Pediatricians: panic about vitamin D-drops for babies is not needed - ZuidZorg JGZ
3 December, 2019

Pediatricians: panic about vitamin D-drops for babies is not needed

There have been recent alarming messages in the media of a possible dangerous use of a certain vitamin-D drops for babies. As a response pediatricians say now that panic about vitamin D drops for babies is not needed.

Parents are worried about vitamin D drops for babies with the added substance propyl gallate (E310). The Dutch Association of Pediatricians advises against the use of this substance as a precaution, but says that there is “no reason to panic at all”.

“If you are at the drugstore, choose the bottle that doesn’t have this ingredient just to be sure”, says Károly Illy, chairman of the NVK. “But”, he adds, “the chance that it is safe is very high. The chance that it is unsafe is very small.”

Propyl gallate occurs in two types of vitamin D drops from the brand Davitamon: Vitamin D Aquosum and Vitamin D Aquosum sugar-free. That’s what RTL News discovered. In other variants of vitamin D drops of Davitamon and in slices of other brands, the substance according to the program was not.

Good for growth
Many parents give vitamin D to their babies, following European advice. Children under the age of four need it daily for healthy growth of bones, teeth, muscles and the immune system.

Propyl gallate is an antioxidant that prevents spoilage and is used in chewing gum, breakfast cereals and sauces. The use of propyl gallate is, according to European guidelines, not allowed in food supplements for children up to 4 years, but for all other ages above.

The reason for this ban is that too little research has been done into the effects of the product on babies. For older children and adults, the drug has been tested and found to be safe.

Response Davitamon
In a reaction, Davitamon states that excipients, such as propyl gallate, “are necessary to make food supplements that meet quality and safety requirements, for example to prevent product spoilage”. According to the company, there are no good alternatives to propyl gallate for the water-based vitamin D supplements. Davitamon also states that the product was permitted in the EU until 2014.

According to the company, a daily dose of the disputed products contains a quantity of propyl gallate that is less than 5 percent of the maximum allowance that a child weighing 5 kilos may take per day.

The Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) has announced that they know that the drops contain propyl gallate, but that the NVWA is not taking any action against it. This is because, according to the NVWA, there is a discussion within the EU about whether the drug should be permitted for all ages.