Vitamins & Minerals

A sufficient supply of micronutrients is not only important for athletes, but also essential for every non-athlete.

Ultra A-Z contains an A-Z multivitamin formula as well as minerals, trace elements and secondary plant extracts in practical tablet form.

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Essential regulating substances for the organism

Contribute to functional metabolic processes & body functions

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Everything about vitamins, minerals and trace elements

General Information

The human organism not only needs macronutrients (proteins, fats and carbohydrates), which supply the body directly with energy. Many vital metabolic processes are dependent on so-called micronutrients. Micronutrients are nutrients that do not provide energy but are nevertheless indispensable for the metabolism of living organisms. They include vitamins, minerals and trace elements.

To ensure a sufficient supply of micronutrients, the DGE (German Society for Nutrition) recommends the daily consumption of 5 portions of fruit and vegetables. Nowadays, very few people are likely to actually consume these quantities. Anyone who falls short of this recommendation runs the risk of not being sufficiently supplied. However, this recommendation does not yet take into account additional requirements, such as those of athletes. In these cases, supplements can supplement the diet in a meaningful way, because a sufficient supply of micronutrients is of paramount importance for the functioning of the human organism.

Among other things, many micronutrients play a decisive role in the metabolism of the energy-supplying macronutrients. However, the functional spectrum of micronutrients goes far beyond this and is explained in more detail in the following individual presentations.

Vitamins

The human body is dependent on the vitamin supply through nutrition, as it is not able to produce vitamins on its own. The only exception is vitamin D. This is the only vitamin that the human organism is able to produce itself in relevant quantities. Due to this initial situation, a varied and balanced diet is important, because fresh fruit and vegetables, cereals and dairy products as well as meat and fish can cover the daily vitamin requirements.

The vitamin requirement

The vitamin requirements of humans are subject to various factors. One group that has an increased vitamin requirement is athletes. This applies to recreational athletes and even more so to competitive athletes or people who engage in sports at a high performance level. But pregnant and breastfeeding women also have a higher vitamin requirement than average. The same applies to growth phases and people who are exposed to stress situations. Smokers, for example, also have an increased need for vitamins. As mentioned at the beginning, this German Nutrition Society (DGE) recommends 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day to cover the vitamin requirement, among other things.

The difference between fat and water-soluble vitamins

Vitamins are basically divided into two groups: Water-soluble (hydrophilic) vitamins and fat-soluble (lipophilic) vitamins. Fat-soluble vitamins include vitamins A, D, E and K. These are fat-soluble vitamins, as they should ideally be taken in with fat. Fat ensures that these vitamins can be better absorbed by the intestines. All B vitamins and vitamin C are called water-soluble vitamins.

For a detailed presentation of all vitamins and information on their benefits and recommended intake, please visit Vitamins.

Minerals

Minerals or mineral substances are vital inorganic nutrients. On the one hand, minerals are needed by the organism as building material and on the other hand they take over important tasks in the human body. As the human body is not able to produce minerals itself, it is essential that they are taken in with food. As with vitamins, a varied and balanced diet is the best basis for ensuring a sufficient supply of minerals.

Minerals are divided into two groups according to their quantity requirements.

Bulk elements

Bulk elements are minerals that the body needs in quantities of several grams per day. Among the best known and most important quantity elements are:

Potassium

The bulk element potassium contributes to normal functioning of the nervous system as well as to normal muscle function. Potassium has also been shown to support the maintenance of normal blood pressure. Adults are recommended to take 4000mg potassium daily. This recommendation applies from the age of 15. A lack of potassium can manifest itself in the form of muscle weakness or heart stuttering or other heart dysfunctions. In addition, concentration disorders and constipation are possible.

