Conventional prenatal vitamins may do more harm than good

It is imperative for me to make women aware that they may be endangering their health and the health of their unborn children by using conventional supplements.

Nearly all multivitamins and prenatal vitamins contain folic acid.

Unlike most physicians, I do not recommend folic acid supplementation for pregnant women.  Folic acid supplementation can damage the health of women and their children.

Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate, a member of the family of B vitamins that is involved in regulating DNA synthesis and gene expression. Because of these crucial functions, folate plays an important role in fetal development - folate is essential during pregnancy, especially early on in pregnancy, for the prevention of neural tube defects. Folate is abundant in green vegetables like spinach, collards, bok choy, artichokes, and broccoli.spinach

The Standard American Diet (SAD) is so nutritionally inadequate that the U.S. government and most physicians encourage women to take folic acid supplements, assuming that they do not eat green vegetables and are folate deficient.

Taking synthetic folic acid is not the same as getting natural folate from vegetables.

Scientific studies have revealed the dangers to women and their children involved in taking folic acid supplements:

  • Women who followed the typical recommendations to take folic acid during pregnancy and were followed by researchers for thirty years were twice as likely to die from breast cancer.1   Another study following women for ten years concluded that those who took multivitamins containing folic acid increased their breast cancer risk by 20-30%.2   Folic acid in supplement form may contribute to producing a cancer-promoting environment in the body – in addition to breast cancer, synthetic folic acid has been linked to dramatic increases in prostate and colorectal cancers, as well as overall cancer incidence.3
  • Folic acid supplementation by pregnant women has been associated with incidence of childhood asthma, infant respiratory tract infections, and cardiac birth defects.4

However, food folate is associated with benefits for both women and children:

  • Women with lower levels of food folate intake are more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer.5
  • The children of women who consumed more food folate during pregnancy were less likely to develop ADHD.6
  • Several studies have made connections between vegetable intake during pregnancy and lower risks of childhood cancers.7

This is too important an issue to ignore, and women are simply not told the facts here.

I needed to take action and supply a prenatal and other supplements that did not contain folic acid as well as other supplemental ingredients with documented risk. 

 My Gentle Prenatal contains the same carefully designed combination of vitamins and minerals present in my original multivitamin and mineral, Gentle Care Formula, but has been uniquely tailored to the needs of child-bearing and pregnant women. 

Read more about my Gentle Prenatal

 

 

 

References:

 [1] Charles D et al. Taking folate in pregnancy and risk of maternal breast cancer. BMJ 2004;329:1375-6

[2] 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.

[3] Fife, J et al. Folic Acid Supplementation and Colorectal Cancer Risk; A Meta-analysis. Colorectal Dis. 2009 Oct 27. [Epub ahead of print]

Hirsch S et al. Colon cancer in Chile before and after the start of the flour fortification program with folic acid. Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2009 Apr;21(4):436-9.

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/591111

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.

Ebbing M et al. Cancer Incidence and Mortality After Treatment With Folic Acid and Vitamin B12. JAMA. 2009;302(19):2119-2126

[4]   Whitrow MJ. Effect of Supplemental Folic Acid in Pregnancy on Childhood Asthma: A Prospective Birth Cohort Study. Am J Epidemiol. 2009 Oct 30. [Epub ahead of print]

Haberg SE, London SJ, Stigum H, Nafstad P, Nystad W. Folic acid supplements in pregnancy and early childhood respiratory health. Arch Dis Child. 2009 Mar;94(3):180-4. Epub 2008 Dec 3.

Källén B. Congenital malformations in infants whose mothers reported the use of folic acid in early pregnancy in Sweden. A prospective population study. Congenit Anom (Kyoto). 2007 Dec;47(4):119-24.

[5] Sellers TA et al. Dietary folate intake, alcohol, and risk of breast cancer in a prospective study of postmenopausal women. Epidemiology. 2001 Jul;12(4):420-8.

Kim YI. Does a high folate intake increase the risk of breast cancer? Nutr Rev. 2006 Oct;64(10 Pt 1):468-75.

