Are there heavy metals in your prenatal vitamins?!
How to choose a prenatal vitamin
Are there heavy metals in your prenatal vitamin? What are the best prenatal vitamins? There are so many options on the market it can be difficult to know which one to choose (and time-consuming to figure out!). One study collected and tested twenty-six commonly used prenatal vitamin brands, including one prescription brand, for toxic element contamination. They found lead, arsenic, and other toxic elements such as Aluminum, Nickel, Titanium, and Thallium in all samples!
Cumulative intake of prenatal supplement may create a significant source of toxic element exposure to the mother and offspring. Plus, very few organizations have set limits for reproductive toxicity in relation to gestational and/or lactational exposure to toxins. The most stringent is from Proposition 65 in California, the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act.
A cost/benefit analysis of the vitamins tested revealed no correlation between product cost and the level of contamination. Being labeled as non-GMO, organic or pesticide-free did not correlate with the level of toxic element contamination!
Labdoor is a wonderful resource to use when verifying the quality of prenatal vitamins or multivitamins.
Here are a few things to keep in mind as you search for your prenatal vitamin
-Go for a food based prenatal vitamin as they contain enzymes, phytonutrients, and other factors that make them easier to absorb and digest (let's help a pregnant mama out by reducing constipation rather than adding to it!). Prenatal vitamins that are not food based are made up of isolated vitamins that can cause constipation.
-All prenatal vitamins should contain sufficient essential minerals and vitamin D to potentially reduce the amount of toxic elements absorbed.
-Take a prenatal with a probiotic in it.
-DHA: we don't naturally produce DHA but it is essential to the formation of the fetal nervous system and may reduce the incidence of postpartum depression. I recommend taking DHA in pregnancy although your OB provider might just encourage a 'healthy diet rich in DHA.' If taking a prenatal with DHA make sure to find one with a high-quality DHA source that's manufactured responsibly. Check our Nordic Naturals for more information on DHA.
-Find a prenatal vitamin that does not contain any of the eight major allergens (Milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, soybeans).
-If you have MTHFR defect, a defect that makes it difficult for your body to convert folic acid (and even folate) into a usable form (called methylation), find a prenatal blend designed for women who have the MHTFR mutation.
And in case these recommendations feel overwhelming to you, here is my list of favorite prenatal vitamins that meet all the above requirements.
Garden of Life
Zahler prenatal (MTHFR defect)
Nordic Naturals prenatal DHA