Which Vitamins Should You Be Taking Here’s What Science Says
It can be difficult to figure out which vitamins your body is missing. Here are the top recommendations by age group.
Taylor Leamey writes about all things wellness, specializing in mental health, sleep and nutrition coverage. She has invested hundreds of hours into studying and researching sleep and holds a Certified Sleep Science Coach certification from the Spencer Institute. Taylor also holds bachelor’s degrees in both Psychology and Sociology.
Vitamins and minerals are essential for our bodies to function properly. The good news is that typically most people get everything they need from their food. There are times when that isn’t enough, though, and vitamin supplements help fill the gaps.
Our vitamin needs evolve throughout our lives. For example, childhood is a time of extreme growth and requires additional vitamins to supplement it. Then, our bodies stop absorbing and producing certain nutrients when we’re older, making us vulnerable to deficiencies. Determining when to start taking vitamins can be difficult. Let’s dig into which vitamins each age group should be taking.
Best Overall: Thorne Research Basic Prenatal
If youre looking for an excellent overall prenatal, Thornes Basic Prenatal is the top pick, particularly for its highly absorbable form of folate. Adequate intake of folate is known to support the healthy development of the fetuss organs and tissues. In addition, it is especially critical for the closure of the neural tube, which is the precursor to the brain and spinal cord.
Though many foods like cereal, bread, and grains are enriched with folic acid and other b vitamins, supplementation is still recommended for pregnant women, as their need for this nutrient becomes 50 percent higher.
It is recommended that women consume 600 micrograms of supplemental folic acid, in addition to the folate found in food. Thornes Basic Prenatal contains 1,000 micrograms of metabolically active folic acid283 percent of the recommended daily intake for folate. In addition, this prenatal is gluten-, dairy-, soy-, and artificial flavor-free.
Thornes facility is NSF- and cGMP-compliant and they rigorously test for 760 contaminants to verify the identity, potency, and purity of each ingredient listed on their product labels.
Are Prenatal Vitamins Beneficial
Those that are trying to conceive: The CDC recommends that all women of reproductive age take 400 micrograms of folic acid each day to prevent neural birth defects in case you become pregnant.
Those that are pregnant: Pregnancy is a time of increased nutrient needs. According to USDA data, many pregnant and lactating people are not meeting recommendations for certain food groups and specific nutrients, so it is generally recommended for these populations to take a daily prenatal vitamin. Both the CDC and American College of Obstretricians and Gynecologists recommend taking a daily prenatal vitamin with 400 micrograms of folic acid during pregnancy.
Those that are breastfeeding: It may be beneficial to continue a prenatal vitamin postpartum while breastfeeding however the RDAs for lactating women differ slightly from the needs of pregnant women. For example, prenatal vitamins may exceed postpartum needs for both iron and folic acid, and may be too low in iodine and choline.
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What Is Vitamin D
Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium. It also helps your bodys nerves, muscles and immune system work. Your immune system protects your body from infection. Vitamin D helps your babys bones and teeth grow.
During pregnancy, you need 600 IU of vitamin D each day. You can get this amount from food or your prenatal vitamin. Good sources of vitamin D include:
- Fatty fish, like salmon
- Milk and cereal that has vitamin D added to it
Keep To A Healthy Weight
If youre overweight, you may have problems getting pregnant and fertility treatment is less likely to work.
Before you get pregnant you can use the BMI healthy weight calculator to find out your BMI. But this may not be accurate once youre pregnant, so consult your midwife or doctor.
Having a healthy diet and doing moderate exercise are advised in pregnancy, and its important not to gain too much weight.
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Should We All Be Taking Prenatal Vitamins
Last week when wandering the drugstore supplement aisle, I picked up a bottle of prenatal vitamins. . After all, the New Year is ripe with health resolutions and reflection. Ill also be turning 30 in 2018. The holiday and milestone have me considering my life and goalsyou know, the serious, sentimental stuff. Having witnessed friends and family struggle to conceive, I cant help but wonder about my own fertility. My partner and I want kids, but not for the next three to five years.
Though I left without purchasing, it got me thinking: Why are these pills so important for pregnancy and what do they do, anyways? Could taking a prenatal vitamin now improve my chances of getting pregnant later? Should I swap my multivitamin for a prenatal? Are they the same thing? Also, what about vitamin quality? I try my best to steer clear of harmful ingredients like pesticides.
