When it comes to finding a prenatal vitamin, it’s important not to let advertising hype sway your purchasing choices. Finding a prenatal should be about supporting any possible deficiencies in your nutritional intake with the highest quality supplements possible.
Obviously in an ideal world we would all be eating perfectly, such as organic vegetables and fruits, with minimally processed foods, but that’s rarely the case. A prenatal vitamin is designed to fill any nutritional gaps so that your future baby can grow healthy and strong.
The tricky part as a consumer is that marketing hype will often make a product seem fantastic, but the truth is a little more complex. Take iron for example. A product might claim to have high levels of iron, but the form that iron is in is actually what impacts it’s absorbability. An iron form such as ferrous fumarate (found in Elevit) will have trouble absorbing well in your gut. An amino acid chelate form of iron (found in Tresos Natal) can use smaller amounts in your vitamin tablet because it actually absorbs better, making it what we call more ‘bioavailable’. A fancy word for how much of it your body can actually utilise well.
The form of folate in your prenatal is really critical to how well you can absorb it, and whether or not your body is protecting your baby against neural tube defects. A certain portion of the population have a gene polymorphism (meaning a variation from the norm) that reduces their ability to absorb the common form of folate, called folic acid. If you have this gene polymorphism, you may not be able to process folic acid. This is why a supplement containing the bioactive version of folate, known as folinic acid or levomefolate calcium (5-MTHF) is so important, because everyone that takes these forms can gain the neural tube-protective benefits from the supplement. You can read more about the MTHFR gene defect HERE.
As a consumer, it’s important to remember that the largest quantity of a vitamin in your supplement doesn’t actually make the supplement better, it’s the ability of that vitamin to be absorbed that counts. As a Doctor of Chinese Medicine who is also studying a Master of Reproductive Medicine, I’ve done all the research into various prenatal vitamins, and I choose to prescribe Eagle Tresos Natal to my patients, rather than the more common Elevit. If you would like to discuss your prenatal health, and get access to the best prenatal nutritional supplements, you can book in to see me at my clinics or via a Skype consultation (just choose the Fertility appointment option on the booking page HERE).
Effectiveness of iron formats: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24652170