The human body requires the supply of energy, essential nutrients and other health-promoting substances with food.
Energy and nutrient requirements vary from person to person and from day to day and depend on many endogenous and exogenous influences. The insufficient or incorrect supply of essential micronutrients through food is increasing, but is rare in Central Europe. Deficiencies are strongly declining. However, they can certainly be found in corresponding risk groups, e.g. with increased requirements in phases of strong growth and in pregnancy, with disease states and old age, with consumption of one-sided diets or with genetically determined metabolic disorders.1
Once the biochemical mechanisms of action were elucidated, the development of deficiency symptoms was understood and the vitamin amounts required to prevent these deficiency symptoms were learned. These findings form the basis for current nutrient recommendations. Since it has now been recognized that certain vitamins have a preventive effect in the context of the development of degenerative diseases (cancer, cardiovascular diseases, dementia, etc.), such aspects have been additionally taken into account for some vitamins in the current intake recommendations, resulting in some higher recommendations than was previously the case.2
1 Vitamins, trace elements and minerals. Georg Thieme Verlag, Stuttgart, 2002.
2 Handbook of Vitamins. Urban & Fischer Verlag, Munich, 2008.