There are currently no agreed upon guidelines to determine how much nutrients and vitamins you need. A team of Europeans scientists have started a project to help determine how much of what you will need, and to build a comprehensive system incorporating their data.
It has become apparent that you need to get your fill of vitamins and minerals during the whole year, which is especially important during the winter season. You may find it difficult to find sufficient quantities of fresh fruits and vegetables, which is a problem, as you need them more during this season, as our immune systems are working overtime to fight off the many microbes that live in this weather. Many people solve this situation by taking vitamin supplements, but this can also be problematic, as the actual amount of vitamins and minerals in these pills can be quite different from the amounts written on the boxes containing them.
The answer is complicated. Depending on what European country you are in, you will get a different recommendation for each vitamin. Certain components can have up to a 100% difference from country to country. The lack of a unified opinion on this matter often results in confusion on the part of consumers, and this is why the EU has created a commision called the EU FP6 EURRECA (European Micronutrients Recommendations Aligned), to deal with the issue and to come up with a standardized and easily digestible (pun intended) system of clarification over a six year period. The founders of the project say that a clarification is needed now more than ever, as the population of the EU is becoming so diversified and mobile.
The researchers started by comparing all of the daily recommendations to one another. They realized that massive discrepancies were to be found in the recommended amounts of iron, folic acid, D-vitamin, vitamin B12, zinc, calcium, C-vitamin, selenium, iodine and copper needed. The work being done right now seems to be a clarification of the amounts needed, and of course, reaching a consensus that is easy to understand.
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