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How Safe Are Prenatal Vitamins For You And Baby?

Posted Oct 22 2008 4:37pm
Why do women who are pregnant or planning to get pregnant take prenatal vitamins? Of course it's to supply their own body with the best vitamins and minerals so the baby is healthy. I recently wrote here how three to five percent of all U.S. babies are born with birth defects according to CDC figures in 2004. That's one in every thirty three baby having a birth defect. Causes may be from nutrient deficiencies to contaminants or a combination thereof. It's understandable how future parents will do everything they can to have a healthy baby. Prenatal vitamins are a big part when trying to conceive and while pregnant.

Some prenatal vitamin labels are printed with things like this:
"Formulated for Pregnant or Lactating Women"
"Quality Assured" and "Laboratory Premium Tested".
The "Laboratory Tested" protects you from fraud about what's in the bottle and in the pills: it means what's inside is what it says is inside. So far so good.

Now the bad news:
"Laboratory tested" on the Vitamin bottle does not protect you from ingredients that have been found to be at best useless and possibly dangerous.

If you read the ingredients on a prenatal vitamin like the one I found below it looks good so mothers take them as protection. Here's the actual ingredients from a popular prenatal vitamin label:
Amount Per 1 Capsule:
Vitamin A(beta-carotene) -- Vitamin C(ascorbic acid) --Vitamin D -- Vitamin E(d-alpha tocopherol) --Vitamin B1(thiamine mononitrate) -- Vitamin B2(riboflavin) --Niacin(niacinamide)-- Vitamin B6(pyridoxine hydrochloride) -- Folic acid(folacin)-- Vitamin B12 cyanocobalamin) -- Biotin -- Pantothenic acid(d-calcium pantothenate)
Iron(ferrous fumarate)-- Iodine(potassium iodide) -- Magnesium(oxide) -- Zinc(gluconate) -- Copper(gluconate) -- FD&C Yellow #6 Lake

Sounds good right?

Here are three things (on this Vitamin ingredient list) I noticed right off:
1. All the vitamins listed (under Supplement Facts) are isolated synthetic vitamins. This is not a good thing.

2. The first ingredient listed in Supplement Facts for these Vitamins is synthetic Vitamin A. This is more bad news. Here's why:

a. The New England Journal of Medicine reported in 1995:
22,000 pregnant women were given synthetic Vitamin A. The study was halted because birth defects increased 400%. - New England Journal of Medicine, 1995.


b. The prestigious Cochrane Library's* massive review of the vitamin literature (published last month) noted that "Vitamins A, C and E are 'a waste of time and may even shorten your life'".
(*Cochrane Library, a publication of the Cochrane Collaboration, a well known international organization which evaluates healthcare research.)

3. This bottle, 'formulated for pregnant or lactating women' includes artificial food coloring: FD&C Yellow #6 Lake. Artificial food and supplement colorings are made of coal tar and petrochemicals.
(Artificial food coloring is known to be toxic and detrimental to children, among others.)See here for references.

Laboratory tested, while a good thing, is not sufficient. It does not mean safe.

To protect yourself and your unborn baby:
On the labels of any vitamins you buy, check for two things:

1) artificial food colorings. Words like Yellow #6 Lake or Blue #2 Lake.

If a company puts that in a VITAMIN for pregnant women, how concerned are they with the woman's health or that of her baby?

2) All or mostly synthetic vitamins, especially vitamin A. Use the list in the free report, Are Your Vitamins Safe?

Buy whole food supplements, Whole Foods store or other health food stores carry these, ask for them or try ours for free.

Not sure about the difference in whole food supplements and synthetic vitamins? This might help.

READ THE LABEL. Just because it's tested and directed at pregnant women (as these were) doesn't mean it's safe. If this matters to you - read labels.

Kim Klaver found the same thing while sifting through the multivitamins sent in for the trade program.

Three steps to trade multivitamins.


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