Inadequate micronutrient status is more common than expected
Dietary supplements are key to maintaining health and well-being throughout life cycle
Madrid/Spain – European adults and adolescents often do not get the essential vitamins and minerals needed from their diet, even if it is well-balanced. This is the overall consensus shared by outstanding scientists in the field of micronutrient research, who gathered today at the Universidad Politéchnica de Madrid on the occasion of the first European Nutritionals Press Workshop organized by Bayer HealthCare. The expert panel provided more than 50 media representatives from fifteen European countries with an update on the currently available information and expert knowledge surrounding the importance of vitamin intake and the benefits of specific formulations and combinations of vitamins and minerals. “Dietary supplements are key to maintaining good health and well-being at any age”, said Dr Felix Reiff, Global Head Strategic Business Units Bayer HealthCare Consumer Care, Basel, Switzerland. “In addition, they serve as an integral part of an overall wellness regimen and provide specific health benefits for susceptible groups in the population, such as the elderly or pregnant women.”
Among the speakers were several renowned experts, including Professor Dr Marcela González-Gross, Professor of Sports, Nutrition, and Psychology at the University in Madrid, Spain. At the press conference, she gave further details on the findings of her recent, large-scale international trial which investigated the nutritional status and lifestyle of 3,500 adolescents in ten European countries. The findings underline the fact that inadequate micronutrient status is more common in industrialized populations than is generally assumed. “More than half of the adolescents in the study had sub-optimal vitamin D levels”, said Professor González-Gross. Vitamin D is the precursor of several hormones, which substantially influence the calcium balance in the human body, and is important for a healthy skeletal system. She added that in several European countries, a high prevalence of sub-clinical vitamin B12 deficiency has been observed in adults aged 60 years and over, whereas low folate and vitamin D levels have been detected in subjects at all ages.
By presenting other international studies, Professor Dr David Richardson, University of Newcastle, United Kingdom, highlighted that more than 60 percent of the elderly have deficient dietary intake of vitamin D, E, and folate. Young to middle-aged adults, however, are often lacking vitamin B1, pantothenic acid, and biotin. These deficiencies can provoke a lack of well-being, fatigue, weakness or increased susceptibility to infections. “For a variety of reasons, many people are not achieving the recommended daily amounts for specific essential micronutrients”, said Professor Richardson. “Dietary supplements serve as buffers when daily requirements are not fully met by proper food consumption.” According to Professor Richardson, efforts to encourage individuals to eat a healthier diet must continue, but health professionals and policy makers should also realize that dietary supplements can serve as effective means to ensure micronutrient sufficiency throughout
the life cycle, and thus help to reduce healthcare costs.
In addition to his fellow speakers, Professor Dr David Kennedy, Director of the Brain, Performance and Nutrition Research Center at the School of Psychology and Sport Science, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom, focused on the outcomes of two recently conducted and not yet published clinical trials. These studies analyzed the impact of vitamins and mineral supplements on fatigue and cognitive performance, as well as the healthy functioning of the central nervous system and on psychological dimensions, including cognitive performance, aspects of mood and subjective stress among healthy individuals. Overall, the findings challenge the assumption that the general population has adequate essential nutrient status and suggest that it may be possible to improve cognitive performance, mood and fatigue/energy by increasing micronutrient levels by direct dietary supplementation. “Evidence from epidemiological studies show that endogenous levels of a range of vitamins are positively related to better cognitive performance and negatively related to the incidence of dementia and mood disorders”, said Professor Kennedy.
Dr Meelis Reidla, Global Strategic Business Leader Nutritionals, Bayer HealthCare Consumer Care, Basel, Switzerland, said: “As a leading supplier of dietary supplements, we are pleased to contribute our profound expertise in this field to provide credible and scientifically substantiated health information and products with meaningful and desired benefits to our consumers.” For 75 years, Bayer HealthCare has been focusing on advancing its nutritional brands through means of science and innovation, selecting the right supplements to address specific health benefits. With its top nutritionals brands, the division is a global pace-setter in health and nutrition offering a portfolio which includes multivitamins such as Supradyn®, Supradyn® Vital 50 Plus, Berocca®, One-A-Day®, Flintstones® and specialty supplements such as Redoxon®, Cal-D-Vita®, Citracal® and Elevit® Pronatal.
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