Child supplements ‘mislead parents’ over vitamin D

28 February, 2019 12:00 AM printer

Few children’s multivitamins give the recommended daily vitamin D dose, a study suggests. Researchers from the universities of Oxford and Southampton looked at 64 multivitamins and found only 25%-36% provided the correct dose of 400 IU.

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) said the research was “highly concerning” and products were “misleading parents”. They recommend checking the dosage on the labelling of supplements.

Vitamin D is important to prevent rickets in children, which affects bone growth and can lead to deformities. The main source of vitamin D is sunshine but it is hard to get enough in the UK in autumn and winter.

Cases of rickets in the UK have increased in recent years. And in 2016 Public Health England recommended a daily supplement of 400 IU (international unit) (10 micrograms) of vitamin D for:

• Black and Asian people

• children aged one to four

• babies under the age of one not getting vitamin D through formula milk

• people whose skin has little exposure to the Sun

• everyone else in autumn and winter

The researchers looked at multivitamins and vitamin D supplements marketed at children aged under 12 and sold at Asda, Morrisons, Ocado, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Boots, Holland and Barrett, Lloyds Pharmacy and Superdrug and found:

• Among the 67 multivitamin products, the daily vitamin D dose ranged from zero to 800 IU

• Only one multivitamin was suitable for use from birth - and this supplied 200 IU per day

• For children aged under six months, only one multivitamin contained more than 340 IU.            —BBC