Can magnesium prevent cancer

Dietary Supplements - Who Needs These?

Consumers in Germany spend more than one billion euros on dietary supplements every year. Most of the preparations are useless, at least for people with a normal diet. In the worst case, the often overdosed capsules, effervescent tablets and juices can even be harmful. For certain risk groups and in exceptional situations, however, the supplementation of vitamins and minerals can be useful. We explain to you in which cases the most popular dietary supplements make sense.

Vitamin D

The sun vitamin D is currently the subject of much discussion. It is so called because the body produces most of the vitamin (80-90%) with the help of sunlight. Small amounts can also be ingested through food, especially fatty fish, egg yolks and liver.

It has been proven that vitamin D keeps bones stable and helps preserve teeth. The vitamin is therefore also suitable for the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis.

There is currently no scientific evidence for other claims, for example that the additional administration of vitamin D prevents cancer, diabetes, depression, cardiovascular diseases or infections.

Who needs an extra portion of the sun vitamin?

If you have enough sun in the summer, your depot should last for the winter. Then you don't need to swallow any vitamin D supplements.

It can look different if you have always been treated with a high level of UV protection or have completely avoided sunbathing. The skin also produces vitamin D in the shade, early in the morning or in the evening and even when the sky is overcast, which is why staying in the fresh air is always a bit of a vitamin D shower. But in fact, GPs are seeing more cases of vitamin D deficiency in their practices today than they used to. According to data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), around 60 percent of Germans stay below the recommended value of 50 nanomoles per liter of blood, and almost 20 percent do not even reach half the recommended value. A severe deficiency (below 12.5 nanomoles per liter) is very rare, but dangerous because it leads to demineralization of the bones.

Basically: Do not take vitamin D if you suspect it. Too high a vitamin D level can lead to kidney calcification and kidney stones. The dietary supplement is only recommended if there is actually a vitamin D deficiency. A blood test at the doctor's will clarify the situation.

Risk groups for vitamin D deficiency

If you belong to one of the following risk groups and have a proven vitamin D deficiency, the replacement may well be right and important. The German Nutrition Society currently sets the maximum daily dose at 800 international units (i.E):

Conclusion: Vitamin D only with proven Vitamin D-Take deficiency.
  • Seniors over 70 and the very old often have a pronounced vitamin D deficiency. Because in old age the body can no longer adequately produce the sun vitamin. Older women, nursing home residents and the sick over 80 are at high risk for severe vitamin D deficiency. For this target group, supplementation is really important.
  • People who rarely go outside and never let daylight on larger areas of skin are also at risk. This is why children and adolescents can also have a vitamin D deficiency. The doctor decides to what extent the deficiency needs treatment. Sometimes a change in lifestyle and eating habits can help.
  • Infants in Germany are given vitamin D prophylactically. The reason is obvious: babies should not be exposed to sunlight. In addition, breast milk contains very little of the vitamin that protects the little ones from the dreaded rickets. Incidentally, if this disorder of bone metabolism occurs in adults, it is known as osteomalacia.


It is well known that calcium is important for bones and teeth. The mineral is also needed for the function of muscles and nerves as well as for blood clotting.

Since calcium is found in a number of foods, especially dairy products, you can confidently do without supplementation. As a rule, you will even live more healthily with it: Many calcium supplements are dosed far too high. Overdosing due to a very high calcium intake can lead to kidney stones in the long term, and vascular calcification cannot be ruled out.

The German Nutrition Society sees the red line as a daily total calcium intake of 1,000 mg.

Are you vegan or are you lactose intolerant? Are you a woman past menopause or over 65? Then you belong to a potential risk group for a calcium deficiency. The National Consumption Study II has shown that especially many female adolescents and seniors from 65 years of age fall well below the recommendations.

Conclusion: Eat a diet rich in calcium! Menopause and age are risk factors for one calciumdefect.

In contrast to a vitamin D deficiency, however, you can compensate for deficits in calcium supply relatively easily with ordinary foods. In addition to milk and dairy products, green vegetables such as broccoli and nuts are particularly high in calcium. In addition, many soy products are fortified with calcium. A pro pos vitamin D: The sun vitamin is needed for calcium to get into the cells in the first place. So always get plenty of fresh air.


Magnesium is one of the top sellers among dietary supplements. The mineral is involved in the energy metabolism, muscle and nerve function. If the body lacks it, this can lead to muscle cramps and states of fatigue. With lots of vegetables and whole grains, you don't need magnesium supplements.

Magnesium deficiency can occur particularly in old age and whenever a lot of fluid is lost, for example through drainage and laxatives. Alcoholics and people with gastrointestinal diseases can also suffer from deficiency symptoms. In these cases, supplementation can be useful.

Food supplements containing magnesium are often too high in doses, which can lead to diarrhea and a drop in blood pressure in particular. Always ask a doctor for advice. An additional magnesium intake of 250 mg per day is officially recommended.
Just like for calcium, the following applies to magnesium: An overdose with food is not possible, but it is possible with high-dose food supplements.

Conclusion: Water loss, age and certain medical conditions can prevent supplementation from occurring magnesium make necessary.

Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids, such as those contained in fish oil capsules, are said to have many beneficial properties. They are said to prevent heart attacks and strokes, improve concentration in children and even protect against dementia and cancer. That is overdone. It is scientifically proven that such food supplements regulate blood pressure and contribute to normal brain function, eyesight and heart function. Furthermore, certain acids from the omega-3 family such as alpha linoleic acid (ALA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are important for the healthy development of children and infants.

However, the preparations are not state-tested and can hardly be compared due to the very different ingredients and quantities.

Too much omega-3 fatty acids are not good. The spectrum of possible side effects ranges from nausea and vomiting to an increased susceptibility to infections to an increased risk of bleeding. If your doctor prescribes omega-3s for you, it will be a medicine - not a dietary supplement.

In general, if you have a healthy and wholesome diet, you do not need any omega-3 fatty acid-containing food supplements.

Conclusion: There are more reasons against than forOmega-3 fatty acidcontaining food supplements.

The valuable fatty acids are found in oily fish such as herring, salmon and mackerel, in green leafy vegetables, walnuts and various vegetable oils such as rapeseed oil or linseed oil. The German Nutrition Society recommends that adults consume 1.3 grams of ALA per day, which is equivalent to one tablespoon of rapeseed oil.


It would be too nice to get through the year without a cold. However, it has not been established whether zinc supplements can help you, as is often promised. However, it is undisputed that we depend on zinc. The trace element is involved in practically all life processes and plays a major role in our immune system.

Since zinc is found in many foods and we only need small amounts, zinc deficiency is rare in this country. Rather, there is a risk that we will exceed the recommended maximum daily amount (7 mg for women, 10 mg for men, 11 mg for pregnant women). And that is not without danger: zinc is ultimately a heavy metal and, if overdosed, can lead to symptoms of poisoning and change the white and red blood cells.

Zinc is found mainly in meat, fish, cheese and eggs. You don't eat this because you are vegetarian or vegan? Or are you suffering from severe stress? Then you could potentially have a slight zinc deficiency after all. This risk also arises if you cannot get enough zinc due to chronic gastrointestinal disease. If you use zinc-containing food supplements, please pay attention to the amount: The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) recommends a maximum of 6.5 mg per day.

Conclusion: Overdosing is dangerous. zinccontaining food supplements may be useful in a vegetarian diet.