Consumer Center Clarifies: How Safe and Effective Are Dietary Supplements?

With the “Plain Text Food Supplements” website, the consumer advice centers want to educate consumers about the benefits and harms of food supplements. More on this here.

The consumer center writes plain text

Dietary supplements are in high demand. In Europe, Germany is one of the countries with the largest markets for Dietary supplements (NEM). According to the latest Forsa survey, 83 percent of dietary supplement buyers believe in a positive effect and 55 percent believe that the products are government tested.

Both assumptions are not entirely correct. So far, it has not been possible to confirm or rule out the positive effect for most of them. Additionally, supplements are not tested by the state for effectiveness or safety. They are not considered drugs, but rather nutrients in concentrated form and are only intended to supplement the diet.

“Plain text food supplements” would like to bridge the gap here. On the website, consumers will find information about the risks and potential benefits of supplements, references to fake reviews, texts from target groups, podcast episodes, and interesting facts about production or health insurance reimbursement. A central part of the website is consumer advisories that provide information about dangerous supplements or supplements that have been withdrawn from the market by manufacturers.

Who needs supplements?

Still the most effective - natural vitamins.
Still the most effective – natural vitamins.
(Photo: CC0 / Pixabay / Silviarita)

The consumer advice center writes that German citizens are usually sufficiently supplied with nutrients. Other experts agree: who themselves balance diet, supplies the body with enough nutrients. Also, supplements cannot make up for a poor diet.

The consumer center and other media (eg Die Zeit) list the results of large studies: There is no additional benefit from taking supplements and cannot be equated with the natural intake of vitamins and trace elements.

Formats like write that none of the above studies can be trusted. Either subjects who were already well supplied with vitamins were selected, or the studies were conducted by the nutritional supplement companies themselves. Also, some of the methods are invalid. The bottom line is that it is very difficult to establish a clear cause and effect relationship due to the many influences on disease and health.

So NEM is completely unnecessary? There are people for whom a higher intake of nutrients in the form of NEM may be useful. These include:

  • pregnant women
  • old people
  • underweight people
  • People with chronic diseases such as Crohn’s disease.
  • in severe inflammation

However, it is advisable to seek medical advice first.

utopia says: Deficiency symptoms can occur when someone eats poorly over a long period of time. That’s why it’s important to eat a variety of foods. If taking NEM becomes a problem, it is important to know the quality of the composition. Under normal circumstances, supplementation is not necessary and can even be harmful if taken in overdose. However, many studies indicate that many people are deficient in Vitamin D note Supplementation after a doctor’s consultation could be helpful here.

Also, vegans should B12 vitamin supplement as it is not found in sufficient amounts in plant-based foods. By the way: Vitamin B12 in meat often also comes from NEM, which is fed to animals. more about this here.


** marked with ** or orange underline Some links to supply sources are affiliate links: If you buy here, you actively support, because we then receive a small part of the proceeds from the sale. More information.

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