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.