Time and again, the positive effects of micronutrients (e.g. vitamins and minerals) are downplayed and the taking of such preparations is almost ridiculed. Especially in times like these, when people are looking for natural products that could support their body, especially their immune system, it seems to be the strategy of the pharmaceutical industry and Co to keep people away from food supplements as much as possible or even to scare them away from them. Unfortunately, certain media get involved and publish very one-sided information, which is supported by equally one-sided studies
For example, the report published in February 2022 in the “Health Tip” with the title: “Pills, which one can save oneself – Vitamin preparations bring healthy nothing – that shows a new study ” It is about a review study, which is to prove that multivitamin preparations are of no use against respiratory infections
There one reads finally: Who wants to protect itself against cold and CO., should not trust therefore in preparations. Nutritionist Sabine Rohrmann of the University of Zurich says: “It doesn’t work to just throw in a few tablets.” The immune system needs a wide variety of nutrients, not just individual vitamins and minerals. Health tip doctor Thomas Walser also says: “Preparations do not replace a healthy lifestyle.” This includes a varied diet and sufficient sleep
I basically agree with this, but would like to add to it. Of course, there is no point in just “popping pills,” as Ms. Rohrmann somewhat disparagingly puts it. I do not call the preparations “tablets”, because by it I understand medicines (of which, by the way, very many people, prescribed by doctors, “throw in” in heaps, this often connected with various side effects, but that is already again another topic)! I speak of food supplements (NEM). As the word so nicely explains, it is firstly “food” (or what should actually be in it, so that we stay healthy or become so again) and secondly a “supplement”. A supplement to a healthy diet. If, on the other hand, in addition to taking NEM, we eat only fast food, it actually does not bring very much. I therefore also agree with the health tip of “Health Tip” doctor Thomas Walser “supplements do not replace a healthy lifestyle”. If the most we do is move from the apartment to the car and from the sofa to the refrigerator, hardly sleep at night and are constantly stressed during the day, even dietary supplements are of only limited use. A health-conscious lifestyle with a nutrient-rich diet, moderate exercise (preferably in the fresh air), sufficient rest and sleep, and as little stress as possible are necessary if our body is to remain vital and efficient for a long time and our immune system is to function at full speed.
The following recommendation is given in the “Health Tip” (which I would also like to add)
How to protect yourself from infections
- Make sure you have variety on your plate: eat lots of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes. Supplement: Especially the vegetables and fruits (but preferably all foods) should be fresh, seasonal and in organic quality, so that they really contain the important micronutrients that your body (and your immune system) urgently needs and you do not consume harmful toxins if possible!
- Refrain from tobacco and a lot of alcohol
- Sleep seven to eight hours a night. Supplement: Also during the day and especially in the evening, make sure you have times of rest and relaxation (without cell phones and the like).
- Move every day in the fresh air, preferably in sunshine. Supplement: Since the sun does not always shine, go outside even in bad weather, just dress accordingly. Exercise can also be well implemented practically in everyday life: Walk or bike to work, take the stairs instead of the elevator, etc. Why not combine a meeting with a brisk walk together? Be creative!
- Wash your hands regularly. Don’t reach your face with unwashed hands. Addendum: But make sure you use a skin-friendly soap. Hands that are washed often need additional good care. Hand disinfectants are unnecessary in normal everyday life and are harmful to the skin
- Avoid large crowds. Supplement: Be sure to remember to maintain good relationships, which has a positive effect on your psyche and immune system
- Supplement: Get advice from a professional who knows about vital substances, which NEM are suitable for your case. What I can basically recommend to everyone in our latitudes, even if they feel healthy, is vitamin D (approx. 5000 IU/day) and omega-3 fatty acids (approx. 2g/day in a high-quality fish oil)
Where I have to rigorously disagree with the “health tip” and similar reports is the statement that these tips are enough and one should save the supplements! Unfortunately, it is nowadays so that one does not come with healthy nutrition alone on a sufficient quantity of needed micronutrients. Although doctors and other health care professionals emphasize this time and again, it is simply an old story (it may have been true 100 years ago). In the meantime, however, our food has changed dramatically due to intensive conventional farming; not only does it contain significantly fewer nutrients, but it is also contaminated with pesticides. Organic products are much better, but even these plants do not grow under a “protective cover”. Our lifestyle has also changed massively. We move much less than our great-grandparents, are exposed to much more stress and have to live with a lot of pollutants (exhaust fumes, electrosmog, pesticides, etc.) than any generation before us. In order to detoxify, our body needs all the more micronutrients!
With such reports besides to the corroboration often and gladly to studies one refers. Of course, studies are good and important, but unfortunately they are often very one-sided and influenced by the “client” and his convictions and intentions. For example, a study supported by the pharmaceutical industry will hardly have the goal to let relatively inexpensive dietary supplements come off well. It is not uncommon for studies that put certain micronutrients under the microscope to simply set their dosage far too low, so that the results are actually sobering. Often we need a significantly higher amount of the substances than is recommended to us by the medical profession, especially if one is already ill. In the “health tip one reads about the overview study consulted for the report.
But now a large overview study from the Netherlands shows: Such products hardly prevent colds and other respiratory infections such as flu, pneumonia or covid. Study author Berber Vlieg of the OLVG hospital in Amsterdam and her team evaluated 63 studies with about 200000 adults and children. The conclusion: “The preparations do not protect healthy people or protect them only slightly.”
Now it is however in such a way that there are also hundreds of studies to be read up, which supply positive, partly even amazing facts to individual micro nutrients. On the Internet, for example, anyone can search for studies at pubmed.gov (simply enter the desired micronutrient in the search field). There you can try to form your own opinion, because you will always find “positive” as well as “negative” results
For example, you can find many studies on vitamin D alone in relation to respiratory diseases, which prove that such infections can be avoided or that the disease is at least milder
What is also important to mention is which product to choose. Supplements are not supplements, quality varies widely and unfortunately some manufacturers are also more after money than your health! The food market is huge and it is often not easy for customers to keep track. Here it is important to find a supplier that you trust. Are the ingredients of high quality and are there really enough of them in a product? Transparency, scientificity and good customer service are certainly important points to consider here. As a customer/customer, please be sure to compare the offers and ask if you are unsure