Vitamin D in Food Supplements for Children

A UK survey of 67 vitamin D-containing food supplements for children concluded that the doses in some products could be higher.[1]


Commenting on the research, Dr Carrie Ruxton from the Health & Food Supplements Information Service (HSIS) notes: “Food supplements are meant to supplement the diet, not replace the nutrients obtained from foods. In that respect, and since there are varying recommendations across different age groups of children, it is right that different supplements offer different doses. Smaller doses allow parents to use the same product for younger and older children by varying the amount given.

“The food supplements industry takes vitamin D very seriously, aiming to respond quickly to changing recommendations. The Chief Medical Officer has long recommended that children aged 6 months to 5 years take a supplement containing vitamins A, C and D. More recently, in 2016, Public Health England recommended children aged 1-4 years and indeed adults should take a supplement containing vitamin D 10mcg  (400iu ) daily especially during winter and spring when vitamin D cannot be synthesized from sunlight.

“According to the most recent NDNS data, children and adolescents are only getting a fifth of the recommended vitamin D intake of 10mcg from food alone[2] Many of the supplements in this survey would actually bridge the dietary gap topping up intake towards the recommended 10mcg daily.

“Anyone taking vitamins should select a product with the recommended dose appropriate for their age and indication. Parents and carers of young children should be advised to consult a pharmacist for an appropriate vitamin product for their child. What this survey shows is the importance of not simply selecting a product from the shelf but asking the pharmacist or another healthcare professional for advice. It is also important to read labels carefully and take the dose recommended for the age of the child.”


[1] Moon RJ, Curtis EM, Cooper C, et al. Arch Dis Child Epub ahead of print: doi:10.1136/ archdischild-2018-316339

[2] Tables 5.6 and 5.6a