Children's Vitamins Contain Far More Than Recommended Amounts — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
January 29, 2014

Children's Vitamins Contain Far More Than Recommended Amounts

By Kelly Young

Most children's supplements contain more than the recommended daily allowance for vitamins, according to an analysis of supplement labels in JAMA Pediatrics.

Nearly 200 labels of vitamin supplements geared toward infants and children up to age 4 years were compared with the Institute of Medicine recommendations for vitamin intake. On average, supplements contained more than the recommended daily allowance of every vitamin except D and choline. The amount of biotin in supplements, for example, exceeded the recommended daily allowance or adequate intake level by 5 to 10 times.

The authors conclude: "We contend, based on our analysis, that much of the pediatric vitamin supplementation is not based on IOM recommendations and therefore represents wholesale oversupplementation."

Reader Comments (3)

Erica Ilton, RD, CDN Other Healthcare Professional, Other

Part of the problem lies in the fact that the Daily Value (DV) figures on most vitamin supplement labels do not reflect the most recent recommendations from the IOM. Furthermore, they often do not distinguish needs by age and gender.

Henry Osiecki BSc(Hons); Grad Diploma in Nutrition and Dietectics Other Healthcare Professional, Other, Retired

THe general rule in manufacturing is to put over-average of between 5 and 20% to ensure that label claims are maintain over a 2 year period, as there is loss of vitamin potency with age. In Australia all vitamins are tested for there stability and cannot be released for sale unless they meet label claims of 2 year stability. The concept that vitamins supplementation is just expensive urine is based on ideology rather than science. THe dose requirement will change depending on sickness, environmental conditions, stress, infection, digestion and absorption etc. So the dose needs to be a range not a specific dose. To suggest that the RDA or IOM recommendations that basically determining the requirement of a healthy child but not a sick or stressed child is adequate for all is is poor science and should be corrected

Shishir Gokhale Physician, Infectious Disease, Manipal College of Medical Sciences, Pokhara, Nepal

Most of the manufacturers tend to add excess of vitamins in preparations for they do not wish to be charged with cheating the customers. Something akin to the baker's dozen.

These excess of water soluble vitamins from supplements are excreted out within 24 hours of intake, adding to the ever increasing number of pollutants,( perhaps helping other life forms in water and soil).

I am reminded of my teacher who said about 30 years ago "those who can afford vitamin supplements do not need them while those who need can not afford them."

While thousands of children in developing world are subject to morbidity and mortality due to vitamin deficiencies, tons of vitamins are literally flushed down the drains in developed countries. Such a pity.

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