VITAFORCE is a Great Prenatal Multivitamin

Pregnant Woman- Prenatal MultivitaminVITAFORCE is a fantastic foundational nutrient supplement for women who are pregnant since it provides the vitamins and minerals and other essential nutrients needed by both mother and baby. Because VITAFORCE provides these nutrients from its nutritious, whole-food, plant-based ingredients, mother and baby also get the benefits associated with the phytonutrients, antioxidants, probiotics, and trace minerals from VITAFORCE’s organic fruits, vegetables and super greens.

The problem with most prenatal multivitamins is that they are loaded with extremely high amounts of certain nutrients that can potentially put the baby or the mother’s health at risk.  Additionally, prenatals can often cause discomfort (i.e. nausea, vomiting and constipation) for the mother during pregnancy, perhaps because of the very high iron content, which is often unnecessary and avoidable.

Vitamin A

The first major concern with prenatal vitamins is that they contain preformed Vitamin A in the form of retinol and its derivatives.  It is widely accepted that preformed Vitamin A can cause birth defects if intake is too high.[1]  And, high preformed Vitamin A intake also puts the mother at higher risk for osteoporosis and hip fractures.[2]  On the flip side, a pregnant mother’s deficiency in Vitamin A also presents risks to the baby.[3]

Why risk all these dangerous complications, when you can get all the Vitamin A your body needs from sources that actually promote health and are non-toxic.  This form of Vitamin A is the natural mix of hundreds of carotenoids found naturally in plant foods. So many of these carotenoids have been linked in studies to inproved health (carotenoids include beta carotene, alpha carotene, lycopene, lutein among hundreds of others).

VITAFORCE gets  its Vitamin A from these mixed carotenoids found naturally in plant foods.  This is, in our opinion, the only form of Vitamin A that should be consumed on a regular basis during pregnancy.

Iron

Most prenatal vitamins provide very high doses of synthetic iron.  High doses of iron wreak havoc with the digestive tract and promote nausea.  In fact, many pregnant women who think they have morning sickness in their first trimester often find their nausea goes away when they stop taking their prenatal vitamin – the reason for this can be the high doses of iron.

Not only can the iron make you extremely uncomfortable, it also can do significant long-term damage to your health.  Among other things, excess iron intake has been shown in studies to decrease life span and increase heart disease risk.[4]

However, it is common for mothers to become anemic or borderline anemic during their pregnancy.  Taking in some extra iron, therefore, may be a good idea, but most women do not need the excessive amounts found in most prenatals.  Only consume higher quantities of iron when pregnant if it is medically necessary.

VITAFORCE contains very high quality and bioavailable iron.  In addition to taking VITAFORCE, we generally recommend an intake of 20mg to 25mg of iron either from a carefully planned diet, or from a high quality iron supplement.  You should discuss the amount of iron you need with your medical professional.

Folic Acid

While you have most likely heard that folic acid is critical to a healthy pregnancy, what you may not know is that Folic Acid is actually the synthetic version of a B vitamin that is found naturally in food.  This B vitamin is called Folate.  While Folate is indeed extremely healthy for both mother and baby, and does help lower risk of neural tube defects, folic acid is not a safe supplement and should be avoided.

Most pregnant mothers and their doctors do not typically know that folic acid, even in doses of 400 mcg per day, have been associated with 32% increased risk of breast cancer later in life.[5]  Most prenatals provide 800mcg to 1600 mcg of folic acid per day — 2 to 3 times the amount shown to increase breast cancer risk.  One study showed that women given a large dose of folic acid during their pregnancies have twice the risk of dying from breast cancer.[6]

Diets rich in natural folate from foods, however, seem to decrease risks of breast cancer, and other colon cancer.[7]

VITAFORCE contains Folate which comes from its natural whole-food ingredients.  Because of this, VITAFORCE is a much safer option as a prenatal than most any other supplement.

Other Benefits of VITAFORCE

Many of the ingredients in VITAFORCE have been shown in studies to have other significant benefits to the mother and child as well. Some of these important ingredients are listed below:

Cruciferous Vegetables — In a study done by the well-respected Linus Pauling Institute, promising results were shown that the mother’s intake of cruciferous vegetables while pregnant may help to protect her offspring from developing cancer later in life, even when the offspring is exposed to known carcinogens.[8]  VITAFORCE contains organic kale, organic collard greens, organic broccoli, and organic broccoli sprouts, all of which are cruciferous vegetables.

