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Vitamin Stability and Overdosing Notes

While minerals are very stable – vitamins can be degraded in food products.

Vitamin degradation is complex and is determined by the matrix of the food/drink. Factors including light, heat, pH and oxygen as well as processing, such as cooking and boiling, can all lead to vitamin degradation.

As a result it is common for manufacturers of food and drink, where there is a high level of processing, to “overdose” the level of vitamins and add more than is declared to ensure the final product meets the level declared on the label and there is enough to last over the products shelf life. Usually fat soluble vitamins are overdosed by 10-20% and water soluble by 10-50%.

The amount food manufacturers overdose vitamins in their products depends on the processing conditions, ideally food manufacturers should test the levels of vitamins in their products throughout their shelf life before launch.

Overdosing on vitamins is mainly an issue with fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K) as they can build up in body fat and could theoretically cause problems. However, excess levels of water soluble vitamins (B and C) are relatively harmless as excess is excreted in urine and therefore are unlikely to cause health issues.

Please contact our friendly and knowledgeable technical sales colleagues to help guide you to the best ingredients to allow you to achieve your desired vitamin levels for your products.



 External Variables Effecting Vitamin Stability








 Retinol (A) xx x xx x o xx
 Thiamine (B1) x x x o xx x
 Riboflavin (B2) o x o o o x
 Pyridoxine (B6) xx x o x o x
 B12 x x x o o o
 Cholecalciferol (D3) x x xx x o x
 Tocopherol (E) x x o x x x
 Calcium pantothenate (B5) x x o o o o
 Nicotinic acid (B3) o o o o o o
 Biotin (B7) o x o o o x
 Folic acid (B9) xx x o xx o xx
 Ascorbic acid (C) o xx xx o x o

  (o stable x slightly sensitive, xx very sensitive) Source: Gadient, 1986

 (NB: ‘very sensitive’ refers to a reduction of around 20% after variable exposure)

 Relative Lost Activity of Vitamins in Commercial Premixes


Calcium pantothenate (B5)
  Tocopherol (E)
  Riboflavin (B2)
  Biotin (B7)
  Nicotinic acid (B3)
  Cholecalciferol (D3)
  Folic acid (B9)
  Thiamine (B1)
  Pyridoxine (B6)


Retinol (A)

 Source: Shurson et al. (1996)


 Beadlet vs. Spray Dried Product Types



 Stability Medium – High High
 Granulometry Fine Powder Fine Granular
 Homogeneity of mix High Medium
 Flowability Medium High
 Solubility in water Good Medium
 Caking Medium – High Low

 Source: Frye (1994)

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