Calcium

Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the human body. Among other things, calcium is needed to maintain normal bones and teeth. Calcium also supports normal energy metabolism and muscle function. Calcium also contributes to normal blood clotting and the normal functioning of digestive enzymes. The German Society for Nutrition (DGE) recommends that adults consume 1000 - 1200mg per day. A short-term lack of calcium can cause muscle cramps and sensory disturbances. A permanent lack of calcium can manifest itself in brittle bones, as the body stores calcium in the bones and releases it into the bloodstream as needed. The consequences can be: osteoporosis, rickets, cataracts and muscle weakness.

Magnesium

Magnesium is a true all-rounder and is particularly popular among athletes. This is not least because taking magnesium is popular for cramps, as magnesium has been proven to contribute to normal muscle function. Magnesium also supports normal energy metabolism and contributes to normal protein synthesis. It has also been proven that magnesium helps to maintain normal bones and teeth, as well as reducing fatigue and tiredness. Magnesium also supports normal mental function. The German Society for Nutrition certifies a daily requirement of 300 - 400mg for adults. A lack of magnesium can result in muscle cramps (mainly in the calves), muscle tensions. Other possible consequences are nervousness or restlessness, headaches and stomach aches or even depressive moods and heart rhythm disturbances.

Sodium

Sufficient sodium is essential for the human body. Sodium is important for muscle work, heart rhythm and for the transmission of nerve impulses. Sodium also plays a major role in the distribution of water in the body. The sodium content in the body is mainly related to the absorption and excretion of fluid. The sodium concentration in blood serum is not usually caused by too little or too much intake, but is determined by the water balance. If the organism absorbs too much water or excretes too little, the amount of sodium in the body is diluted. The result is that the sodium levels drop. The sodium concentration increases again if too little water is drunk or too much water is excreted. This in turn ensures that the sodium present is more concentrated. Heavy sweating during exercise can also cause the sodium levels to increase. On the other hand, it is also possible that athletes who sweat a lot and at the same time consume large amounts of low-sodium fluids may have low sodium levels.

As a rule, the sodium level in serum is within narrow limits (135 - 145 mmol/l). Too high sodium values should be avoided as well as too low values. Symptoms such as confusion, cramps or even the onset of coma can occur if the sodium levels are too high. Personality disorders, confusion, headaches and unconsciousness can occur if the sodium levels are too low.

Phosphorus

The quantity element phosphorus supports a normal energy metabolism. In addition, phosphorus helps to maintain normal bones and teeth. In addition to these scientifically proven effects, phosphorus also supports the normal function of the cell membrane. The German Society for Nutrition recommends that adults take in 700mg of phosphorus daily. This recommendation applies from the age of 19. Signs of phosphorus deficiency are bone softening and an impaired nervous system. A functional disorder of the kidneys and the red and white blood cells can also occur if too little phosphorus is taken in. However, a phosphorus deficiency is unlikely with a sensible diet.


Trace elements

Trace elements bear their name because they are only needed by the body in very small quantities. Nevertheless, these quantities are indispensable for a fully functional metabolism and must be supplied in sufficient quantities. Like minerals, trace elements are inorganic compounds. The basis for a sufficient supply of trace elements is a varied and balanced diet. Among the best known trace elements are:

Chromium

Chromium has many important functions in the human body. For example, chromium not only contributes to a normal metabolism of macronutrients, but also supports the maintenance of a normal blood sugar level. The DGE (German Society for Nutrition) recommends a daily amount of 30 - 100µg for adults. An undersupply of chromium increases the insulin circulating in the body. As a result, the tolerance to sugar or glucose is reduced. As a consequence, symptoms similar to those of diabetes can occur.

Iron

The trace element iron supports normal energy metabolism and helps to reduce fatigue and tiredness. Iron is also involved in the formation of red blood cells and haemoglobin and supports the normal functioning of the immune system. Iron also supports normal cognitive function and normal oxygen transport in the body.

