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Panel on Nutrition, Dietetic Products, Novel Food and Allergy

Assessment of maximum amounts of vitamin A and D in food supplements
Assessment of maximum amounts  of  vitamin A and D in food supplements
Photo: iStockphoto
The Norwegian Food Safety Authority has requested the Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food Safety (VKM) to evaluate the national maximum limits for vitamin A and vitamin D in food supplements.

The existing maximum limit for vitamin A is 1500 microgram Retinol equivalents /daily dose, and 10 microgram/daily dose for vitamin D.

This VKM assessment is based upon tolerable upper intake levels (UL) for vitamin A and D, recommended intakes of vitamin A and D, the intake of retinol and vitamin A and D and includes children above three years, adolescents and adults.

The UL for retinol is 3000 microgram/day for adults and between 1100 microgram /day and 2600 microgram/day for children and adolescents. Recommended intake of vitamin A is 900 and 700 microgram/day for men and women, respectively, and between 350 microgram day and 600 microgram/day for children and adolescents.

The existing maximum limit for vitamin A in food supplements exceeds the recommended intakes in all age groups, and some age groups already have an intake of retinol that exceeds the UL.

In all of the investigated population groups except for women, the intake in the 95th percentile without supplements would exceed the UL if 1500 microgram retinol (the existing maximum limit for vitamin A in food supplements) is added to the intake.

Furthermore, because of the risk of exceeding an intake associated with increased risk of osteoporosis, it is concluded that the maximum limit for vitamin A in food supplements should not be increased.

The UL for vitamin D is 100 microgram/day for children and adolescents above 10 years and adults, and 50 microgram/day for children 1-10 years. Recommended intake of vitamin D is 10 microgram/day for children above two years, adolescents and adults, and 20 microgram/day for elderly above 75 years.

Less than 50% of the adult population meets the recommended intake of vitamin D. The existing maximum limit for vitamin D in food supplements is equivalent to the recommendation for daily intake for children and adults under 75 years. To ensure intake of 20 microgram vitamin D per day in elderly, a daily dosage of 20 microgram from food supplements is justified.

If the maximum limit for vitamin D in supplements is increased to 20 microgram per daily dosage, all age groups including elderly above 75 years can cover the recommended intake without any risk of exceeding UL.

A new maximum limit at 20 microgram per recommended daily doses in food supplements is therefore suggested. It is also recommended that the minimum limit for vitamin D in food supplements is evaluated.

This assessment was published 10 January 2013.

Risk assessment closed: 10.01.2013

Contact details

Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food Safety (VKM)
Phone +47 21 62 28 00
E-mail vkm@vkm.no