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Food supplement test: The test winners at Stiftung Warentest

Preparations for pregnant women and vegans

Daniel Nusser

Those who eat a varied and healthy diet normally provide the body with all the important nutrients. In some cases, however, dietary supplements are useful or even necessary. Stiftung Warentest has tested preparations for pregnant women and for people who follow a vegan diet. Pregnant women have an increased need for vitamins and minerals, vegans, on the other hand, cannot completely absorb all nutrients from plant-based foods.

For both groups of people there are recommended preparations with suitable vitamins and minerals to supplement the diet. Sometimes the daily dose costs less than 10 cents, while some high-dose products are a little more expensive. However, you usually don't pay more than 80 cents a day.

The tests were carried out by Stiftung Warentest and the results were published for the first time in issues 3/2019 (dietary supplements for vegans) and 6/2019 (dietary supplements for pregnant women).

Food supplements tested by Stiftung Warentest

Stiftung Warentest did not find pollutants or other dangerous ingredients in any of the preparations. The experts had a total of 32 food supplements examined in the laboratory and assessed their suitability for the respective purpose. There were devaluations for missing warnings for those substances that should not be added in an uncontrolled manner - for example iron, iodine or vitamin A. The test showed whether the nutrient contents correspond to the values ​​declared on the packaging. The experts also criticized unnecessary additional nutrients in combination preparations.
The result: Of the 15 tested dietary supplements for vegans, Stiftung Warentest rated 10 products as "suitable", including all vitamin B12 preparations, and the rest as "not very suitable". The experts criticize five combination preparations for missing warnings about iodine or iron content and other ingredients with possible risks for certain groups of people.
In a test of 17 food supplements for pregnant women, all preparations with folic acid and iodine or only with folic acid were rated “suitable”. The testers rated eight combination preparations with iron as “suitable with restrictions” because there were no warnings. A dietary supplement was classified as “unsuitable” due to underdosing, but is no longer available.
You can read that in our article: We will introduce you to the food supplements for vegans and pregnant women that have been tested by Stiftung Warentest and rated as “suitable”, and we will show you an overview of the preparations available online. In the following you will learn more about the test procedure and the meaning of the individual ingredients. What you should generally consider when buying dietary supplements, we explain to you in the purchase advice.

Suitable dietary supplements for vegans

Suitable food supplements (available online) in the test by Stiftung Warentest 3/2019

producteffectpriceTo the shop

Avital Veggie Depot Vitamin B12 plus magnesium and folic acid

Vitamin B12 supplement

approx. 0.19 euros per day

Buy from Amazon

Bjökovit vitamin B12 forest fruit flavor

Vitamin B12 supplement

approx. 0.22 euros per day

Buy from Amazon

Jarrow Methyl B-12 cherry flavor

Vitamin B12 supplement

approx. 0.14 euros per day

Buy from Amazon

Alsiroyal Veggie Plus

Combination preparation

approx. 0.36 euros per day

Buy from Amazon

Avital Veggie Depot Vitamins + Minerals

Combination preparation

approx. 0.20 euros per day

Buy from Amazon
Many manufacturers offer food supplements with the target group “vegetarians and vegans”. Vegetarians who do not completely do without animal products can, however, take in all the important nutrients through their food if they have a balanced diet. Deficits can occur, but dietary supplements are not absolutely necessary. Vegans can also get many nutrients from plant-based foods if they plan well. But it doesn't work out completely.
The lack of vitamin B12, which is only found in foods of animal origin, is particularly critical for vegans. Vegetarians can get their supplies from dairy products, but a deficit is possible. Vitamin B12 supplements are therefore essential. These are available in different dosage forms, but there are usually no significant differences in the effect. A high dosage has neither advantages nor disadvantages; the body excretes excess vitamin B12.
Effervescent tablets such as those sold in drugstores are the cheapest. A tablet per day costs less than 10 cents. Vitamin B12 is in the chemical form cyanocobalamin. This must first be converted by the body, which works without any problems. More expensive lozenges are mostly methylcobalamin, while adenosylcobalamin is the most expensive to manufacture. Both forms are absorbed directly by the body. Some "depot" supplements use hydroxocobalamin, this is stored and then slowly converted.

Suitable dietary supplements for vegans tested by Stiftung Warentest

  • Avital Veggie Depot Vitamin B12 plus magnesium and folic acid

    Verdict: Suitable A suitable vitamin B12 supplement to compensate for deficits. A daily dose costs around 0.19 euros.

