Nahrungsergänzungsmittel: Bedeutung in der ärztlichen Praxis
Food supplements in Europe are subject to food safety legislation. They should not be confused with pharmaceuticals. Rather, they are foods, whose purpose is to supplement the normal diet, and represent concentrated sources of nutrients (i. e. vitamins and minerals, including trace elements) or other substances with a nutritional or physiological effect. Nevertheless, it should be kept in mind that consumers may in some cases use food supplements for the purpose of self-medication. In the context of anamnesis, physicians should specifically question their patients about the use of food supplements. This can be of significant relevance for evaluation of possible undesirable or adverse effects, influences on laboratory parameters, or interactions with pharmaceuticals, which may be due to consumption of certain products that are marketed as food supplements. Furthermore, education of patients with respect to the possible benefits and risks related to the use of vitamins, minerals and other constituents of food supplements should be intensified.