Walking through the health food store or medicine aisle can be daunting at times when trying to choose the best prenatal vitamin. There are so many options to choose from, it can seem quite overwhelming. On the other hand, it may have been really simple for you to choose your prenatal vitamin with a prescription of Materna or PregVit. This article is going to walk you through what I do with patients in order to give them the information they need to make an informed choice when choosing the right prenatal. My goal is to inform and empower women to make a choice that is comfortable for themselves.
Nutrition when trying to conceive and during pregnancy is key.
Why? Because your body needs to have optimal levels of vitamins and minerals in order to support a healthy pregnancy.
All vitamins carry a certain recommended daily dose in order for the body to function optimally. In the case of preconception and pregnancy, these values are increased in order to support the body as it goes through various changes. It is very key to look for a prenatal vitamin that contains specific quantities of each vitamin. There are many prenatal vitamins out there that do not contain the right dosage for each vitamin and mineral – so you may in fact not be getting the recommended daily requirements!
Most naturopathic approved brands contain higher amounts of various vitamins compared to generic brands. This is especially true for B vitamins. A prenatal that I give has around 50-100mg of various B vitamins versus common prenatal vitamins prescribed have between 1-18mg daily.
Forms of Vitamin
- Oxide vs. Citrate: many of the vitamins in prenatals contain oxide forms. The oxide form is not as well absorbed as the citrate form and can be irritating to the body.
- Iron fumarate vs. Iron Bisglycinate: Fumarate form of iron has low absorption and can cause digestion upset such as constipation. Look for Iron Citrate or Iron Bisglycinate which are better absorbed and cause less G.I. concerns.
- Active vs. Inactive forms: Many of the vitamins in a generic prenatal can be inactive and need to be converted to their active form. B2 (riboflavin) and B6 (pyroxidine) in their active forms are B2 (riboflavin-5’-phosphate ) and B6 (pyridoxal-5’-phosphate). If your digestive system is compromised it can be difficult to absorb these vitamins. Therefore, taking the active form can ensure you are getting the vitamin’s benefits.
- Folic acid vs. Methyl-tetrahydrofolate (MTHFR): up to 60% of the population has a genetic defect that prevents them from activating folic acid resulting in lack of absorption of the vitamin. Taking the activated form (MTHFR) assists in absorption, preventing miscarriages and birth defects.
It can be very eye opening when you read the product label, word for word! Watch out for certain additives in the prenatal you choose. Many prenatal vitamins in the pharmacy are known to contain certain additives that may be toxic to the body.
Materna contains other additives such as FD&C red no.40, BHT, sodium lauryl sulfate, titanium dioxide, gelatin, mineral oil, soybean, and more.
PregVit contains ammonium hydroxide, N-butyl alcohol, carnauba wax, D&C Red No. 27, FD&C Blue No. 1, FD&C Blue No. 2, FD&C Red No. 40, FD&C Yellow No. 6, isopropyl alcohol, macrogol/PEG 3350, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, polyvinyl alcohol, propylene glycol, shellac glaze, simethicone, sodium croscarmellose, sodium lauryl sulfate, starch (corn starch), talc, and titanium dioxide.
So, when looking for the best prenatal – talk to your healthcare provider.
Naturopathic Doctors are trained in vitamins and nutrient requirements and many professional brands they prescribe cover all the key points mentioned here.
If you have any questions – feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org