[6] Wiley-Blackwell (2009, October 28). Attention-deficit/hyperactivity Problems Associated With Low Folate Levels In Pregnant Women. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 5, 2010, from http://www.sciencedaily.com /releases/2009/10/091028134631.htm

[7] Kwan ML et al. Maternal diet and risk of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Public Health Rep. 2009 Jul-Aug;124(4):503-14.

Tower RL et al. The epidemiology of childhood leukemia with a focus on birth weight and diet. Crit Rev Clin Lab Sci. 2007;44(3):203-42.

Petridou E et al. Maternal diet and acute lymphoblastic leukemia in young children.Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2005 Aug;14(8):1935-9.

Jensen CD et al. Maternal dietary risk factors in childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (United States).Cancer Causes Control. 2004 Aug;15(6):559-70.

Huncharek M et al. A meta-analysis of maternal cured meat consumption during pregnancy and the risk of childhood brain tumors. Neuroepidemiology. 2004 Jan-Apr;23(1-2):78-84.

 

 

 

Vegetarians Have Less Risk of Blood Cancer than Meat Eaters

Good news veg-heads! A new study in the British Journal of Cancer, involving more than 61,000 people—meat eaters and vegetarians—revealed vegetarians and vegans had lower risk of certain types of blood cancer, such as leukemia, multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Vegetarians are 12 percent less likely to develop cancer than meat eaters and the advantage is particularly marked when it comes to cancers of the blood, British researchers said on Wednesday.

Past research has shown that eating lots of red or processed meat is linked to a higher rate of stomach cancer and the new study, involving more than 60,000 people, did confirm a lower risk of both stomach and bladder cancer.

But the most striking and surprising difference was in cancers of the blood -- such as leukemia, multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma -- where the risk of disease was 45 percent lower in vegetarians than in meat eaters.

Via Reuters.

 

Image credit: Got Jenna

More Vitamin D Needed in Winter...

New research in the Journal of Nutrition suggests quadrupling Vitamin D levels in the winter. For the study, scientists recruited 112 women, average age of 22.2, giving some a placebo between March 2005 and September 2005 and then given a placebo or a vitamin D supplement until February 2006. At the end of the experiment, women on the vitamin D supplement had higher serum levels 25-hydroxyvitamin D, 35.3 nanomoles per liter compared to only 10.9 nanomoles per liter. The body manufactures Vitamin D from ultra-violet light derived from the sun; NutraIngredients reports.

Dr. Fuhrman is a huge proponent of vitamin D, especially for bone health, more so than calcium. Vitamin D also helps reduce risk of hip fractures, multiple sclerosis and boosts physical strength in young girls. And it was not too long ago the American Academy of Pediatrics suggested doubling kids’ intake of vitamin D, citing evidence vitamin D helps prevent serious illness, like cancer and diabetes.

Vitamin D deficiency has drawn increased attention over the past few months. Previous studies have associated insufficient Vitamin D with stunted growth, hypertension and rickets. In the winter, when the days are shorter and sunlight is in short supply, therapeutic lights can keep the sunshine coming.

Image credit: Grant MacDonald

Vitamin D Lowers Risk of Multiple Sclerosis

Vitamin D supplements may reduce the risk of multiple sclerosis. Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune condition causing the immune system to attack the central nervous system. Disease onset occurs in young adults and affects 350,000 people in the United States, but new findings in the journal PLoS Genetics reveal giving infants vitamin D may “switch on” certain genes and lower overall risk of multiple sclerosis; NutraIngredients reports.

Our bodies convert ultraviolet rays from the sun into vitamin D and vitamin D increases the absorption of calcium, leading to stronger bones and less risk of osteoporosis. And getting sufficient vitamin D has been linked to lower risk of prostate cancer and hypertension.

Actually in 2006, Harvard researchers also determined higher levels of vitamin D may protect against multiple sclerosis.

Image credit: -Chad Johnson