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Synthetic Vitamins In My Pre-Natals? Damn!

Posted Jan 11 2009 5:30pm
Okay, so here I am trying to have the healthiest body as possible in preparation of conceiving. Even though I eat a very healthy diet, with tons of fresh, organic, raw foods, I will need extra nutrients when I get pregnant. To make sure I'm getting them, I thought I'd take pre-natal vitamins. In my quest for the perfect pre-natals, I thought back to the many studies I read years ago showing how harmful synthetic vitamins could be. I learned that you should be able to read and comprehend the ingredients without needing a PhD in chemistry. So, I was on the hunt for a completely whole-food, non-synthetic multi, pre-natal vitamin.

I went to Whole Foods and asked for a recommendation for pre-natal vitamins, because once I was there, I saw some bottles labeled as having some organic aspects (but not all...hhhhmmm) as well as some labels claiming they were food-based. I was recommended this brand,Super Nutrition, which I bought because I saw the words "food-based" on the label and figured I'd trust the "oh so sure these are the best you can buy sales girl."

I started taking them for a couple weeks. I had a stomach ache a few times because I didn't take them with enough food, although they claim to not upset your stomach ( uh-oh - this got me rethinking my choice). Plus, my pee was very yellow, let's be honest, it glowed in the dark. I mean, think about it, my pee isn't neon yellow no matter how many bananas or greens or fruit I eat. So, neon pee after taking a supplement... Double uh-oh.

I immediately became curious and put on my detective hat. For starters, I emailed the Super Nutrition Vitamin company that I had been taking to inquire as to whether they had any synthetic ingredients. Here is their response:


Dear Kristen,
Thank you for your interest in SuperNutrition.Our PreNatal multi-vitamins use USP nutrients, in a food-based tablet.

By law, all vitamins manufactured in the United States, including SuperNutrition's, are made with U.S.P. (United States Pharmacopoeia) grade nutrients, the majority of which (with only one or two nutrients excepted) are always synthetic in every company, no matter the subsequent processing of the tablet or the terms used to describe the processing.

U.S.P. nutrients are bioidentical to the vitamins found in food, and have been shown by over 200,000 published, independent, and peer reviewed scientific studies to be well-absorbed and beneficial for the body.

Our vegetarian, hypoallergenic, food-based tablets are made up of plant vegetable fibers and green foods such as, alfalfa, chlorella, dulce and spirulina. These plant fibers aid in disintegration of the tablet and the green food blend, contain various, and valuable micronutrients. We use no artificial fillers or binders in any of our products, everything in our tablets contribute to the nutritional whole of the product. Please contact us with any other questions.

WTF? U.S.P.?By law?Pharmacopoeia?I don't even like those words! I was immediately skeptical since I knew from past research that there were whole food-based vitamins out there. By law, my ass. The problem was that it had been a long time since I researched vitamin supplements because I never felt the need to supplement with how great my diet was. And, I figured the label was enough if it claimed they were food-based. And their reply with over 200,00 studies, well, it only takes one study showing me a link with dangerous problems resulting from synthetic vitamins to get me scared (examples on that below). Plus, I knew there had to be totally food-based vitamins out there, so the option was available, meaning, to me, that there was a reason they were available. I just had to find them.

Needless to say, I'm a little fired up. You always have to do double research and get recommendations from people you trust, not just someone who works in a reputed health food store, even when you ask if they're whole food based.

I was pretty upset when I realized I'd been taking synthetics, knowing how harmful they can be. Just because they contained some organic greens (and such) doesn't mean squat if they also have synthetics. For example, Synthetic Vitamin C linked to the thickening of the arterial walls of the heart by as much as 2.5 times. Synthetic Vitamin A linked to birth defects in pregnant women who took it. Synthetic Vitamin E linked to lung cancer.

Therefore, I will be returning the vitamins I bought (I had stocked up and bought 2 bottles).

Update 12/1/08:
I have been looking at New Chapter PreNatals and it looks like those might be the answer.


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