Problems Discovered with Eight Vitamin D Supplements in Study by ConsumerLab.com
Incorrect Amounts of Vitamins, Lead Contamination, and Labeling Infractions Identified
White Plains, New York — April 26, 2010 — Among 28 vitamin D supplements recently selected for independent testing, problems were found with 8 products, 29% of those reviewed, according to ConsumerLab.com. Vitamin D plays a critical role in bone health and higher levels in the blood are associated with reduced risk of heart attack, depression, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma and other conditions. Vitamin D has become one of the most popular supplements in the U.S. with sales rising from $72 million in 2006 to $429 million in 2009 according the Nutrition Business Journal. It was the fourth most popular supplement in a ConsumerLab.com survey of its readers in 2010, used by 56% of respondents. In the recent tests, ConsumerLab.com evaluated vitamin D supplements as well as those containing calcium and/or vitamin K. Results were released today in three separate Product Review reports on Vitamin D, Calcium, and Vitamin K supplements.
The most common problem found by ConsumerLab.com with supplements containing vitamin D was the wrong amount of vitamins:
- A popular supplement for children listed 200 IU of vitamin D per two gummy bears, but actually contained 501 IU, 251% of the listed amount;
- a gummy product for adults listed 1,000 IU of vitamin D, but contained only 317 IU, 32% of the listed amount;
- a liquid listing 42 IU of vitamin D contained only 18 IU, 44% of the listed amount;
- a tablet listing 800 IU of vitamin D contained only 664 IU, 83% of the listed amount;
- and a 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% of the listed amount.
Two other products containing combinations of vitamins D and K and calcium were found to be contaminated with lead: 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. The FDA permits supplement manufacturers to set their own limits on lead in their products, but 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 products with lead contamination had this warning label. Both also failed to disclose soy as a potential allergen. They contained a form of vitamin K2 called MK-7, which is made from fermented soybean.
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.
The new reports are available online to ConsumerLab.com members. The Vitamin D Supplements Review includes test results, ingredient comparisons, and price comparisons for 28 vitamin D-containing supplements selected by ConsumerLab.com and for 21 products that passed the same testing through ConsumerLab.com's Voluntary Certification Program. The report also includes information about 3 products that were not tested but are similar to others that passed testing. The Calcium Supplements Review and the Vitamin K Supplements Review include additional products specific to those nutrients as well as combination products.
Products covered in the three new reports are 21st Century D-1000, 21st Century Calcium 600 + D, AlgaeCal Plus, Caltrate 600 + D Plus Minerals, Carlson Baby D Drops, Citracal Calcium Citrate + D3 Petites, Country Life Vitamin D3, CVS Pharmacy Natural Calcium, Magnesium and Zinc, DaVinci Laboratories of Vermont Vitamin K2 Plus, DEVA Vegan Vitamin D 800 IU, Flintstones Plus Bone Building Support, GNC Vitamin D-3 1000, GNC Vitamin D-3 2000, Hero Yummi Bears Calcium + Vitamin D3, Isotonix Calcium Plus, Jamieson D, Julian Whitaker, M.D. Osteo Essentials, Julian Whitaker, M.D. Vitamin D, KAL Vitamin K 100 mcg, Kirkland Signature Vitamin D3 2000 IU (Costco), Kirkman Calcium/Magnesium Liquid, Life Extension Vitamin D3, LifeTime Calcium Magnesium Citrate, Li'l Critters Calcium Gummy Bears with Vitamin D, Mason natural Vitamin K 100 mcg, Member's Mark Calcium 600 mg with Vitamin D3 (Sam's Club), Nature's Bounty Natural Vitamin K-2, Nature's Bounty Super Strength D-2000 IU, Nature Made Calcium 750 mg+D+K, Nature Made Maximum Strength Vitamin D 2000 IU, Nature's Life D-2 2,000 IU, Nature's Sunshine Vitamin D3, New Chapter Bone Strength take care, NSI Vitamin D Drops, Posture-D Calcium with Vitamin D and Magnesium, Pure Essence Labs Ionic-Fizz Super D-K Calcium Plus, Puritan's Pride Absorbable Calcium 1200 mg with D 1000 IU, Puritan's Pride Natural Vitamin K-2, Puritan's Pride Super High Potency Vitamin D 2000 IU, Rainbow Light Vitamin D3 1,000 IU Sunny Gummies, Rite Aid Vitamin D-3, Schiff Bone Care Super Calcium, Shaklee Osteomatrix, Solgar Calcium Citrate with Vitamin D3, Solgar Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol) 1000 IU, Spring Valley Liquid Filled Absorbable Calcium 1200 mg plus 1,000 IU Vitamin D3 (Wal-mart), Standard Process Calcium Lactate, Swanson High-Potency Dry Vitamin D-3, Trader Joe's Vitamin D, Viactiv Calcium Plus D, vitafusion Vitamin D3, Vitamin Shoppe Calcium Citrate plus Magnesium and Vitamin D, Vitamin Shoppe Liquid Vitamin D3 5000 IU, Vitamin Shoppe M.D. Select Dr. Ronald Hoffman Advanced Vitamin D3 and K2, Vitamin World Absorbable Calcium 1200 mg with D 1000 IU, Vitamin World Sunvite Vitamin D3 2000 IU, Wellesse Calcium & Vitamin D3, and Wellesse Vitamin D3.
ConsumerLab.com is a leading provider of consumer information and independent evaluations of products that affect health and nutrition. Subscription to ConsumerLab.com is available online. The company is privately held and based in Westchester, New York. It has no ownership from, or interest in, companies that manufacture, distribute, or sell consumer products. ConsumerLab.com is affiliated with PharmacyChecker.com, which helps consumers evaluate online pharmacies and drug prices, and MedicareDrugPlans.com, which reviews and rates Medicare Part D plans.