No.1 Children’s Vitamin Brand In US Contains: Aspartame, GMOs And Hazardous Chemicals

We all expect children’s vitamins to be healthy, if not the healthiest, don’t we?

Well then, what’s going on with Flintstones vitamins, which is the #1 children’s vitamin brand in the US, is really preposterous. Their products contain ingredients that most parents would never intentionally expose their children to!

Produced by the global pharmaceutical corporation Bayer, this wildly successful brand features a shocking list of unhealthy ingredients, including:  

Aspartame, cupric oxide, coal tar artificial coloring agents (FD&C Blue #2, Red #40, Yellow #6), zinc oxide, sorbitol, ferrous fumarate, hydrogenated oil (soybean) and GMO corn starch.

On Bayer Health Science’s Flintstones product page (designed for healthcare professionals and pediatricians alike) they lead us into the product description with the following shred of information:

82% of kids aren’t eating all of their veggies. Without enough vegetables, kids may not be getting all of the nutrients they need.”

What’s the implication here? It is that Flintstones vitamins fill this nutritional void. But let us look a little closer at some of these allegedly healthy ingredients.

Aspartame

This ingredient is a synthetic combination of the amino acids aspartic acid and l-phenylalanine, and is known to convert into highly toxic methanol and formaldehyde in the body. Aspartame has been linked to over 40 side effects in the biomedical literature, and has been shown to be both neurotoxic and carcinogenic.

Cupric oxide

2mg of this compound are included in each serving of Flintstone’s Complete Chewable Vitamins as a presumably ‘nutritional’ source of ‘copper,’ supplying “100% of the Daily Value (Ages 4+), according to Flintstones Vitamins Web site’s Nutritional Info.

But what is cupric oxide? Is it a nutrient or a chemical?

One of the main EU laws concerning chemical safety lists cupric oxide as a hazardous substance, classified as both “Harmful (XN)” and “Dangerous for the environment” (N)!

This dangerous ingredient has industrial applications as a pigment in ceramics, and as a chemical in the production of rayon fabric and dry cell batteries. It may be technically correct to call it a mineral, but should it be listed as a nutrient in children’s vitamins? I don’t think so!

Coal tar artificial coloring agents

A well-known side effect of using synthetic dyes is attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. For direct access to study abstracts on this topic view the food coloring research page.

There is also indication that the neurotoxicity of artificial food coloring agents increases when they are combined with aspartame, making the combination of ingredients in Flintstones even more concerning.

Zinc oxide

Each serving of Flintstones Complete Chewable vitamins also contains 12 mg of zinc oxide, which the manufacturer claims delivers 75% of the Daily Value to children at the age of 2 and 3. Widely used as a sun protection factor (SPF) in sunscreens, The EU’s Dangerous Substance Directive classifies it as an environmental hazard, “Dangerous for the environment (N).”

How it can be dangerous for the environment, but not for humans ingesting it, does perplex me! One thing is certain, if one is to ingest supplemental zinc, or market it for use by children, it makes much more sense using a form that is organically bound (i.e. ‘chelated’) to an amino acid like glycine, as it will be more bioavailable and less toxic.

Sorbitol

Sorbitol is a synthetic sugar substitute, which is classified as a sugar alcohol. It can be argued that it has no place in the human diet, much less in the children’s one. The ingestion of higher amounts has been linked to gastrointestinal disturbances from abdominal pain to more serious medical conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome.

Ferrous fumarate

The one clear warning on the Flintstone’s Web site is pertinent to this chemical. While it is impossible to die from consuming iron from food, e.g. spinach, ferrous fumarate is an industrial mineral and is not found in nature as food.

In fact, ferrous fumarate is so toxic that accidental overdose of products containing this form is “a leading cause of fatal poisoning in children under 6.” 

Even the manufacturer warns: “Keep this product out of reach of children. In case of accidental overdose, call a doctor or poison control center immediately.” Now, isn’t this appalling?

Hydrogenated soybean oil

Finding hydrogenated oil in anything intended for children is absolutely unacceptable! These semi-synthetic fatty acids incorporate into our tissues and have been linked to over a dozen adverse health effects, from coronary artery disease to cancer, violent conduct to fatty liver disease!

GMO corn starch

While it can be argued that the amount of GMO corn starch in this product is trifling, even irrelevant, I am still very cautious about it. It is important to hold responsible brands that refuse to label their products honestly, especially when they contain ingredients that have been produced through genetic modification.

The ‘vitamin C’ listed as ascorbic acid in Flintstones is probably also produced from GMO corn. Let’s remember that Bayer’s Ag-biotech division, Bayer Crop Science, poured some $381, 600 into defeating the proposition 37 GMO labeling bill in California!

Parents are entitled to protect their children against the well-known dangers of genetically modified foods and chemicals that contaminate their little bodies, aren’t they? GMO corn starch is GMO, it is plain and simple. So, we’d really appreciate if Bayer labeled their “vitamins” accordingly.  
We would be able to make the right choice for our children’s food only in such case!

To wrap up: Bayer’s Flintstone’s vitamin brand is far from a natural product, and the consumers should be aware of the unintended, adverse health effects that may occur as a result of using it.


Sources:

[1] GreenMedInfo.com, Adverse Health Effects of Aspartame;
[2] FlinstonesVitamins.com, FLINSTONES Complete Chewable, Nutritional Info Overview;
[3] Karen Lau, W Graham McLean, Dominic P Williams, C Vyvyan Howard. Synergistic interactions between commonly used food additives in a developmental neurotoxicity test. Toxicol Sci. 2006 Mar;90(1):178-87. Epub 2005 Dec 13. PMID: 16352620
[4] GreenMedInfo.com, Sorbitol’s Adverse Health Effects;
[5] GreenMedInfo.com, Health Effects of Hydrogenated Oil;