Prenatal Supplements: Amounts of Some Key Nutrients Differed from Product Labels
GAO contracted with an accredited laboratory to test 12 prenatal supplements for amounts of certain nutrients. GAO found that 11 of the 12 of the prenatal supplement products had at least one tested nutrient (folic acid, iodine, iron, or vitamin A, C, or E) that, on average, contained an amount outside of acceptable deviations from the amount stated on the label. This could lead to a pregnant individual either consuming too much or too little of these nutrients. Of these 11, we found one product with an average amount of folic acid that may cause a health concern based on metrics established by the Institute of Medicine. The other tested products that deviated from the amounts stated on the labels did not contain average amounts of nutrients likely to be a health concern. Of the six nutrients tested, Vitamin E showed the greatest variability between different prenatal supplement products, with a range of 28 percent to 332 percent of the amount stated on the label. Vitamin A was the nutrient most frequently found in amounts outside the acceptable deviations from the label value (nine of the 12 supplements). For a full description of the results, see GAO-24-107042.
Unlike medications, dietary supplements—including those for prenatal care—don't have to be evaluated for safety or effectiveness by the Food and Drug Administration before reaching stores.
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Science, Technology Assessment, and Analytics team of the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) (STAA)
United States of America