School of pharmacy faculty, alumnus publish results of vitamin and supplement study
Study of children's vitamins reveals inaccurate label information

Is it possible that children are getting too much of a good thing?

That’s the conclusion of two faculty members and a graduate of the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine's (LECOM) School of Pharmacy. They reported in a research letter published in JAMA Pediatrics that the majority of vitamin supplements for infants and children contain considerably higher vitamin levels than are recommended by the Institute of Medicine (IOM).

For their study, Michael Madden, Ph.D., Danielle DeBias, Pharm.D., and G. Elliott Cook, Pharm.D., examined the product labels of nearly 200 supplements for infants and young children.

The research letter, “Market Analysis of Vitamin Supplementation in Infants and Children: Evidence From the Dietary Supplement Label Database,” was authored by Michael Madden, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Pharmaceutical Sciences; Danielle DeBias, Pharm.D., Assistant Professor, Pharmacy Practice; and G. Elliott Cook, Pharm.D., a 2006 graduate of the LECOM School of Pharmacy and Chief Pharmacist at Provider Resources in Erie. They examined the product labels of nearly 200 supplements designed for infants 12 months and younger and for those one to four years old. Recommendations from the IOM were used as the baseline for comparisons between label information and the recommended daily allowance (RDA) or adequate intake (AI) values of the vitamins.

Dr. Madden, Dr. DeBias and Dr. Cook found that with the exception of Vitamin D supplements, others contained considerably higher levels of the RDA and AI than was listed on their labels. They noted that the IOM characterizes as “not recommended” supplements that exceed the content listed on their labels.

“The results of this study question the social responsibility and societal marketing concepts within the dietary supplement industry among those supplements marketed to infants and children younger than four years,” they concluded. “We contend, based on our analysis, that much of the pediatric vitamin supplementation is not based on IOM recommendations and therefore represents wholesale oversupplementation.”

The study and research letter were the subject of widespread news coverage.


Other news from the LECOM School of Pharmacy

Hershey Bell, MD, MS, FAAFP, Professor, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the School of Pharmacy, recently received a Certificate of Appreciation from Rear Admiral Boris Lushniak, MD, MPH, Acting Surgeon General of the United States. The certificate was given in recognition of Dr. Bell’s “continued contributions in advancing the pharmacy profession.”

Dr. Bell was a presenter and a participant in a Pharmacy Leadership Summit held at the Office of the Surgeon General in Rockville, Md. The summit was attended by representatives from leading national pharmacy organizations as well as pharmacists from the military and from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.

Dr. Bell’s presentation, “From the Front Porch to Rockville – Reflections on Health Care,” focused on how the evolving nature of the health care system is changing traditional models of care and impacting physicians, pharmacists and other providers.

In addition, Dr. Bell noted that as the system continues to fundamentally change, greater collaboration and an interprofessional approach to care will be of paramount importance, as will formal recognition of pharmacists as health care providers.

“We must, as advocates of the pharmacy profession, argue that to ignore pharmacists as providers of care is to discount the mountain of evidence that clearly demonstrates that when pharmacists are involved in providing care, quality and access go up, costs go down, and we as a nation succeed in reaching our health care goals,” he said during his presentation.


Janene Madras, Pharm.D., BCPS, BCACP, Director of Student Services and Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice, was recognized for her contributions to the 2013-2015 Ambulatory Care Self-Assessment Program (ACSAP).

Published by the American College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP), the ACSAP is designed to provide the most current evidence-based information to individuals desiring to improve their pharmacotherapy skills and improve patient outcomes. The Board of Pharmacy Specialties has approved ACSAP as a recertification tool for Board Certified Ambulatory Care Pharmacists, affirming the series as one of the leading publications.

As one of the publication’s reviewers, Dr. Madras helped ensure the accuracy and relevance of the content, evaluated how well the assessment questions measured the learning objectives and offered suggestions for improvement. She received a formal letter of appreciation from the American College of Clinical Pharmacy.

February 25, 2014
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