Supplements are a very personal thing. Some people would rather use diet completely and want to stay away from them, but others are happy to take them. However, what I say to clients who don't agree with supplements is that our environment and food is so polluted and lacking nutrients (for example fruits and vegetables contain 20% fewer minerals than they did in the 1930s!) that we need to eat A LOT of good food to get the optimal amount.
Add in stress, exercise, alcohol, medications etc and our need for nutrients goes up even more. Then, if you’ve got poor digestion you won’t be digesting and/or absorbing all of the nutrients in the food you eat anyway. So, therefore, GOOD QUALITY (not cheap supermarket, boots, holland & barretts etc) supplements, I feel, are essential to a healthy lifestyle. Unless you eat 15 portions of organic vegetables a day, eat all your other foods organic, live in an unpolluted area, don’t have any stress, don’t drink alcohol or take medications, and know your gut is working optimally!
The quality of supplements is very important. You get what you pay for. Cheap supplements are basically expensive urine!! They are in poor forms, usually with fillers, in tablet form, with binders etc. The form of the nutrient is really important. Take iron for example, if you take ferrous sulphate (iron sulphate), which is an inorganic form of iron, you only absorb about 2-10% of the supplement!! Whereas choosing organic forms such as citrates or ascorbates you can absorb up to 90%! So the supplement will actually be benefiting you, rather than just putting more stress on your digestive system.
Anyway, I could go on for pages and pages about the quality of supplements and how to choose the right ones, but this blog post is about the supplements I’m taking during pregnancy to help any of you who are pregnant.
Pregnancy is a really important time to take supplements. Not only does your need for nutrients go up, but during the first 12 weeks (or in my case 17 weeks!) your appetite might completely disappear, as well as not being able to keep anything down. So getting the essentials through supplementation means you baby is still getting what it needs during this essential part of development. The thing to be aware of is that your body will see your baby as priority (which it should!), so if you’re not getting the right nutrients, it will take everything it can from your own stores, leaving you depleted. This has been linked to postpartum depression.
Here’s what I’ve been taking -
Active Folic Acid -
Many people struggle to convert folic acid into the active form of L-5-methyl tetrahydrofolate (5-MTHF), so therefore won’t be getting the full RDA when taking a supplement in the form of folic acid. 5-MTHF requires no additional metabolic steps to be utilised by the body. Folate is essential before and during pregnancy to help prevent birth defects of the brain and spinal cord. It has a role in the process of cell devision, contributes to normal homocysteine metabolism, essential for methylation, reduces tiredness and fatigue and contributes to normal amino acid synthesis and blood formation.
I use Nutri Advanced FolaPro.
Whole Food Pregnancy Multi -
A multi vitamin and mineral is essential to get all the other nutrients needed. This includes vitamin D, zinc, calcium, B3, chromium, iron, B12 etc. to help support energy, immune system, growth of the baby, DNA synthesis, the baby’s bone health etc. I like to use multi’s that are in their food grown state. This means the nutrients are not synthetic, they are in food state so they body knows exactly what to do with them, and they work synergistically with the other nutrients.
I use Wild Nutrition Food-Grown Pregnancy.
Omega 3 high in DHA -
These are essential even when you’re not pregnant, but even more so when you are! Many people are lacking in omega 3’s so supplementation is essential. There are 2 active forms of omega 3, EPA and DHA. EPA supports the heart, immune system and reduces inflammation, while DHA supports the brain, eyes and central nervous system. This is why DHA is even more important during pregnancy and lactation as it is needed for your baby’s developing brain.
Quality is super important for omegas as you don’t want the fats to come from big fish which contain lots of the heavy metal mercury. So supplements coming from small fish are the better option.
I take Renew Life Critical Omega and take 2 a day to get roughly 500mg DHA and 1g EPA with a total omega 3 of 1.8g.
These are another supplement that is essential all the time, not just during pregnancy. They’re not only beneficial to the mother by improving the immune system and digestion, but they are also massively beneficial to the baby. They help promote a strong immune system at birth. Studies show that mothers who take probiotics during pregnancy reduces their child’s risk of allergies by as much as 50%! The baby’s gut health is also set during pregnancy, so taking probiotics can improve the baby’s gut, even when they’re an adult!
I use Natural Health Practice Advanced Probiotic Support and take 2 a day to get 22 billion beneficial bacteria. It also contains prebiotics and glutamine.
Vitamin C -
I take added vitamin C to help my immune system stay strong as during pregnancy the immune system does lower. However the main reason I take this is because it’s needed for collagen synthesis which is the elastic compound in connective tissue. Therefore it will help with stretching skin and ligaments during pregnancy, but also for birth itself.
It’s an old wives tale that vitamin C causes miscarriage. No human research has been conducted to support this connection, but those who say it can happen use 1000mg every 1-4 hours for 1-2 weeks! This is a massive dose that no-one would take normally. If you stay under 2000mg/day it is beneficial. Plus, it’s important to use mineral ascorbate forms rather than ascorbic acid.
I use Natural Health Practice Vitamin C Support which gives 1000mg.
It’s important to note, that if you’re on any medications, check with you GP or health professional before taking any supplements.
I get all my supplements from www.naturaldispensary.co.uk and use the discount code BLLF010 for 10% off.
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