Nutritional supplements have gained in popularity in Germany. Parents are spending roughly 30 Million Euros a year for vitamin tablets and fish oil capsules, thinking they are making an extra effort for their child’s nutrition. The Stiftung Warentest on the other hand suggests that these supplements are unnecessary at best.
What do they have, that a balanced nutrition doesn’t
A balanced nutrition, based on foods including whole grain, fruit and vegetable doesn’t need complementation and is certainly not replaceable. Supplements often include too many nutrients, that are essential, but only in normal doses. The otherwise essential vitamins A, D and E can even be dangerous if overdosed. Beyond this, many supplements also create completely unnatural combinations and it is questionable what kinds of side effects these can have, especially in children. And quite frankly, there really isn’t a need in the first place for these, if parents adhere to basic and balanced nutritional principles. Minerals such as zinc and iron should ideally be absorbed through the day-to-day food. As long as this can be guaranteed, there is no need for supplements. In this lies the simple realisation: Deficiencies resulting from an inadequate nutrition cannot just be compensated for. Cut out those deficiencies and go with balanced food – this offers all the vitamins and minerals that your child needs. Adopting the right habits early on therefore, is the simplest solution.
If for some reason your child has not been able to absorb some essential nutrients, you should consult your paediatrician. In this case supplements can help correct a short-term deficiency on the way to getting back to a balanced diet.