Vitamin manufacturers critisised for “misleading” consumers

According to researchers at the universities of Oxford and Southampton, some children’s multivitamins being sold in the UK could contain “misleading” information about amount of Vitamin D they actually contain.

The group claim that vitamins being sold in a number of major stores, including Tesco and Boots, aren’t providing enough Vitamin D to meet a child’s daily requirements.

The researchers looked at different vitamin supplements being sold in the UK at the moment, and assessed them for the doses of Vitamin D they provide. They found that around a third met the recommended levels for a child, and the rest fell short.

Vitamin D is essential for the body, and in particular in children, whose bones are still growing. Deficiencies can cause problems including rickets, which leads to weakness, stunted growth, and other bones development issues.

As Vitamin D is usually absorbed into the body through sunlight, it can be easy for people in colder countries to become deficient. Data by the NHS last year showed that there were over 100,000 cases in the UK, which is a 34% increase on the previous year.

Of particular concern to the researchers was that many of these supplements are marketed as being “good for children’s bones”. And although some – around two-thirds – of the products did contain the recommended intake, others contained as little as 50IU of Vitamin D. This is much lower than the 400IU that doctors recommend for children.

The authors noted: “There is a wide range of both multivitamins and vitamin D supplements available for children in the UK, yet most of these do not provide the recommended 400IU/day.”

Dr Jacobs from the Royal College of Paediatrics added that “these products are misleading parents who think they are protecting their children from serious conditions such as rickets, poor growth and muscle weakness.”

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