Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Many Kids' Multivitamins Have Too Much Vitamin A

According to a new report by Consumer Labs, several popular brands of children's chewable multivitamins have too much of a good thing -- namely Vitamin A (as retinol).

The culprits were: Hero Nutritionals Yummi Bears, L’il Critters Groovy Gummy Vites, and Trader Darwin’s Children’s Chewable Vitamins (my daughter Cinderella's faves).

The Institute of Medicine recommends an RDA of 1,300 IU of Vitamin A for a child 4-8 years old, and an upper tolerable limit (UL) of 3,000 IU. Some of the vitamins tested contained 5,000 IU.

According to Consumer Labs,

Excess vitamin A in the retinol form is of concern as it may, in the short term, cause nausea and blurred vision, and, long-term, lead to bone softening and liver problems. ULs for niacin and zinc were also exceeded by some of the products for young children. Excess niacin may cause skin tingling and flushing and high levels of zinc can cause immune deficiency and anemia.

In addition, many supplements like these generally provide an "overage" of ingredient, i.e., more than the listed amount of ingredient to make sure that the product maintains potency over its shelf-life. Although an accepted practice, actual levels may be up to 50% higher than on the label.

A reason why so many children's vitamins exceed the newer recommended levels is that they are designed to meet "100%" of the Daily Values (DVs) which were last updated in 1968 and have yet to be re-set by the FDA. The out-dated DVs for vitamin A on supplement labels are actually two to three times higher than the newer RDAs and exceed tolerable intake levels for young children.


citizen of the world said...

Here via Mike. I was just reading another article on the dangers of too much folic acid. We're doomed, I tell you.

Anonymous said...

If it's not one thing, it's another - if it's not the peanuts, it's the vitamins... there was more in the article warning about that "Vitamin Water." I've found myself reading juice labels carefully, because often juices are filled with vitamins - way more than a kid should have for sure...

Mike said...

Does this mean I have to stop buying Flinstone vitamins for myself? Darn...

Thanks for the article..

Cheffie-Mom said...

Hi, I'm over from Mike's blog. Very informative blog you have here!

Cocotte said...

So, if we give our kids these vitamins, we should cut out the carrots? This is just too much work.

Worried Dad said...

Greetings all Mike-istas!

CotW: Check out my other posts about Vitamin D.

Anon: Usually it's all the things at once.

Mike: I think they're okay for adults as long as you wash them down with Scotch and a cigar.

Cheffie-Mom: Thanks! Although if ignorance is bliss, I'm not sure what that says about this blog.

Cocotte: According to my daughter, we should just substitute all vegetables with lollipops.

Midwife7 said...

Glad I found your blog! Just a note for anyone concerned or looking through here: There are a lot of children's vitamins now that you can find with beta carotene as the vitamin A source. Like the article said, "vitamin A in the retinol form is of concern." Beta Carotene however, is pre-vitamin A, and the body will not convert it to toxic levels of vitamin A. This certainly makes things simpler when you can use the natural forms your body is made to deal with! No need to cut out carrots! :)