Probiotics — A very common side effect of pregnancy is constipation.  Probiotics help promote healthy gastrointestinal function, which aids in relieving the very common problem of constipation that pregnant women face.  In addition, probiotics taken by the mother during pregnancy have been shown in studies to decrease the baby’s risk of developing allergies and eczema,[9] and have even been shown to increase the immune system.[10]  VITAFORCE contains 2 billion probiotics per serving, plus an abundance of prebiotics to support and feed the probiotics in the gut.

What other supplements should you take in addition to VITAFORCE during pregnancy?

As always, you should check with your medical professional to create an appropriate supplement regimen for the optimal health of you and your baby.  Generally speaking, we recommend that in addition to a daily serving of VITAFORCE, you should also be taking:

(1) a high quality iron supplement as needed;

(2) a high quality DHA/EPA essential fatty acid supplement daily; and

(3) an extra 1000 to 2000 IU of Vitamin D if your blood levels are low in Vitamin D, as is very often the case in pregnancy.  You should have your blood levels tested and discuss the results with your medical professional.

[1] N Engl J Med. 1995 Nov 23;333(21):1369-73.
[2] Johnson EJ, Russell RM. Beta-Carotene. In: Coates PM, Betz JM, Blackman MR, et al., eds. Encyclopedia of Dietary Supplements. 2nd ed. London and New York: Informa Healthcare; 2010:115-20.
Solomons NW. Vitamin A. In: Bowman B, Russell R, eds. Present Knowledge in Nutrition. 9th ed. Washington, DC: International Life Sciences Institute; 2006:157-83.
Ribaya-Mercado JD, Blumberg JB. Vitamin A: is it a risk factor for osteoporosis and bone fracture? Nutr Rev 2007;65:425-38.
[3] J Pediatr. 2013 Mar;162(3 Suppl):S26-30.
[4] Brewer GJ. Iron and Copper Toxicity in Diseases of Aging, Particularly Atherosclerosis and Alzheimer’s Disease. Exp Biol Med 232 (2): 323. 2007
Arch Intern Med. 2011;171(18):1625-1633. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2011.445.
[5] Stolzenberg-Solomon RZ et al. Folate intake, alcohol use, and postmenopausal breast cancer risk in the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006 Apr;83(4):895-904.
Kim YI. Does a high folate intake increase the risk of breast cancer? Nut Rev; 2006; 64(10PT1) 468-75.
Figueiredo JC et al. Folic acid and risk of prostate cancer: results from a randomized clinical trial. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2009 Mar 18;101(6):432-5. Epub 2009 Mar 10.
[6] Nutr Rev. 2006 Oct;64(10 Pt 1):468-75.
Charles D, Ness AR, Campbell D, et al. Taking folate in pregnancy and risk of maternal breast cancer. BMJ 2004;329:1375-1376. 
[7] Sellers TA, Kushi LH, Cerhan JR, et al. Dietary folate intake, alcohol, and risk of breast cancer in a prospective study of postmenopausal women. Epidemiology 2001;12:420-428.
[8] YU Z, MAHADEVAN B, LOEHR CV, FISCHER KA, LOUDERBACK MA, KRUEGER SK, PEREIRA CB, ALBERSHARDT DJ, BAIRD WM, BAILEY GS, and WILLIAMS DE. Indole-3-carbinol in the maternal diet provides chemoprotection for the fetus against transplacental carcinogenesis by the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon dibenzo[a,l]pyrene. Carcinogenesis 27:2116-2123, 2006.
[9] Zhonghua Er Ke Za Zhi. 2012 Jul;50(7):504-9.
J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2008 Jan;121(1):116-121.e11.
Clin Exp Allergy. 2007 Mar;37(3):348-57.
[10] Early Hum Dev.
 2012 Jun;88(6):339-44.
Dietary supplementation with probiotics during late pregnancy: outcome on vaginal microbiota and cytokine secretion,” Vitali B, Cruciani F, et al, BMC Microbiol, 2012 Oct 18; 12(1):236.

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