Vitamins are vital nutritional components that must be supplied to the body with food. They do not provide energy, but are essential for many metabolic processes and for healthy growth and prosperity. In most cases, tiny amounts are enough to achieve enormous results!

Interesting facts from the history of vitamins

It was over 100 years ago when the first vitamin (vitamin B1) was discovered. However, clinical pictures have been known since ancient times, which today are clearly classified as vitamin deficiency symptoms, but at the time they puzzled doctors. They based their entire therapy on observations during the course of the disease and thereby achieved many a healing success. For example, the ancient Egyptians and Greeks found that raw liver helps against night blindness, and none other than the eminent Greek doctor Hippocrates (around 400 BC) successfully used this prescription in patients with vision problems.

Barrels of sauerkraut for seafarers

Scurvy - the result of vitamin C deficiency - spread so devastatingly between 1500 and 1800 that more sailors died of it than in sea battles, accidents or other incidents at sea. In the Middle Ages, scurvy was the second leading cause of death after tuberculosis! Christopher Columbus is said to have already taken casks of vitamin C-rich sauerkraut on his ship trips to avoid scurvy. In 1747, a ship's doctor ordered his seafarers to eat oranges and lemons every day, completely eliminating the disease. At this time, the relationships were still unclear, but all these observations indicated that apart from protein,

Deficiency situations still exist today

In view of the large food supply and widespread over nutrition, there shouldn't be a lack of vitamins and minerals, but the opposite is often the case: We eat more than enough, but often simply the wrong thing! It is not difficult to avoid a vitamin deficiency. If you eat a varied diet and regularly buy fresh fruit, seasonal vegetables, fresh herbs, cereal products and dairy products, a vitamin deficiency is not an issue. There is an increased need for vitamins especially in extreme stressful situations, in pregnant women, in old age and in chronic diseases such as B. Diabetes. The consequences of a lack of vitamins and minerals are manifold, often leading to severe physical and mental disorders.

What vitamins are there?

The vitamins are divided into fat-soluble and water-soluble vitamins according to their solubility. The fat-soluble vitamins can only be taken in combination with fat. Fat-soluble include vitamins A, D, E and K. Water-soluble includes all vitamins of the B complex (B1, B2, B6, B12), niacin, pantothenic acid, folic acid, biotin and vitamin C. Some vitamins can be eliminated a precursor, the so-called provitamin (e.g. ß-carotene to vitamin A).

Some vitamins, especially the fat-soluble or vitamin B12 can be found in the body e.g. they can be stored for a very long time if we consume more than we need. Others such as Vitamin C is excreted in the urine if we ingest too much of it. Overdosing is very difficult here. It also happens that an overdose, especially with the fat-soluble vitamins, can lead to serious complications. Overdoses are practically impossible with food, they can only come about by overusing vitamin supplements.

Vitamin loss through storage and cooking

If you want to eat a diet rich in vitamins, you should not only pay attention to fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables when shopping. Storage and preparation are equally important. Because vitamins are sensitive to many external influences.

That is why the following applies to fresh food: 

  • It is better to buy and consume smaller quantities more often and eat it fresh and keep vegetables in the fridge's vegetable compartment. The main causes of storage losses are namely light, oxygen and too high temperatures.

  • Further losses also arise in the preparation. Because most vitamins are very sensitive to heat. The preparation time is important. When sauteing vegetables or meat for a short time, considerably more vitamins are preserved than when cooking in a saucepan. Many vitamins (and also minerals) also pass into the cooking water and are destroyed there more quickly. Steaming or steaming is therefore better than cooking.

What vitamins are there ?

Vitamins, as the name suggests (vita = life) are vital substances. Without them we would only be viable for a short time. A long-term deficiency in only one of the 13 vitamins can cause serious physical and mental disorders. Overdosing can also lead to serious complications. But do not worry overdoses are practically impossible with food, they can only come about by overusing vitamin supplements.

Vitamins - variety is important

Since our body cannot produce vitamins itself, we have to get them from food. We mainly find some vitamins in fruits and vegetables, while others are mainly found in meat, fish or dairy products. Therefore, a varied diet is the be-all and end-all for optimal care with the vital little ones.

