The supplement, available in 10 and 20 microgram (μg) doses, aim to help users meet recommended national daily intake not often achieved in Scandinavian countries especially during the darker winter months.
Also included is the firm’s patented lactic acid bacteria L. reuteri Protectis that in clinical trials proved apt in reducing respiratory tract infections and the frequency of diarrhoea.
"I am very pleased that we are now launching new products together with Medhouse and look forward to building the BioGaia brand also in our local market,” said Axel Sjöblad, BioGaia’s managing director.
“Vitamin D deficiency is common among people living in the North, especially during the winter months.
“Therefore, it is logical that we now choose to introduce products containing both our patented lactic acid bacteria L. reuteri Protectis and vitamin D."
Lack of sunlight
The probiotic has proved versatile for its makers having proved its efficacy in infants with colic, reduction of bone loss in older women and promotion of infant growth.
Available at selected pharmacy chains in Sweden only, BioGaia—through its partnership with consultant firm Medhouse—make available two doses, D3 and D3+.
D3 contains 10 μg of vitamin D, which covers the daily intake recommended by Sweden’s National Food Agency (NFA) for people under the age of 75.
D3+ contains 20 μg of vitamin D and is intended for adults over the age of 75 years and adults with limited exposure to sunlight or those who, for other reasons, do not receive enough vitamin D.
The NFA has said in the past that much of the population were still deficient in the vitamin, present in fish, shellfish, eggs, chicken and meat.
New Nordic Nutrition Recommendations (NNR) pointed out the region’s low levels of sunlight in winter was a notable problem for dark skinned people.
Other Nordic countries like Denmark have also backed fortification in the past, with the NFA research identifying 67% of the population as receiving below the average vitamin intake.
However, estimating deficiency levels are a complicated process and is largely dependent on cut off points used in the research.
Current levels set by the European Food and Safety Authority (EFSA) define an adequate intake (AI) of 15 µg per day for healthy individuals over one year of age.
This includes pregnant and lactating women. The DRVs for infants aged 7-11 months have been set at 10 µg per day.
BioGaia’s L. reuteri Protectis is also a key ingredient in Swedish baby food and gluten-free product makers Semper and its vitamin D oil drop solution D-vitamindroppar.
Intended for infants, toddlers and adults, the 5 drops of product give 10 μg of vitamin D and around 100 million active L. reuteri Protectis intended to relieve an infant's upset stomach.