Where Should We Get Our Vitamins
Our experts agree that the best source of vitamins is our diet. Whole, fresh, unprocessed foods provide the vitamins our bodies crave. Board certified rehabilitation specialist Dr. Scott Schreiber focuses on obtaining vitamins from whole foods. “Whole foods are the best source of vitamins and minerals,” he tells us. “If it grows from the ground, the way nature intended it, vitamins and minerals occur in their most natural states and can be absorbed the easiest.”
It’s also important to remember that heat can alter the makeup of the vitamins in food. “Cooking methods alter the nutritional status of fresh foods, especially the water-soluble vitamins,” nutritionist Amanda Henham of Vaga Nutrition explains. “So mixing up raw and cooked foods throughout the day is ideal.”
Fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of these vital nutrients. Vitamin A can be found in orange-colored vegetables like sweet potatoes and carrots. Henham recommends eating healthy fats like avocado and nuts to obtain vitamin E and leafy greens for vitamin K.
For the water soluble vitamins, reach for brightly colored fruits and vegetables like oranges, bell peppers, and berries.
Essential Vitamins We Need To Live
The vitamins our bodies need can be broken down into two groups: fat soluble vitamins and water soluble vitamins. Our bodies need both types to function properly.
Fat soluble vitamins need body fat to be absorbed and used by our organs. Vitamin A, vitamin E, and carotenoids are all fat soluble vitamins. Because these vitamins rely on fats to be used, we must eat a diet full of healthy fats. “A lack of healthy fats in the diet can lead to fat-soluble vitamin deficiencies, leading further into disease and malnutrition,” nutritionist Amanda Henham of Vaga Nutrition tells us. “They can also become toxic, as they are stored in fatty tissue.”
The other class of vitamins, water soluble vitamins, cannot be stored in our tissues like fat soluble ones. They are found in food, and once our bodies have used them, they excrete the excess in the urine. Because our bodies can’t hang on to these vitamins, we need to take them in, either from food or supplements. Common water soluble vitamins include folate, vitamin C, and the B vitamins. According to Henham, everyone needs these vitamins in their diets everyday, and “the requirements increase in certain conditions such as immune disorders, poor kidney and liver health, chronic stress, and medication use.”
Which Are The Best Vitamin D Foods And Sources
Our bodies make vitamin D when our skin is exposed to sunlight between March and September . If you have dark skin or always cover your skin when outside, talk to your midwife or doctor as you may not get enough.
You can find vitamin D in foods like oily fish , eggs and red meat. For more on how much and which fish it’s safe to eat during pregnancy, see here. As vitamin D is only present in a few foods, supplements can be useful .
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What If I Eat A Healthy Diet
Even if you eat an excellent diet with a lot of variety, it can still be difficult to get some nutrients in the amounts you need from food. Examples include folic acid, iron, vitamin D, choline and DHA. Thats why prenatal vitamins and some individual supplements are sometimes needed. I generally think of vitamin supplementation as a nutrition insurance policy. But there can definitely be too much of a good thing. And, dont depend on them too much. Taking a multi-vitamin gives you a kind of false sense of securityits OK if my diets not greatIm taking a prenatal! Always remember the power of food is much stronger than that of supplements!
Can I Take Regular Vitamins Until I Get My Prenatal Vitamins Refilled
It is fine to take a regular, over-the-counter multivitamin for a short time until you get your prescription refilled. This would not be advisable for long periods of time because prenatal vitamins have different amounts of certain vitamins and minerals that are specially formulated for pregnancy. For example, there is more iron in a prenatal vitamin than in a regular multivitamin. And, most prescription prenatals have DHA, a fatty acid thought to be important in fetal eye and brain growth, whereas many over the counter formulations do not. You can also ask your practitioner to give you some samples to help you temporarily.
Important Nutrients During Pregnancy
A healthy diet during your pregnancy will benefit you and promote your babys development. Talk to your doctor about supplements to make sure they’re necessary and safe for you and your baby.Folate or Folic Acid
Folate is the natural form of vitamin B9. It’s found in many foods. When its a supplement or added to foods, its known as folic acid.Folate helps prevent neural tube defects. The neural tube develops into your babys brain and spine. These birth defects happen very early in pregnancy, often before you know that youre pregnant. The two most common neural tube defects are spina bifida and anencephaly .Folate is found in different foods, including:
- Legumes, like peas and dried beans
- Leafy, dark green vegetables such as spinach, romaine lettuce, and broccoli
- Whole grains
- Fortified foods
If youre pregnant or breastfeeding, you should get 600 micrograms of folate a day. Its hard to get this amount from food, so doctors usually recommend a folic acid supplement.
More About Fatty Acids
Foods that provide omega-3 fatty acids include fish oil and certain plant and nut oils, while omega-6 fatty acids can be found in palm, soybean, rapeseed and sunflower oils. Fish oil contains two omega-3 fatty acidsDHA and eicosapentaenoic acid . Some nuts, seeds and vegetable oils contain alpha-linolenic acid , which may be converted to DHA and EPA in the body.
