Maryam bin Mohammed, Tariq Ahmed Al Wahedi and Dhafer Ayed Al Ahbabi. Image Credit: Agthia Group

Abu Dhabi: World’s first bottled still water containing vitamin D is now available in the UAE markets and it’s 100 per cent safe to consume for children and adults, Agthia Group’s top officials said on Wednesday in the capital.

The country where more than 78 per cent residents suffer from vitamin D deficiency, the move is considered a unique initiative to fight the disease.

A 500ml bottle of Al Ain vitamin D water is priced in local retail outlets at Dh2.

On the sidelines of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, the Al Ain vitamin D water was launched at the International Water Summit in the presence of Suhail Mohammad Faraj Al Mazroui, Minister of Energy and Industry, and Mariam Al Muhairi, Minister of State for Food Security.

Speaking at the launch, Al Muhairi said, “Our goal is to identify and nurture game-changing ideas that will help us all to contribute to achieving the second sustainable development goal of ending hunger, achieving food security, improving nutrition and promoting agricultural sustainability,” she said.

Vitamin D deficiency raises the risk of chronic diseases like osteoporosis, heart disease, some cancers, and multiple sclerosis, as well as infectious diseases such as tuberculosis.

Adequate levels of vitamin D may prevent multiple bone disorders such as rickets in children, and osteomalacia and osteopenia in adults.

“Exposure to sunlight is rather low in the region due to a preference for indoor activities that is attributable to the hot summer months. With sedentary lifestyles and poor food habits adding to this, such deficiency can also result in a number of health implications, but innovative products such as Al Ain vitamin D water can help safely address this pressing issue,” said Abdullah Abdul Qadir Al Meini, director-general, Emirates Standards and Metrology Authority (Esma).

The bottled still water is free from any flavours, colours and preservatives. It can be consumed daily like regular water.

Speaking to Gulf News, Dr Rabih Kamleh, senior vice-president of research and development at Agthia, said, “The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for children above three years and adults is 600 international units (IU), and our each 500ml bottle contains only 50 IU, so if you consume one litre of water a day, you only get 100 IU.”

Its 330ml bottle contains only 33 IU of the RDA.

Generally, people drink two litres of water a day in the UAE. So if one person drinks two litres of Al Ain vitamin D water, still he consumes less than 50 per cent of recommended daily RDA, he said.

“If you drink three litres of it, then you get only 50 per cent. Generally, nobody drinks that much in a day, so there is no question of overdose or excessive intake of vitamin D in a day,” he said.

“But if a person suffers from severe deficiency of vitamin D, he/she needs to consult a doctor, but still he/she can consume it and it will help him/her,” he said.

Minister Al Mazroui said, “The announcement of a new production line for Al Ain water with Vitamin D is an indicator of our investment in technology. These objectives are in line with the leadership’s vision, which is looking to increase the industrial sector’s contribution to the country’s GDP by up to 25 per cent in the next eight years,” he said

Officials from Health Authority - Abu Dhabi [Haad] and Abu Dhabi Food Security Centre (FSCAD) also attended the launch.

The water in 500ml and 330ml bottles has been available at supermarkets, convenience and large retail stores nationwide from January 15.