- Sprinkles Global Health Initiative scores of abstracts
- Randomised comparison of the effects of Sprinkles and Foodlets with the currently recommended supplement (Drops) on micronutrient status and growth in Iranian children July 2011
- no increase in vitamin D in the blood
- Efficacy of multiple micronutrient supplementations on child health: study design and baseline characteristics June 2010
- PubMed for (Sprinkles OR Foodlets) vitamin 17 items on July 2011
- "Sprinkles" (SuppleForte, Heinz, Canada) does not contain vitamin D, full text on-line
- Long road to Sprinkles May 2009 – full text follows
- Lifetime cost per child of only $2
Dr. Stanley Zlotkin’s invention was never going to be a money-maker. After all, it was designed to combat the debilitating iron deficiency experienced by children in the developing world. Not a lot of purchasing power there.
Zlotkin wanted to see the fruits of his labour a powdered form of micronutrients sprinkled on food used to benefit others. Unfortunately, when he approached his hospital’s technology transfer office for help with patenting and developing the formula, he was turned down “because it was unlikely to make a profit,” he told an Apr. 20–21 conference on Universities, Innovation and Global Medicine Access in Toronto, Ontario.
The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto also forbade him from continuing to use the facilities in the hospital kitchen, where he was fine-tuning the formula in his off-hours.
But Zlotkin, now professor of pediatrics, nutritional sciences and public health at the University of Toronto and chief of gastroentereology and nutrition at the hospital, persisted. Today, his Sprinkles are manufactured in 6 facilities worldwide and benefit more than 4 million children in 18 countries; the lifetime cost per child is $2.
Zlotkin’s hospital has since had a change of heart. Several years ago, it joined with him to establish a nonprofit corporation, the Sprinkles Global Health Initiative, to further develop the product and increase distribution to more children in more countries, says Stuart Howe, director of corporate ventures for SickKids.
The early days were a hard slog. With no institutional support, Zlotkin decided to file a defensive patent in his own name. But because of that, he was perceived by some to have a conflict of interest. “There was always a feeling I was under a cloud of suspicion.”
It was “difficult to make business decisions without the help of the tech transfer office,” he added. The upside, though, was that official disinterest meant he had increased independence and speed in decision making.
To get Sprinkles to children, Zlotkin had to convince UNICEF to include the micronutrient in its catalogue for ordering food after an emergency. That required proof of efficacy and acceptability, as well as evidence that the formula could be produced in large volumes, at low cost, and easily distributed.
Convincing international aid agencies took time: “They were very risk averse. … It was in-your-face advocacy.” Regulatory approval was another hurdle as different countries variously considered Sprinkles a food, a drug or a natural food product. As well, several countries “for political or scientific reasons” insisted he repeat the research or conduct similar research. “I thought after I had one RCT (randomized controlled trial), that would be enough,” he said.
Iron 12.5 mg
Zinc 5 mg
Folic Acid 160 µg
Vitamin A 300 µg RE
Vitamin C 30 mg
Vitamin A 400 µg RE
Vitamin C 30 mg
Vitamin D 5µg (200 IU) probably enough to prevent rickets
Vitamin E 5 mg ?-TE
Vitamin B1 0.5 mg
Vitamin B2 0.5 mg
Vitamin B6 0.5 mg
Vitamin B12 0.9 µg
Folic Acid 150 µg
Niacin 6 mg
Iron 12.5 mg
Zinc 4.1 mg
Copper 0.56 mg
Iodine 90 µg
- - - - - -