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Vitamin D supplementation: are multivitamins sufficient?
  1. Rebecca J Moon1,2,
  2. Elizabeth M Curtis1,
  3. Cyrus Cooper1,3,4,
  4. Justin H Davies2,
  5. Nicholas C Harvey1,3
  1. 1 MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University Hospital Southampton, Southampton, UK
  2. 2 Paediatric Endocrinology, Southampton University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Southampton, UK
  3. 3 NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre, University of Southampton and University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, Southampton, UK
  4. 4 NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Nicholas C Harvey, MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton, Southampton SO16 6YD, UK; nch{at}


Background Public Health England advises 400 IU/day vitamin D supplementation for children over 1 year. Commercially available children’s multivitamin and vitamin D supplements were surveyed to determine the vitamin D content.

Methods Multivitamins and vitamin D supplements marketed at children <12 years and sold by nine UK supermarkets and health supplement retailers were surveyed. Vitamin D content was determined from manufacturer’s websites and product packaging.

Results 67 multivitamins were surveyed, containing 0–800 IU/day vitamin D. Only 25%–36%, depending on the child’s age, provided ≥400 IU/day vitamin D. Supplements containing only vitamin D or labelled as for ‘healthy bones’ typically had higher vitamin D content (57%–67% contained ≥400 IU/day).

Conclusions Few multivitamin products supply the recommended 400 IU/day vitamin D. Clinicians need to be aware of this when recommending vitamin D supplementation and advise parents/carers to choose a product that contains ≥400 IU/day vitamin D.

  • Vitamin D
  • multivitamin
  • dietary supplementation
  • rickets

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  • Contributors RJM conceived the study, collected and analysed the data and wrote the first draft of the manuscript. EMC, CC, JHD and NCH reviewed and revised the manuscript. All authors approved the final submitted manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests RJM has nothing to report. EMC reports honoraria or travel support from Eli Lilly, Pfizer and UCB, outside of the submitted work. CC reports personal fees from ABBH, Amgen, Eli Lilly, GSK, Medtronic, Merck, Novartis, Pfizer, Roche, Servier and Takeda, outside the submitted work. NCH reports personal fees, consultancy, lecture fees and honoraria from Alliance for Better Bone Health, AMGEN, MSD, Eli Lilly, Servier, Shire, Consilient Healthcare and Internis Pharma, outside the submitted work. JHD has received travel bursaries received from Novo Nordisk, Pfizer and Sandoz, outside the submitted work.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement The data used in this study are available in the supplementary data tables.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.