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Open Access Research

Multivitamins/multiminerals in Switzerland: not as good as it seems

Nadège Droz and Pedro Marques-Vidal*

Author Affiliations

CHUV, Lausanne, Switzerland and Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (IUMSP), Lausanne University Hospital, Biopole 2, Route de la Corniche 10, Lausanne CH-1010, Switzerland

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Nutrition Journal 2014, 13:24  doi:10.1186/1475-2891-13-24

Published: 24 March 2014

Abstract

Background

Multivitamin/multimineral (MVM) supplements are commonly consumed by the general population, but little is known regarding their composition and compliance with local regulations. We assessed the composition and compliance with regulations [no indication in the label of vitamin/minerals amounting <15% of the acceptable daily intake (ADI)] of MVM available in Switzerland.

Methods

The composition of vitamin/minerals supplements was obtained from the Swiss drug compendium, the Internet, pharmacies, parapharmacies and supermarkets. MVM was defined as the presence of at least 5 vitamins and/or minerals.

Results

Of the 254 vitamin/mineral supplements collected, 95 (37%) were considered as MVM. The most frequent vitamins were B6 (73.7%), C (71.6%), B2 (69.5%) and B1 (67.4%); the least frequent were K (17.9%), biotin (51.6%), pantothene (55.8%) and E (56.8%). Approximately half of MVMs provided >150% of the ADI for vitamins. The most frequent minerals were zinc (66.3%), calcium (55.8%), magnesium (54.7%) and copper (48.4%), and the least frequent were fluoride (3.2%), phosphorous (17.9%), chrome (22.1%) and iodine (25%). More than two thirds of MVMs provided between 50 and 150% of the ADI for minerals, and few MVMs provided >150% of the ADI. While few MVMs provided <15% of the ADI for vitamins, a considerable fraction did so for minerals (32.7% for magnesium, 26.1% for copper and 22.6% for calcium).

Conclusion

There is a great variability regarding the composition of MVMs available in Switzerland. Several MVM do not comply with Swiss regulations, which calls for monitoring and corrective measures.

Keywords:
Trace elements; Vitamins; Switzerland; Vitamin supplements