Fat soluble or water soluble

Vitamins are divided into fat-soluble and water-soluble vitamins according to their solubility . The body can only absorb the fat-soluble vitamins in combination with fat. They include vitamins A, D, E and K. The water-soluble ones include all vitamins of the B complex (B1, B2, B6, B12), niacin, pantothenic acid, folic acid, biotin and vitamin C.

Fat soluble vitamins

Important for vision, reproduction and skin. | Pregnant Women 1.1 mg
Lactating 1.5 mg | Vitamin A: sea fish , Egg yolk, Butter, Cheese, Milk.

Important for bone structure, teeth and nervous system. 

Deficiency symptoms: disorders in the bone and nervous system, bone and denture deformities (rickets). 
Special feature: The body can also produce vitamin D itself: Under the influence of UV light, it is converted into active vitamin D in the skin. | 5 mg (200 IU) infants 10 mg (400 IU)
from 65 years of age: 10 mg (400 IE) | Salmon, Sardine, Herring, Cod Liver Oil, Mushrooms.

Free radical scavenger, important for cell protection and the immune system

Deficiency symptoms: weakening of the immune system, with prolonged undersupply, nervous system disorder | 12-14 mg (18-21 IU) lactating 17 mg (25 IU) | vegetable oils, salsify, nuts.

Important for the formation of blood coagulation factors and bones

Deficiency symptoms: blood coagulation disorders, delayed blood clotting. | 60-80 mg
from 50 years: 65-80 mg | Green Vegetables, Cabbage, Lettuce.

Water soluble vitamins

B1 (Thiamine)

Important for energy metabolism and the nervous system. Special feature: Increased need with increased energy supply and with chronic alcohol abuse. Deficiency symptoms: disorders in carbohydrate metabolism, muscle wasting, neurological disorders. Pregnant women 1.2 mg | Breastfeeding 1.4 mg | Pork, Whole Grain Bread and Cereal Products, Potatoes, Legumes.

B2 (Riboflavin)

Important for many biochemical reactions. Deficiency symptoms: growth
disorders , scaly skin, skin inflammation (cracked corners of the mouth) |  Pregnant Women 1.5 mg
Lactating 1.6 mg | Milk and Milk Products, Meat, Fish, Eggs, Mushrooms.

B6 (Pyridoxine)

Important in many enzymatic processes, especially in the amino acid metabolism, for the nervous system, immune defense and blood formation. Deficiency symptoms: scaly dermatitis, neurological disorders. | Pregnant And Lactating Women 1.9 mg | Poultry And Pork, Fish, Legumes, Potatoes, Avocados, Bananas, Bread, Whole Grain Cereal Products.


Important for blood formation and folic acid function. | Pregnant And Lactating Women 3.5 and 4.0 mg | Especially animal foods (Muscle Meat, Fish, Eggs, Cheese, Milk), also Sauerkraut.


Important for amino acid degradation and fatty acid biosynthesis. Deficiency symptoms: dermatitis, weakness, lassitude, muscle pain, loss of appetite, nausea. | 30 to 60 mg | Liver, Egg Yolk, Nuts, Oatmeal, Sardines, Cauliflower, Mushrooms.

Folic Acid

Important for cell division, new cell formation and blood formation, generally for growth and development. Deficiency symptoms: changes in the oral mucosa, diarrhea, reduced antibody formation, anemia | 400 mg Pregnant and Lactating Women 600 mg | Strawberries, Leafy Greens, Spinach, Lettuce, Cabbage, Asparagus, Cereal Products, Legumes.


Important for the build-up and breakdown of carbohydrates, fatty acids and amino acids. Deficiency symptoms: skin and mucous membrane changes, mental disorders | Women 13 mg Men 15-17 mg | Pregnant Women 15 mg Lactating Women 17 mg | Meat, Offal, Fish, Eggs, Milk.

Pantothenic Acid

Important for nutrient degradation and fatty acid synthesis. Deficiency symptoms are not yet known. Contained in almost all foods.    

Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)

Important as a reducing agent, as a radical scavenger for immune defense, as a protection against colds and also for the utilization of vegetable iron. Deficiency symptoms: exhaustion, fatigue, joint and limb pain, loss of performance, bleeding from the oral mucosa and gums, tooth loss, depression, poor wound healing, susceptibility to infections, scurvy | Pregnant Women 110 mg Lactating 150 mg | Fruits And Vegetables (Kiwi Fruit, Oranges, Peppers, Potatoes, Cabbage), Fruit Juices, Lettuce, Herbs.

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