These effects show how important iron is for the human organism. The mineral iron is of particular importance for women, because iron deficiency mainly affects women. The cause lies in the monthly period, during which iron is lost in the blood. Women have a daily requirement of about 15mg. In comparison: Men only have a daily requirement of about 10mg. In addition to women, vegans and vegetarians also belong to a risk group with regard to iron deficiency. This is because iron is mainly found in meat and fish. However, there are also vegetable sources of iron in the form of oat flakes, wheat bran and legumes. Iron deficiency can be manifested by paleness, cracks in the corners of the mouth, brittle nails or grooves in the nails. Other symptoms may include headaches, dizziness, irritability, concentration problems, fatigue, loss of appetite, digestive problems and constipation.

Iodine

Iodine is particularly important for the thyroid gland and has been shown to contribute to the normal production of thyroid hormones. In addition, iodine also supports the normal function of the thyroid gland. Iodine also contributes to normal cognitive function, normal energy metabolism and normal functioning of the nervous system. Iodine also plays a role in the appearance of the skin, as iodine supports the maintenance of normal skin.

On the part of the German Society for Nutrition (DGE) the recommendation for adults is to take in 200µg of iodine daily. This amount applies to women and men from the age of 13 years.

An iodine deficiency can have the following consequences: Over- or under-functioning of the thyroid gland, goitre, disturbed growth and development and reduced fertility.

Copper

Copper unfolds manifold effects in the human organism. On the one hand, copper supports the maintenance of normal connective tissue and normal energy metabolism. Furthermore, copper supports the normal functioning of the nervous system and helps to protect cells from oxidative stress. Copper also plays an important role for the immune system, as its normal function is supported by the trace element. Copper also plays an important role for other trace elements, as copper contributes to normal iron transport in the body. For adults the DGE (German Society for Nutrition) recommends 1.0 - 1.5mg/day. A slight copper deficiency is considered unproblematic, as far as known to date. However, a severe copper deficiency can have serious consequences. In addition to loss of appetite and a consequent loss of weight, there may be pigment disorders affecting skin and hair. The function of the central nervous system, the functions of the immune system and the growth and skeleton can also change. A copper deficiency also reduces the absorption of iron, which can lead to a disruption in blood formation.

Manganese

Manganese has been shown to support normal energy metabolism and contribute to normal connective tissue formation. Manganese is also able to protect cells from oxidative stress and help maintain normal cooking. Adolescents and adults are recommended to take in 2.0 - 5.0 mg manganese daily. As far as deficiency symptoms are concerned, these are hardly known in humans.

Selenium

The trace element selenium is a building block in sperm cells and as such has been proven to support normal sperm formation. In addition, selenium has been shown to help maintain normal hair and nails. Selenium's supporting contribution to a normally functioning immune system should not go unmentioned. Selenium is also able to support normal thyroid function and help protect cells from oxidative stress.

The German Nutrition Society (DGE) estimates the daily requirement of selenium for adults at 60 µg (applies to women from the age of 15) and 70 µg (applies to men from the age of 15).

A lack of selenium can lead to a feeling of constant tiredness as well as to a general drop in performance. It can also result in an increased susceptibility to infections and a generally weakened immune system. Since selenium is relevant for sperm formation, a deficiency can lead to reduced sperm formation and even infertility. The following symptoms are also known: Hair loss, changes in the joints or reduced bone growth (Kashin-Beck disease) and a disease of the heart muscle (Keshan disease).

Zinc

Zinc is one of the best-known trace elements and is involved in over 300 metabolic processes. Zinc is particularly popular with athletes because it has been shown to contribute to normal testosterone levels in the blood and a normally functioning immune system. In addition, zinc supports the metabolism of macronutrients, which specifically refers to protein, carbohydrate and fat metabolism. Normal fertility and reproduction is also supported by zinc. It is particularly interesting for women that zinc helps to maintain normal nails and hair. The maintenance of a normal skin condition is also supported by zinc. The German Society for Nutrition recommends a daily zinc intake of 7mg (women) and 10mg (men) for adults. A lack of zinc can manifest itself in a weakening of the immune system, hair loss, cracked and dry skin as well as brittle hair and nails. In addition, poorer wound healing and skin inflammation can occur. Men can suffer impotence and in general, reduced performance can be the result.