Poor Quality Pregnancy Multi In Fancy Packaging
Deficiencies in some vitamins and minerals, especially early in pregnancy, can result in permanent damage to the fetus.
Eating a healthy, varied diet during pregnancy and breastfeeding, should help you get all the vitamins and minerals you need, but sometimes it is hard to meet the body’s needs through diet alone and you will need to supplement with nutrients important for yours and your baby’s health.
If you are expecting a little one, you want to do the best for your own health and the health of your baby.
However, the quality of most prenatal vitamins on the market is greatly lacking.
Just because some products on the market have been promoted as being “natural” or “healthy” doesn’t automatically make it true, and such is the case with some pregnancy multi-vitamins, like Bayer’s Elevit and Blackmore’s Pregnancy and Breastfeeding Formula.
When looking at the most of the pregnancy multi on the market, they not only provide poor quality vitamins and minerals in low dose, but are also loaded with additives, fillers, and artificial colours, that can cause a whole lot of health problems in large doses.
Pregnancy is no time to cut quality corners with nutrition. You want to make sure that the prenatal vitamin you are taking is truly supporting your health and the healthy development of your baby.
Vitamins and Minerals That Should Be in Your Pregnancy Formula:
At the top of your nutrient needs are B vitamins, especially folate, B12, and B6, which work synergistically to facilitate optimal nerve development.
Folate is essential during pregnancy. Folate defiency can result in neural tube defects in developing embryos.
Although Elevit contains 800 mcg of folic acid, it is synthetic and may actually clog folic acid receptors in your digestive tract and cause unpredictable results and low absorption.
Active forms of folate are readily transported through the blood brain barrier into the central nervous system and will increase active folate levels the fastest.
The rest of the B Vitamins in Elevit (B1, B2, B3, B6, and B12) are in minuscule amounts and will hardly have any beneficial effects.
Deficiencies of folate, riboflavin, vitamin B-6, or vitamin B-12 lead to elevated plasma homocysteine (Hcy) concentrations.
Homocysteinemia (high Homocysteine levels) is associated with a greater risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes.
Iron and Zinc
These minerals are every bit as important to pregnancy as folic acid.
Chelated minerals are the preferred choice, because their complex structures better survive passage through the acidic environment of the stomach and into the small intestine where absorption into the bloodstream takes place.
Elevit provides 60 mg of elemental iron, but in a non-heme iron form called ferrous fumarate. Ferrous fumarate is associated with side effects, such as diarrhoea, flatulance and nausea.
In widely used non-chelated mineral salts such as ferrous fumarate, once the stomach acid liberates the metal ion, it remains free and is quickly flushed through the intestine with minimal absorption.
Elevit and Blackmore’s Pregnancy and Breastfeeding Formula, contain the cheap, low-quality zinc sulphate, which is poorly absorbed form of zinc and can actually use up your antioxidant reserves.
Calcium is important for strong bones and teeth, but it is also critical for proper development and function of the heart and other muscles, as well as for the blood clotting system.
The fetus demands a huge supply of calcium during development and pregnant women require additional calcium (RDA 1,200 mg) as opposed to the low dose present in Blackmore’s Pregnancy and Breastfeeding Formula.
How well calcium supplements are used by the body varies depending on the form of calcium used. Microcrystalline hydroxyapatite has consistently shown superiority over other forms of calcium supplementation.
Calcium phosphate, calcium lactate, and calcium gluconate are not as good because they have small percentages of elemental calcium in each tablet, so you have to take many tablets to get enough calcium.
Calcium hydronate phosphate, the form of calcium in Elevit, has a very small percentages of elemental calcium and provides very poor absorption.
The form of magnesium used in Elevit and Blackmore’s Pregnancy and Breastfeeding Formula is Magnesium oxide (Magnesium bound to an oxide molecule) which is again poorly absorbed in the digestive tract and can cause unwanted effects such as gut discomfort and diarrhoea.
Some prenatal vitamins do contain DHA as well, but the source of fish is very important, as is the manufacturing process to prevent heavy metals and toxins from contaminating the DHA.
For this reason, you would be much better taking a separate superior quality fish oil supplement.
Harmful Additives That Shouldn’t Be in Your Pregnancy Formula:
It’s common knowledge that drugs, vitamins or supplements contain more than just the active ingredient.
Something has to encapsulate them, hold them together in a form that not only makes them usable, but producible by a manufacturer in massive quantities.
A additive in Elevit and Blackmores Pregnancy Vitamins, Magnesium stearate is not a supplemental source of magnesium but rather a form of stearic acid, used to help the raw materials become more slippery and easily flow through the machines that create the supplements.
It’s essentially chalk, and previous research has shown that it suppresses your natural killer cells, which are a key component of your immune system and is harmful to the the liver over time.
Unfortunately, it stimulates your gut to form a biofilm – a sort of sludge lining – that acts as an effective barrier to the absorption of not only supplements, but all the nutrients you would normally get from food sources as well.
We may not know if the small quantities of stearates found in vitamins are enough to cause health problems, but do you really want to be taking vitamins or other nutritional supplements on a long-term basis with these ingredients in them?
Titanium dioxide is an absolutely unnecessary whitening agent you don’t want to see in your supplements, as it has been shown to cause autoimmune disorders.
It has shown to be a potential carcinogen to humans. Rats studies have shown that inhalation of ultrafine titanium dioxide can cause respiratory tract cancer.
Binders are used to hold ingredients together. They also give weight and allow small active ingredients to be combined into an easy to take capsule or tablet. Binders are typically a sugar derivative and include: lactose, sucrose, microcrystalline cellulose, malitol, sorbitol, xylitol etc.
Lactose can cause severe gastro-intestinal upset in women with lactose intolerance.
Talc, a suspected carcinogen, that is used in many capsules for vitamins and other nutritional supplements today when they are manufactured with a high-speed encapsulator.
It makes the ingredients flow faster and therefore, much cheaper to make. But over the long term, taking that vitamin may very well be detrimental to your health.
Keep in mind that cheaper often means poor quality!
If you are looking to get pregnant, already pregnant or breastfeeding switching your Elevit for Eagle Tresos Natal is the best decision you can make for the health of your children.
If you need some extra advice on choosing the right supplement for you. make sure you consult one of Emed’s Integrative Medicine Practitioners.
We will take your medical history, your diet and lifestyle, and your current medications into consideration and choose any diagnostic tests necessary to prescribe a dietary and nutritional supplement plan that is best for you and your baby.
- Folic Acid And Fertility – Doing More Harm Than Good?
- Making a Healthy Baby
- Early Prenatal Vitamin Intake Can Save Your Child From Autism
- Fish Oil During Pregnancy Leads To Smart Babies
- Emed’s Best Pregnancy and Breast Feeding Formulas
Karageorgi S, G. M. (2010). Perineal use of talcum powder and endometrial cancer risk. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev., 1269-75.