One Drop Vitamin D Supplement Now Available –

Exclusively breastfed babies and young children in New
Zealand should be on a Vitamin D supplement, say health

Vitamin D deficiency is a growing threat in New
Zealand with one in five babies at risk of rickets, a
serious bone disorder, due to low Vitamin D levels.[1]
Vitamin D deficiency can also lead to respiratory

New Zealand company Douglas Nutrition, with the aid of
funding from Callaghan Innovation, has developed and
launched Puria® Vitamin D Drops, to meet the
demand from doctors and dietitians for an easy-to-administer
and safer solution to Vitamin D deficiency in

Puria® Vitamin D Drops is a unique one drop
(400IU) a day supplement for babies and children. The
supplement has no colouring, flavouring, sweetener or
preservatives, no added gluten, dairy or yeast. Each bottle
of Puria® Vitamin D Drops contains 90 doses, and the
product does not need refrigeration after opening.

Zealand has a higher rate of Vitamin D deficiency than other
countries because food is not fortified with the vitamin,
and supplements are not routinely recommended by health

A leading researcher, Dr Ben Wheeler of
Otago University, says he strongly supports that any infant
who is exclusively breastfed, or not receiving 1000mls of
formula a day, and has one or more known risk factors should
be on a Vitamin D supplement while breastfeeding and in
early childhood.

Dr Wheeler says the risk factors include
being under three, having darker skin pigment, being
exclusively breastfed (particularly during winter or spring)
and living south of Auckland. If mothers in NZ don’t get
enough Vitamin D then their breast milk will also be
deficient, putting exclusively breastfed babies at risk.

Douglas Nutrition chief executive Dr Andrew McLeod says
his company shared the concern of neonatal and paediatric
dietitians that New Zealand parents needed an appropriate
Vitamin D nutritional supplement.

The Ministry of Health recommends
Vitamin D supplementation in babies who are at high risk of
deficiency. However, the currently funded supplement also
contains Vitamin A which the child may not need and which
may also be harmful in high doses.

“Puria® Vitamin D
Drops are easier to take in the right amount and are,
therefore, safer. The supplement helps support the
absorption of calcium for strong bones and teeth. It may
also assist in maintaining a healthy immune system.”

a study co-authored by Dr Ben Wheeler and published in June
2015, researchers from Otago University’s NZPSU identified
58 cases of rickets among New Zealand children, a
surprisingly high number for a disease many associate with
the 19th century.[2]

Most people get Vitamin D from food
or from exposure to sunlight. However, concerns about too
much Ultra-Violet light in sunlight in NZ which can cause
skin cancer and melanoma, have led to parents sensibly
protecting their children from too much sun. The Otago
researchers suggested supplementation may be the best way to
resolve this dilemma.

Meanwhile, Massey University
nutrition researchers, Dr Pamela von Hurst and Dr Cathryn
Conlon report that Vitamin D deficiency is a potential issue
for NZ infants who are exclusively breastfed, have darker
skin or are kept out of the sun.

“Mothers need high
levels of Vitamin D to pass it on to their babies. Mothers
who have very dark skin, especially, take much longer in the
sun to make Vitamin D. So supplementation is important
particularly for some migrant groups in NZ,” comments Dr
von Hurst.

“A single nutrient Vitamin D supplement is
the preferred method as you have to be conservative in
administering the mixed nutrient supplement to avoid giving
too high a dose of Vitamin A,” explains Dr Conlon.

Conlon says that a Massey University study among a small
group of 14 moderate to late pre-term babies after discharge
from hospital, who had been breastfed and had no Vitamin D
supplementation, had very low levels of Vitamin

“In a larger study among 1330 pre-schoolers
throughout NZ in winter we found that 50 percent were below
recommended levels of Vitamin D. Interestingly, there were
no geographical differences,” says Dr von

Douglas Nutrition says its new product will be
sold through pharmacies. The company is awaiting approval
from PHARMAC to fund the supplement under

Consumers should always read the label and
use as directed. Supplementary to a balanced diet. Consult a
health professional for further advice or information.

Vitamin D During Pregnancy and Infancy and Infant Serum
25-Hydroxyvitamin D Concentration; Cameron C. Grant,
Alistair W. Stewart, Robert Scragg, Tania Milne, Judy
Rowden, Alec Ekeroma, Clare Wall, Edwin A. Mitchell, sue
Crengle, Adrian Trenholme, Julian Crane and Carlos A.
Camargo Jr. Originally published online December 16, 2013;
2014;133;e143Pediatrics; doi:10.1542/peds.2013-2602
Wheeler, B. J., Dickson, N. P., Houghton, L. A., Ward, L. M.
and Taylor, B. J. (2015), Incidence and characteristics of
vitamin D deficiency rickets in New Zealand children: A New
Zealand Paediatric Surveillance Unit study. Australian and
New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 39: 380–383. doi:

[3] Conlon C.A, Cormack B.E,
Moor C.F, Emmett B.K, von Hurst P.R, Mugridge O.A,
Bloomfield F. Iron and Vitamin D deficiency in preterm
babies – a potential programming link to cardiovascular
disease in later life. The Power of Programming
International Conference on Developmental Origins of
Adiposity and Long-Term Health March 13-15th Munich

[4] CT Cairncross, W Stonehouse, CA Conlon, B McDonald,
CC Grant, D Eyles, LA Houghton, J Coad, CA Camargo Jr., PR
von Hurst. Factors affecting winter vitamin D status in New
Zealand pre-school children. Proceedings of the 18th Vitamin
D Workshop, Delft, The Netherlands, April 2015. Page


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