For awhile, I was taking pre-natal vitamins (was not pregnant) to encourage my hair to grow. And I tell you what, it worked! My hair grew like a weed and I was so excited, because it was the first time in my life it was lush and healthy. Probably because I was getting so many vitamins.
However, I later heard that I was really lucky that I didn't end up developing kidney stones or any other physical problems due to taking in excess vitamins that my body didn't require. Is this true?
Prenatal vitamins are safe. The prenatal vitamin is a multivitamin preparation that is formulated for the needs of pregnancy. The key vitamin is folate (a deficiency in folate causes birth defects) and there is a key mineral, calcium (to support bone development).
If you are prone to forming calcium-based kidney stones, then any excess source of calcium in the diet could increase your risk of having a stone. But the amount of calcium in the vitamins is small (300mg) in comparison with Calcium therapy (500-1000mg daily). As long as you do not become dehydrated, the risk of getting a kidney stone from prenatal vitamins is pretty small. Your risk of kidney stones goes up if you become dehydrated, even if you do not have any excess calcium in your diet. So drink plenty of water when you are out hiking in the summer heat!
The other vitamins and mineral in the preparation are not going to hurt you. Here is the list of components in a typical prenatal vitamin preparation:
* 4,000 - 5,000 IU (international units) of vitamin A
* 800 - 1,000 mcg (1 mg) of folic acid
* 400 IU of vitamin D
* 200 to 300 mg of calcium
* 70 mg of vitamin C
* 1.5 mg of thiamine
* 1.6 mg of riboflavin
* 2.6 mg of pyridoxine
* 17 mg of niacinamide
* 2.2 mcg of vitamin B-12
* 10 mg of vitamin E
* 15 mg of zinc
* 30 mg of iron
Vitamin B is actually eight different water soluble vitamins that create the B-Complex vitamin when combined. These eight vitamin B sources are derived from different whole food and synthesized sources and are vital to leading a healthy life.