Vitamin deficiencies - when is the danger?

Almost all up and down processes in the body do not run without vitamins, unregulated or too slow. Without sufficient supply of all essential vitamins our body would therefore quickly become unable to live. Vitamins are essential substances that the body can not produce or only in insufficient quantity itself. They must therefore be supplied to the body through food from the outside. In a balanced, varied diet of a healthy metabolism usually enough vitamins and minerals are included so that the need can be met. The most important guideline is the recommended intake, as defined by the German Society for Nutrition (DGE), and different for different ages: from infants to children to adolescents and adults, pregnant and breastfeeding women.

Risk factors for a vitamin deficiency

Our vitamin requirement is increased under certain circumstances. These circumstances include natural as well as age, other circumstances such as pregnancy and lactation or unphysiological effects of drugs, nourishing poisons and pollutants. But also a wrong or one-sided diet and physical stress such. B. Long-term stress or competitive sports can be risk factors for a deficiency of vitamins.

Smoking, too much alcohol, frequent colds, weight loss diets and some medications are considered classic vitamin robbers. So many people have an increased need for vitamins - without knowing it!


With each inhalation, smokers inhale large amounts of carcinogenic particles, which are also loaded with tons of free radicals. Free radicals are caused by metabolic processes in the body, but also by environmental toxins, nicotine or stress. Too much of these aggressive particles can destroy important functions and structures in the body and cause diseases such as atherosclerosis, cancer or rheumatism.

Smokers therefore have - in contrast to non-smokers - an increased need for so-called antioxidants. These are substances that bind free radicals and render them harmless. Of the vitamins, especially the vitamins A, C and E offer protection against free radicals.


The higher the daily consumption of alcohol, the less vitamins are added. If the liver is already damaged by excessive alcohol, the nutrients (and therefore the vitamins) will be used worse. Chronic drinking leads to vitamin deficiencies, especially vitamins A, B1, B6, niacin, vitamin C and folic acid.

Constant stress

People who are exposed to severe stress often also have a vitamin deficit. Long-term stress is wasted on the vitamin reserves - the vitamin C status is often too low, as are vitamins B1, B6 and B12.

Vitamin deficiency in women

Women on average eat healthier than men - at least in terms of their vitamin supply. Nevertheless, vitamin deficiencies are also possible in women.

  • Hormone supplements: In many women, B vitamins and folic acid are deficient candidates when taking hormone supplements. This may be the pill or even a hormone preparation for the treatment of osteoporosis. Countermeasures can be taken with appropriate finished products or selected foods. Rich in B vitamins are liver, yeast, whole grains, dried milk and whey powder, chanterelles; Folic acid is yeast and green leafy vegetables.
  • Slimming diets: The vitamin level generally also decreases with the menu, namely with a reduced diet as part of slimming diets. People who diet frequently should pay particular attention to adequate intake of vitamins E and B.

Vitamin deficiency, according to experience, creeps in with age. This has many causes. Older people often have less appetite and drink too little, in addition, the entire metabolic activity decreases. Sometimes there are also difficulties with preparing food, the taste senses diminish, so that a lot of bland taste. The bottom line is that it leads to a reduced intake of nutrients. Often, senior citizens lack vitamins A and C and B vitamins, especially B12. In people over 75, vitamin deficiency is the rule rather than the exception.

Vitamin deficiencies due to diseases

There are health disorders that lower food and vitamin intake, and others that increase consumption. Reduced food intake Reduces the absorption of nutrients and thus of vitamins

  • loss of appetite
  • Eating, chewing and swallowing disorders (eg if the denture is not sitting properly)
  • Gastrointestinal operations
  • one-sided slimming diets.

Decreased vitamin absorption is reduced absorption from the intestine

  • Hypofunction of the pancreas (pancreatic insufficiency) (digestive enzymes are missing, maldigestion occurs)
  • Disturbed bile flow in liver disease
  • Intestinal infections and inflammations
  • Gastric mucosal regression with absence of intrinsic factor and gastric acidity that leads to anemia due to vitamin B12 deficiency.

In liver cirrhosis, the liver loses its ability to store vitamins. Increased vitamin losses Increased vitamin losses occur

  • chronic diarrhea
  • chronic renal insufficiency
  • hemodialysis

Increased vitamin consumption Increasing the basal metabolic rate as a result of fever, burns, larger wounds or infections increases the need for vitamins.

Conclusion: Vitamins are ...

  • Vital: They prevent typical "deficiency diseases" of humans
  • effective: highly effective in small quantities
  • Specialists: not interchangeable
  • indispensable: The human body can not produce all.
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