I consulted two womens health experts to indulge my latest supplement curiosity and suss out how to think about prenatal vitamins before pregnancy, when triying to conceive, and now when Im considering starting a family in the future.
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Why Should You Consider Taking Vitamins After Giving Birth
As a mother of a newborn, youll spend a lot of time caring for and bonding with your baby. Sometimes the time it takes to focus on your little ones needs can crowd out other tasks, like making balanced and nutrient-dense meals for yourself each day.
To ensure they fully replenish their nutrient stores and reach their daily nutrients needs, some mothers may choose to supplement their dietary intake of certain critical nutrients in their postpartum months. Next, well explain how these nutrients can support new mothers so you can decide whether supplementation is right for you.
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When Do I Need To Start Taking Prenatal Vitamins
Start taking folic acid at least 1 month before you start trying to get pregnant. The first few weeks of pregnancy are a really important time for fetal health and development. Taking folic acid and other prenatal vitamins can help reduce the risk of some birth defects. Keep taking prenatal vitamins throughout your entire pregnancy.
When You Decide To Try For A Pregnancy
Ready to start a family? In addition to scheduling a well visit with your gynecologist, quitting birth control, and cutting out unhealthy behaviors like smoking, you should start taking prenatal vitamins.
You wont be able to predict how long it will take you to get pregnant it could be weeks or months and you wont know youve been successful until a few weeks after conception. Prenatal vitamins are an important part of preconception care.
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Which Vitamins And Minerals Are Most Important And Why
“The three most important nutrients, based on very good research, are folic acid, iron and calcium,” says Kukreja. Folic acid helps prevent neural-tube defects iron is important for the delivery of oxygen to the baby and prevents anemia in the mom and calcium helps build your baby’s bones and prevents bone loss in the mother.
What Are Vitamins Why Are They Important
Our bodies need vitamins for development and proper functioning. Most of the vitamins our bodies depend on come from our food. That means that the average American won’t need to take vitamin supplements if they eat a healthy, balanced diet that includes fruits, vegetables, proteins and whole grains.
However, that’s not always the case. There are times when vitamin or mineral supplements are necessary. Dietary limitations or natural deficiencies can keep you from getting enough of certain vitamins. Iron, vitamin D, B12 and calcium are among the most common vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Unless you take an at-home test or get a blood analysis from your doctor, you don’t know if you lack vitamins, making it harder to know when to start taking a supplement.
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Whats The Difference Between Prenatal Vitamins And Multivitamins
Multivitamins have some of the same vitamins and minerals, but prenatal vitamins have more folic acid and iron. Folic acid has been shown to prevent serious birth defects of the brain and spinal cord. Iron supports your babys growth and brain development and helps prevent anemia in pregnant women.
Doubling up on your regular multivitamin isnt recommended. This may give you too much of some nutrients and not enough of other important pregnancy nutrients.
Also, some multivitamins do not include important trace minerals, such as chromium, copper, molybdenum, manganese, and zinc. Its best to take a prenatal vitamin specifically designed for pregnant women and speak to your doctor about the one thats right for you.
Important Pregnancy Nutrients
- Folate supports your little ones overall growth and development and may reduce the risk of birth defects
- Vitamin D and calcium help build babys bones and teeth
- DHA supports brain and eye development
- Iron, especially early in your pregnancy, helps to support your increasing blood supply
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 cant 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.
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Prenatal Vitamins Supplement Not Replace A Balanced Diet
Any balanced diet will contain plenty of vitamins and minerals, but you should still take a prenatal vitamin to make sure that you are getting enough of the nutrients your body and your baby needs. Additionally, since prenatal vitamins are formulated with the idea that the person taking them is eating a healthy diet, there is no need to seek out additional vitamin supplements in any form, be it a pill, diet drink, or fortified smoothie. Be sure to let your doctor know if you use any of these products so you can be certain you are not getting too much of a good thing.
What Should I Look For In A Quality Prenatal Vitamin
There are a lot of different prenatal vitamins available, both prescription and over-the-counter. When looking for the best vitamin, it’s important to know what your pregnant body and baby need for healthy development.
One of the most critical vitamins a pregnant woman needs is folic acid. Folic acid is a B vitamin that supports the growth and development of body cells. Other important vitamins during pregnancy include iron, calcium, vitamin D, DHA and iodine. Vitamins A and C, as well as omega-3 fatty acids, are also needed in higher amounts during pregnancy.
