Are you pregnant or hope to be very soon? It is an incredibly joyful season of life, but picking out prenatal supplements can be very confusing and many women don’t know what to look for.
Most women are told by their healthcare providers to take a prenatal vitamin with folic acid and DHA with very little guidance about dosage and how to pick the highest quality supplements for you and your baby.
When it comes to prenatal care, we have done extensive research and we believe there are 4 things that are foundational to supplementation, 3 of which can be found in a high-quality multivitamin: Folate, Vitamin D, Iron, and Omega 3’s. Everyone involved in prenatal care would agree, however, dosage and quality are incredibly important. Based on multiple studies, pregnant women should consume .8 to 1 milligram of folate, 2000-4000 IUS of Vitamin D, 27 milligrams, and 2000 milligrams of Omega 3’s per day. Even with the highest quality multivitamins, additional supplementation may be necessary.
Sadly, some of the most commonly purchased prenatal vitamins miss the mark. Our goal is to help you get educated so you can make the best decision for you and your baby! Here are a few things you need to be on the lookout for when selecting prenatal supplements.
Folate vs Folic Acid
Folate is a key ingredient to a healthy pregnancy. It is needed for the prevention of neural tube defects and serious abnormalities of the brain and spinal cord for baby and can help mom too.
Folate and Folic Acid are often confused as being one in the same. Folic acid is the man-made form of folate. The problem with folic acid is that 40-60% of people can’t utilize it in their bodies due to a genetic mutation called MTHFR that stops the conversion process into the active form of folate, rendering folic acid as essentially useless.
When taking folate, you don’t have to worry about if your body can convert it or not because it is already in its natural and active state.
We examined 3 commonly purchased multivitamins from a major pharmacy and none of them used the active form of folate. It was actually hard to find a multivitamin at the pharmacy that was purely using folate. Some used a little bit but were still primarily using folic acid.
Here at Nutrition World, we only offer multivitamins that contain the active form of folate to ensure that the folate will be able to be used in your body.
Ingredients to Be Aware Of
We cannot stress enough the importance of clean, high-quality supplements. Sadly, many of the vitamins available are loaded with toxic ingredients or low-quality nutrients. Here are a few key things to look for.
Vitamin B12- Though Vitamin B12 is essential, Cyanocobalamin is not ideal. It’s a synthetic form of B12 and has to go through the process of converting into methylcobalamin to be used by the body. Save your body a step and look for a multivitamin using methylcobalamin.
Magnesium Stearate- Research has shown that stearic acid (which is what they add to magnesium to create magnesium stearate) can suppress your T cells which are key to supporting your immune system and can even lead to destroying cell function by collapsing the cell membrane.
Soy- Soy is one of the most heavily sprayed crops with glyphosate which has shown to have carcinogenic links. Soy is also the #1 most genetically modified crop in our industry. GMO’s are very new to our culture so a long term history on their health effects are not yet well recorded.
Artificial Colors- Research has associated both, red 40 and yellow 5 dyes with problems in children including allergies, hyperactivity, learning impairment, irritability, and aggressiveness.
Talc- The American Cancer Society is now recognizing this harmful ingredient which contains asbestos with an increased risk of cancer. Unfortunately, talc was used in Johnson & Johnson Body powder for decades and has caused an increase in childhood cancers until lawsuits were made against its use and it was banned.
Many people choose their vitamins by cost alone, but at what point is health worth compromising for saving a few bucks, especially when you’re growing a little human?! For as little as $1 per day, you can get an incredibly high-quality multivitamin that you can feel good about. Come by and see us and learn more about what makes our prenatal vitamins different.
Proper Amounts of DHA
There are over 1196 scholarly articles published on fish oil during pregnancy. Omega 3’s are essential long chain fatty acids that are needed for optimal health and development of your baby. These fats are not synthesized by the human body and therefore MUST be obtained from your diet or supplementation. Research indicates that the two most beneficial omega 3’s are EPA and DHA. They both naturally occur together and work together to benefit the body. DHA is a primary structural component of the human brain, the cerebral cortex, skin, and eyes. DHA is an omega 3 fatty acid that is found in fish and various forms of algae, for those who are vegetarian, while EPA supports the heart, immune system, and inflammatory response.
So, what suggestions do we have in terms of dosage? Two large studies have shown that women who consume 600-800 mg of omega 3’s daily reduce their risk of preterm birth by more than 40%.
Lastly, it is important to know the sourcing of your Omega-3s. All fish oil is not created equal. Purity is becoming a major issue given the amount of pollution in our oceans. Look for products that have 3rd party verifications checking for contaminants and heavy metals. If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, choose a clean, sustainable algae-based omega.
- Always talk to your doctor before beginning any supplement regimen while pregnant.
- Drink lots of water! Try to drive 10 cups per day.
- Stay active!
- Eat well. Eat whole foods and balanced meals. Avoid lots of sugar.
We cannot stress enough the importance of knowing the quality of your prenatal supplements for not only your baby’s health but yours as well. Fetal development plays such a huge role in the health of the child after delivery. Though there are lots of “healthy” children that are born each and every day to women that may not have paid super close attention to their supplement regimen, it’s worth considering the impact of proper supplementation during pregnancy and how that can optimize your child’s health as opposed to taking subpar supplements. As always, Nutrition World is at the forefront of holistic health and we carry the top of the line supplements for both you and your sweet baby. Come by and see us!