Omega-3 fatty acids can provide a wide range of health benefits, including a lower risk of coronary heart disease and improvement in cholesterol levels. There have also been promising results from studies looking at omega-3 for cancer, depression and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder .
Due to these potential health benefits, fish oil, which is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, has become a popular supplement.
There is evidence that recommended amounts of DHA and EPA, taken as fish or fish oil supplements, may lower triglycerides and reduce the risk of heart attack, abnormal heartbeat, and stroke in people who have heart disorders. DHA and EPA may also benefit people who have hardening of the arteries or high blood pressure.
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Potential Benefits During Pregnancy
During the third trimester, your baby’s brain growth is at its peak. This is when these supplements were supposed to have had an effect. What seems to be more important is the ratio of the omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. For example, if you increase the omega-3 PUFAs, you may decrease the arachidonic acid , an omega-6 PUFA, which may slow infant growth and development. DHA alone, without AA may also have negative side effects. Though it appears that real fish is what makes the difference and not artificial DHA.
This does not mean that the omega-3 PUFAs don’t have a chance. In fact, some recent observational studies have shown that there may be a correlation in preterm birth, preeclampsia as well as hypertension in pregnancy with the Omega-3 PUFAs. Women with a history of preterm labor had a 50 percent reduction in preterm labor rates with omega-3 PUFAs, though the general population did not seem to benefit. Though more quality studies are needed for all of these cases.
When To Start Taking Prenatal Vitamins
The best time to start taking prenatal vitamins is before conception. Folic acid is especially important. You should begin taking a folic acid supplement at least 1 month before you try to get pregnant to prevent birth defects.
Some doctors recommend that all women who could have a baby take prenatal vitamins, even if they dont plan a pregnancy.
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No Need For Extra Calcium During Pregnancy
Until 2006, Australian dietary recommendations advised increased calcium intake during pregnancy and breastfeeding. This advice has since been revised. Although the baby has a high requirement for calcium during the third trimester of pregnancy , the mothers increased capacity to absorb dietary calcium means that there is no need for extra intake.The recommended dietary intake for non-pregnant women remains unchanged during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Dairy foods and calcium-fortified soy milk are excellent dietary sources of calcium.
Is It Bad If You Dont Take Your Prenatal Vitamins During Your Pregnancy
The best way to stay healthy during your pregnancy is to eat right and maintain a healthy weight gain. Yes prenatal vitamins are an important part of your pregnancy nutrition, but they are never a subtitute for a healty well balanced diet. If you forget your vitamins once in a while do not panic…and do not “double up” because they may make you feel sick or increase constipation. I usually recommend that my patients put any “daily medicine” in a place they go every day…such as next to their toothbrushes, hairdryers, car keys, etc. Sometimes you can even set a daily reminder or alarm on your cell phone so you can remember to take your vitamins.
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Folic Acid Before And During Pregnancy
Its important to take a 400 micrograms folic acid tablet every day before you’re pregnant and until you’re 12 weeks pregnant.
Folic acid can help prevent birth defects known as neural tube defects, including spina bifida.
If you did not take folic acid before you conceived, you should start as soon as you find out you’re pregnant.
Try to eat green leafy vegetables which contain folate and breakfast cereals and fat spreads with folic acid added to them.
It’s difficult to get the amount of folate recommended for a healthy pregnancy from food alone, which is why it’s important to take a folic acid supplement.
Do I Need To Take Anything In Addition To My Prenatal Vitamin
“Supplement with calcium if your prenatal doesn’t contain enough,” says Kukreja. Most don’t because adding too much calcium to a multivitamin makes it unstable. Pregnant women need 1,000 milligrams a day many supplements only contain 150 milligrams to 250 milligrams. You can take a tums tablet daily to supplement it.
In addition, many pregnant women don’t get the institute of medicine’s recommendation for 600 IUs of vitamin D per day. But most prenatal vitamin formulations contain 400 IU, and this should be adequate when combined with a healthy diet, Dayal says. The March of Dimes also recommends that pregnant women get at least 200 milligrams of DHA daily. Found in fish and some plant-based, vegetarian sources, DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid that’s essential to fetal brain and eye development, Dayal says. Many prenatals contain DHA, but you also can take fish oil capsules they’re mercury-free.
Can I Take An Over
There’s nothing wrong with taking over-the-counter vitamins as long as they have a USP seal or NSF International certification these organizations monitor supplement quality. “We do have concerns about pills that contain certain herbs and those that may contain too much of a certain nutrient, like vitamin A, which can adversely affect the fetus’ development,” says Ashlesha Dayal, M.D., an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Montefiore Medical Center in Bronx, N.Y. “Take the bottle to your obstetrician to make sure that all the ingredients are safe,” Kukreja adds.