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Finally Schedule A Visit To The Doctor
Once youve decided to get pregnant, a medical check-up will help you incorporate self-care in the reproductive sphere. And it will guide you in the idea that pregnancy requires biopsychosocial preparation.
The consultation will allow the doctor to detect and evaluate biological and social conditions, habits, and lifestyles, in you and your partner. This will help identify any reproduction issues. This consultation should be planned at least one year before the desired conception.
A list of pre-existing physical conditions, hereditary or genetic history, nutritional and physical habits is required. Also, the consumption of medicationsand the ruling out of sexually transmitted diseases, among other important conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension, kidney, or thyroid disease.
Other diseases that must be analyzed following the Preconception Care Protocol are anemia, epilepsy, tuberculosis, asthma, arthritis, lupus, and finally, morbid obesity.
From the latter, the need for women wishing to become pregnant to eat diets rich in essential fatty acids follows. These are found in fishsuch astunaorsalmon andingreen leafy vegetables. Also inflaxseed, walnut, chia seed oil,and vegetable oils such as flaxseed, soybean, and canola.
Supplements To Avoid While Pregnant Or Breastfeeding
While the vitamins and supplements above are generally considered safe for pregnant and nursing mothers, certain plants and herbs can potentially be harmful while pregnant or breastfeeding. Thats why you must always let your doctor know about any supplements you take.
According to the American Pregnancy Association, avoid these plants and herbs while pregnant or breastfeeding:
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Risks Of Taking Fertility Supplements
As mentioned above, fertility supplements can interact with other medications that a person might be taking. Taking fertility supplements, especially in high doses and for too long can affect your reproductive health as well as overall health negatively. Stated below are the side effects that may occur because of taking high doses of supplements
Current Strategies And Interventions
Several strategies exist globally to address micronutrient malnutrition in women and children. Common strategies include diet diversification, biofortification of staple crops, large-scale, targeted, and home fortification . Micronutrient supplementation is another common strategy, often used for short-term, preventive purposes targeting specific at-risk population groups . Micronutrients are ingested in the forms of tablets or other vehicles and bioconverted to their active form. Thus, supplementation is a recommended part of routine antenatal care to overcome complications associated with micronutrient deficiencies during pregnancy, and to support maternal health and fetal development. This review will focus on micronutrient supplementation interventions during pregnancy.
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Your Complete Guide To Taking Prenatal Vitamins
Help give your baby the best start
Whether youre pregnant or just thinking about getting pregnant, nutrition may be on your mind. When youre pregnant, your body needs different nutrition. Though you wont need to take in a lot more calories in the beginning of pregnancy, you will need more vitamins and minerals.
It can be difficult to meet these nutrient needs with food alone, and thats where prenatal vitamins can help. Theyre specifically designed to meet your increased needs and give your growing baby a strong start.
Before getting started, remember to consult with your doctor about changes to your diet and supplement plan.
What Is Your Family Health History And Why Is It Important Before You Get Pregnant
Your family health history is a record of any health conditions and treatments that you, your partner and everyone in your families have had. Its a good idea to start putting your family history together before you get pregnant so you can share it with your provider at your checkup. Use the March of Dimes Family Health History Form to gather information.
Your family health history can help your provider:
- Identify health conditions that run in your or your partners family or ethnic group. An ethnic group is a group of people, often from the same country, who share language or culture. Certain genetic conditions, such as sickle cell disease and Tay-Sachs disease, are more common in people from certain ethnic groups. For example, people who are Ashkenazi Jews are more likely than others to have Tay-Sachs and other genetic conditions.
- Find the cause of a condition you had in a past pregnancy. Your provider may use tests like blood tests or ultrasound to help find the cause of the condition. Getting treatment can lower the chances of you having the same complication in your next pregnancy.
- Treat health conditions before pregnancy. Some chronic health conditions can lead to pregnancy problems and, sometimes, birth defects. Getting treatment before pregnancy for conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, lupus and PKU can improve your chances of having a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.
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Should Women Take Supplements During Pregnancy If Yes Then Which Vitamins And Minerals And What Are Their Benefits
All doctors agree that pregnant women should take supplements. Keep reading to see what specific vitamins they recommend, why and in what quantity.
Please be advised that before starting any new treatment, its best to ask your personal doctor and do a set of tests. This post is meant to inform you and prepare you so you know what to discuss with your physician.