If you are among the millions of Americans who take a daily vitamin D supplement, today’s report by ConsumerLab.com, a leading provider of consumer information and independent evaluations of products that affect health and nutrition, should be of great interest to you. Their most recent study uncovered problems with nearly one-third of the 49 vitamin D supplements tested, including products with calcium and/or vitamin K and those specifically marketed to children.
ConsumerLab.com selected 28 of the products, while 21 others were tested at the request of their manufacturers or distributors through the Voluntary Certification Program. The products were tested to determine whether they contained the claimed amount and form of vitamin D, calcium and vitamin K, were able to disintegrate fully to be available for absorption, and if they were free from unacceptable levels of lead.
The most common problem found by ConsumerLab.com with supplements containing vitamin D was the wrong amount of vitamins. For example, a tablet listing 800 IU of vitamin D contained only 664 IU, 83 percent of the listed amount. and a liquid listing 42 IU of vitamin D contained only 18 IU, 44 percent of the listed amount. A gummy product for adults listed 1,000 IU of vitamin D, but contained only 317 IU, 32 percent of the listed amount, while a popular supplement for children listed 200 IU of vitamin D per two gummy bears, but actually contained 501 IU, 251 percent of the listed amount. One vitamin D/vitamin K supplement contained its listed amount of vitamin D, but provided only 36.8 mcg of its listed 50 mcg of vitamin K per capsule, 74 percent of that listed.
A vegan vitamin D product that passed laboratory tests was not approved by ConsumerLab.com because it listed potential benefits of vitamin D but failed to provide the required FDA disclaimer for such claims.
Lead contamination was found in two other products containing combinations of vitamins D and K and calcium. One contained 5.2 mcg of lead in a suggested serving of 4 capsules, and the other, a powder, contained 4.1 mcg in a suggested serving of 2 scoops. Neither of the products with lead contamination had this warning label nor did they disclose soy as a potential allergen. Both products contained a form of vitamin K2 called MK-7, which is made from fermented soybean.
The FDA allows supplement manufacturers to set their own limits on lead in their products. However one state, California, requires a warning label on supplements that contain more than 0.5 mcg of lead per daily serving (or 1.0 mcg of lead in supplements that contain 1,000 mg or more of calcium). Neither of the two products with lead contamination had this warning label.
About Vitamin D
Vitamin D has become one of the most popular supplements in the U.S., with sales increasing nearly six-fold from 2006 to 2009, according to the Nutrition Business Journal. It was the fourth most popular supplement in a ConsumerLab.com survey of its readers in 2010, used by 56 percent of respondents.
By aiding in the absorption of calcium, vitamin D plays a critical role in bone health. Recent research also suggests vitamin D may provide protection from osteoporosis, hypertension (high blood pressure), cancer, and several autoimmune diseases. Higher levels of vitamin D in the blood are associated with reduced risk of heart attack, depression, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma and other conditions.
Vitamin D can be obtained in sufficient amounts from exposure to sunlight. Just ten to fifteen minutes of sun exposure two times a week to the face, arms, hands, or back without sunscreen is usually sufficient to provide adequate vitamin D. It can also be found in fortified milk (400 IU per quart or 100 IU per cup), and other fortified foods, such as breakfast cereals, orange juice, yogurt, margarine, nutrition bars and soy beverages. Fatty fish are also good sources of vitamin D. Small amounts of vitamin D are found in beef liver, cheese, egg yolks, and mushrooms.
However, increased concern about skin cancer has caused many Americans to avoid the sun or use sunscreen, which creates a potential risk o f reduced vitamin D. It is also common for people who live in the northern climates (north of a line from Boston to the northern border of California), especially if they are dark-skinned, to suffer inadequate vitamin D intake. Americans aged 50 and older are at increased risk of vitamin D deficiency because, as people age, skin cannot synthesize vitamin D as efficiently and the kidneys are less able to convert vitamin D into its active hormone form. Consequently, many people may benefit by taking vitamin D as a supplement either alone or in combination with a calcium supplement.
You can find out if your supplement meets ConsumerLab.com’s high quality standard by viewing their report in entirety at www.consumerlab.com. The reports include extensive information about each nutrient, the available forms, potential side effects, dosage, and how the supplements may best be used.
Source : Health News