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You’ve probably heard of farm-to-table, but what about ocean-to-pill? These fish oil pills are ethically sourced from wild, sustainably caught fish and are free of artificial preservatives. Plus, the nice lemon flavor cuts down on the dreaded “fish burps” that can occur.
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Prenatal Vitamin Side Effects
Some prenatal vitamins can cause nausea in an already nauseated pregnant woman. If that happens to you, talk to your health care provider. They may be able to prescribe a different kind of prenatal vitamin that you dont have to swallow whole. Options include:
The iron in prenatal vitamins may also make you constipated. If youre constipated it can help to:
- Eat a high-fiber diet
- Exercise if your doctor says its safe for you
- Take a stool softener with your doctors OK
Do You Really Need A Prenatal Vitamin Five Reasons Why You Might
In this article in Health Magazine: Prenatal Vitamins-Do they Do More Harm Than Good?, writer Erica Kain describes the reaction of her doctor when she asked him about taking prenatal vitamins. He showed her the trash can! And he proceeded to refer to a reference textbook, Williams Obstetrics, that explained that recommending prenatal vitamins is more of a comfortable habit of OBs, rather than one based on iron-clad research.
In a recent review of the need for prenatals in the British Medical Journal, the consensus was that folic acid and vitamin D were the only ones with enough evidence to recommend them to all UK mums-to-be. The Boston Birth Cohort study showed that women taking prenatal vitamins had a lower risk of having a child with autism Women who took a prenatal 2 to 5 times a week had a lower risk, those that took it less than 2 or more than 5 had a higher risk. Heres the LA Times article that summarizes why a prenatal is still a good idea. Confusing? Yes!
After all, if youve been pregnant before, you know that taking your first prenatal vitamin has been a sort of right of passage, from the not-pregnant to the expecting world. That stroll down the vitamin aisle or the call to your doctor asking about what brand of prenatal she recommends means youve officially crossed over.
Should You Take a Prenatal Vitamin? It Depends.
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How To Take Vitamins During Pregnancy
You shouldnt miss a day without taking vitamins, as this will affect your babys optimal development. Its recommended that you take them in the morning with orange juice or another citrus fruit to aid their absorption. If you notice your stomach is upset after taking them, try to take them with food.
As we mentioned above, its essential that your doctor prescribes the correct amounts of vitamins for you to take. Avoid self-medication, because you could endanger not only your health, but your babys too.
Why Take Pregnancy Vitamins And Supplements
You may need vitamins and supplements if you:
- Have food allergies or dietary restrictions, such as a vegan diet
- Dont eat a well-balanced diet. Your doctor may recommend supplements if your diet is low in nutrients.
- Are pregnant with twins or other multiples
- Have nutrient deficiencies
- Smoke or abuse alcohol or drugs
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Do I Need To Take Pregnancy Multivitamins
Pregnancy multivitamins typically cost about £15 a month, and some contain around 20 vitamins and minerals. It is fine to take a multivitamin if you want to, but research has shown that it is not necessary. The key thing is taking the specific supplements you need and eating a healthy, balanced diet.
If you do take a multivitamin, make sure that it does not contain vitamin A, as too much can harm your baby.
What Are Prenatal Vitamins
Prenatal vitamins are multivitamins for pregnant women or women who are trying to get pregnant. Compared to a regular multivitamin, they have more of some nutrients that you need during pregnancy. Your health care provider may prescribe a prenatal vitamin for you, or you can buy them over the counter without a prescription. Take a prenatal vitamin every day during pregnancy. If youre planning to get pregnant, start taking prenatal vitamins before you get pregnant.
Your body uses vitamins, minerals and other nutrients in food to strong and healthy. During pregnancy, your growing baby gets all necessary nutrients from you. So you may need more during pregnancy than you did before. If youre pregnant with multiples , you may need more nutrients than if youre pregnant with one baby. Your prenatal vitamin contains the right amount of nutrients you need during pregnancy.
If youre a vegetarian, have food allergies or cant eat certain foods, your provider may want you to take a supplement to help you get more of certain nutrients. A supplement is a product you take to make up for certain nutrients that you dont get enough of in foods you eat. For example, your provider may recommend that you take a vitamin supplement to help you get more vitamin D, iron or calcium.
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Important Vitamins And Minerals For Pregnant Women
Even if you have a healthy and varied diet, there are certain vitamins and minerals you should monitor particularly closely to make sure you meet both your own needs and those of your baby.
Most people need supplements of one or more vitamins and minerals, and one solution may be to take a multi-vitamin mineral tablet daily as soon as you start trying to become pregnant or as soon as possible after you have found out that you are pregnant.
The best and safest thing is to take a supplement which contains approximately the recommended intake of the various vitamins and minerals. Avoid high doses of vitamins and minerals, unless they are recommended by a doctor.