Pregnancy Vitamins - why and what?
Can't believe it's taken us 10 years, but we have finally found a pregnancy vitamin from Bioceuticals that we love! And along with that, Bioceuticals have a range of other products that we highly recommend.
Let’s start with why you need a Pregnancy Multivitamin. There are some Vitamins and minerals that are needed, and some that are optional. If you have a diet high in unprocessed food - meat, grains, dairy, fruit and vegetables - then you may not need a regular supplement but there are some vitamins and minerals that are essential.
Folate/Folic Acid -. Folate helps prevent Neural tube defects, the most commonly known one of these is Spina Bifida. Neural tube develops in the first 28 days of pregnancy which is why you need to take Folate before falling pregnant. Most people require 500 micrograms (mcg) or 0.5mg of folate. Some women, however require a much higher dose of 5mg. Women in this category are those with a previous pregnancy affected by a neural tube defect, a BMI over 30, pre existing diabetes, medication for epilepsy and women with a known MTHFR mutation. There are other more rare conditions that also need higher dose folate. The easiest way to ensure you take the correct dose is to book a pregnancy planning appointment with your GP and make sure everything is covered.
Do you have an MTHFR mutation? Don't know? That why we love NATAL ESSENTIALS. It contains activated forms of Folate and the other B Vitamins. If you have an MTHFR mutation you are less able to convert folate into its active form so NATAL ESSENTIALS does it for you. It is estimated that around 25% of women may benefit from activated folate.*
Most people would be aware that women should start taking a folate supplement 3 months before conceiving. As we don’t know exactly how long it’s going to take to fall pregnant you could be taking the folate for longer than 3 months, and in fact some sources suggest that women of childbearing age should take a folate supplement continuously because a full 50% of pregnancies are unplanned.
Additionally, there is building evidence that 50% of the lip and tongue ties we see are related to low folic acid levels (I am still investigating this claim, let you know when I find proof).
Next, you need Iodine. Iodine is the mineral that the thyroid uses to produce its hormones, and it plays a huge part in the development of organs and the brain in the early weeks. Iodine continues to be important to the developing infant for the first two years of life. NHMRC (National Health & Medical Research Council) recommend 150 mcg daily. Your probably aware that Iodine is found in seaweed and you could take a kelp supplement but it's difficult for us to correctly gauge the dose of iodine with kelp, and you would need to be sure of the kelp source and that it didn't contain heavy metals - the same concern with fish in pregnancy.
Those are the essential two that are globally recommended. Following that is the range of vitamins and minerals for which women have an increasing requirement and may need supplementation. These include:
Iron - During pregnancy the average blood volume of the woman increases by almost 50% and likewise the iron requirements. Good iron levels are important throughout pregnancy but often don't require supplementation. The need for this may increase towards the later half of pregnancy. NATAL ESSENTIALS doesn’t contain iron - This is a good thing. It's often the iron in the formula that makes morning sickness worse, so it means you are more likely to take it all the way through preconception and the first 13 weeks when the other ingredients are really needed. When you do need iron Bioceuticals has a separate formula FE BIOACTIVE that we will suggest if you need it. FE BIOACTIVE is a highly bioavailable iron supplement with additional cofactors for enhanced absorption with less side effects than mainline products.
B12 - Also important for infant neurodevelopment (brain and nervous system) during pregnancy and onwards during breastfeeding. NATALS ESSENTIALS contains an active form of B12 to ensure your covered.
Vitamin D is important to protect bones - both the baby’s and the woman`s. While you need really low Vitamin D levels for the baby to have a problem, we are not so certain about the levels required to maintain the pregnant woman’s bone density later into life. Vitamin D supplementation is safe, cheap and easy. Bioceuticals have D3 BIOACTIVE.
Calcium - Usually a woman’s diet will have enough calcium but the requirements are high in pregnancy - Over 1000mg. Probably better off focussing on your Vitamin D levels and including high calcium products in your diet unless you have a history of pre eclampsia - then calcium supplementation reduces your risk of recurrence by 50%.
Co-enzyme Q10 - another vitamin which has increasing evidence that it reduces the risk of Pre eclampsia in pregnancy by almost 50% - just not enough evidence to make it a global recommendation as yet.
Fish Oil - The active ingredients in fish oil are DHA and EPA. DHA is important for eye and brain development of the baby during pregnancy and after birth. Infants continue to accrue omega-3 fatty acids into the brain for the first 18 months of life, and additional studies have shown an increase in the hand eye coordination, cognitive function and visual acuity of children 2.5-4 years after birth where the mothers took an Omega-3 supplement. Definite benefits, just not enough information to make it a global recommendation.
NATAL ESSENTIALS contains all the essential nutrients required in pregnancy along with many of the suggested or recommended ones. If NATAL ESSENTIALS doesn’t contain the specific vitamin, or a high enough dose, then there are supplementary products that provide these such as FE BIOACTIVE, ULTRACLEAN DHA OMEGA (Fish oil), D3 BIOACTIVE (Vitamin D), and ARMAFORCE PREGNANCY (immune support during pregnancy).
We also have a number of non-pregnancy supplements as well... And as time and demand indicate we'll add more to this.. MENOSUPPORT, ANXIOCALM and a large range of PROBIOTICS, MULTIVITAMINS and IMMUNESUPPORT SUPPLEMENTS.
Why BIOCEUTICALS “CLINIC ONLY”?
BioCeuticals white label have scientific evidence they do what they say they are going to do. They are as well researched as mainstream pharmaceuticals while remaining natural - just herbs and vitamins. But they are “Clinic only” - that means they need to be "prescribed" for you by one of the Medical or Nursing Staff. Ask any of them. If they're not sure, they'll find me.
Dr Kris xx
*References available for all statements made.