  • Bjökovit vitamin B12 forest fruit flavor

    Verdict: Suitable A suitable vitamin B12 supplement to compensate for deficits. A daily dose costs around 0.22 euros.

  • Jarrow Methyl B-12 cherry flavor

    Verdict: Suitable A suitable vitamin B12 supplement to compensate for deficits. A daily dose costs around 0.14 euros.

  • Alsiroyal Veggie Plus

    Verdict: Suitable A suitable combination preparation with, among other things, vitamin B12. A daily dose costs around 0.36 euros.

  • Avital Veggie Depot Vitamins + Minerals

    Verdict: Suitable A suitable combination preparation with, among other things, vitamin B12. A daily dose costs around 0.20 euros.

Which preparations are less suitable?

Combination preparations contain other vitamins and minerals in addition to vitamin B12. These are mostly necessary, but generally not harmful. Stiftung Warentest rated three of the eight combination preparations tested as "suitable". The other products have one or more properties that are worthy of criticism. Warnings for the ingredients iodine and iron must be present, as these should not be supplemented in an uncontrolled manner. Vitamin A intake is also not suitable for everyone. Some products show an underdosage or overdosage of the specified ingredients. People with previous health problems have to be careful.

Suitable food supplements for pregnant women

Suitable food supplements (available online) in the test by Stiftung Warentest 6/2019

producteffectpriceTo the shop

Avital Folic Acid 800 Plus

Folic acid iodine supplement

approx. 0.05 euros per day

Buy from Amazon

Think Prenatal

Folic acid iodine supplement

approx. EUR 0.43 per day

Buy from Amazon

Merck Femibion ​​1

Folic acid iodine supplement

approx. 0.72 euros per day

Buy from Amazon

Pharma K Femix Alpha

Folic acid iodine supplement

approx. € 0.53 per day

Buy from Amazon

SteriPharm Folio Forte desire to have children and pregnancy phase 1

Folic acid iodine supplement

approx. 0.07 euros per day

Buy from Amazon

GSE Folic Acid Compact

Folic acid supplement

approx. 0.35 euros per day

Buy from Amazon
Pregnant women have an increased need for vitamins and minerals, some of which can be covered by diet. However, medical professionals recommend supplementing the nutrients folic acid and iodine. A supply of the B vitamin folic acid is harmless and important for cell division and growth processes. An undersupply of iodine can affect the development of the embryo, but iodine supplementation is sometimes not possible in the case of thyroid diseases.
Stiftung Warentest has therefore tested both dietary supplements with folic acid and iodine and products only with folic acid. The testers rated all eight preparations as "suitable". Folic acid and iodine products usually also contain vitamin B12 and other useful ingredients. Pure folic acid is also beneficial. Women who want to have children should start taking it four weeks before conception and continue it until the end of the first trimester of pregnancy in order to minimize the risk of an embryo defect. Even cheap preparations for less than 10 cents per daily dose are suitable, agents with extra additives cost up to 80 cents per day.

Suitable food supplements for pregnant women tested by Stiftung Warentest

  • Avital Folic Acid 800 Plus

    Verdict: Suitable A suitable pregnancy preparation with folic acid and iodine. A daily dose costs around 0.05 euros.

  • Think Prenatal

    Verdict: Suitable A suitable pregnancy preparation with folic acid and iodine. A daily dose costs around 0.43 euros.

  • Merck Femibion ​​1

    Verdict: Suitable A suitable pregnancy preparation with folic acid and iodine. A daily dose costs around 0.72 euros.

  • Pharma K Femix Alpha

    Verdict: Suitable A suitable pregnancy preparation with folic acid and iodine. A daily dose costs around 0.53 euros.

  • SteriPharm Folio Forte desire to have children and pregnancy phase 1

    Verdict: Suitable A suitable pregnancy preparation with folic acid and iodine. A daily dose costs around 0.07 euros.

  • GSE Folic Acid Compact

    Verdict: Suitable A suitable pregnancy preparation with pure folic acid without iodine. A daily dose costs around 0.35 euros.

Which preparations are less suitable?

Some combination preparations for pregnant women exaggerate the ingredients and Stiftung Warentest rates them as only "suitable with restrictions". The products contain iron, but pregnant women should only supplement it if they are demonstrably undersupplied. Corresponding warnings are missing for all nine combination preparations. Some of it contains vitamin A, which should only be supplemented in consultation with a doctor. The other additional ingredients are not necessary, but they are also not harmful. Only the product Pukka Mother Magic Pregnancy was criticized as “unsuitable” because it contained too low a dose of folic acid. However, the preparation is no longer sold.

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