nutrients suffers. However, nutritional supplementation should always be done in consultation with a physician, Riedl emphasizes. Among other things play disease phase. Physical condition plays a role.
In celiac disease, nutritional supplementation is very important after diagnosis until the mucosa has regenerated. There is usually a deficiency of iron or zinc. The same applies if parts of the intestine have been surgically removed. Nutritional counseling is then mandatory.
Vegans should keep an eye on their supply, especially of vitamin B12 and iron. Although iron is found in whole grains, legumes and vegetables, its availability to the body is more effective from meat.
Simple solution: “If you combine foods containing iron with foods rich in vitamin C, such as peppers, cabbage or citrus fruits, you improve absorption,” says physician Riedl.
Polyphenols, which are found in coffee, tea and red wine, on the other hand, tend to be avoided. They inhibit the absorption. Vegetarians who practice endurance sports often have an increased need for iron.
Vitamin B12 should be supplemented either with preparations from the pharmacy or fortified juices, flakes and milk alternatives, says Riedl. There is even toothpaste with vitamin B12.
“Micronutrients and drugs compete for the same metabolic pathways,” explains pharmacist Rippe. Many medications inhibited formation and utilization of micronutrients in the body, such as stomach acid blockers for heartburn and stomach ulcers. This alters digestion and makes it more difficult to absorb vitamin B12 from food.
The birth control pill is also considered a micronutrient robber: “It lowers blood levels of folic acid, vitamin C and magnesium, among other things,” Rippe says. And type 2 diabetics who take metformin for a long time have an increased risk of B12 deficiency. Rippe advises to supplement these substances while they are still ingested.