Friday, June 8, 2012


I am not a huge fan of supplements. I prefer to eat my vitamins in the form my body was designed to get them--from food. In addition, women have had healthy babies for thousands of years without prenatal vitamins.

When I read Twinkie Deconstructed: My Journey to Discover How Ingredients Found in Processed Foods Are Grown, Mined (Yes, Mined), and Manipulated into What America Eats all of my suspicions were confirmed. Almost all vitamins are made in chemistry labs, they are usually by-products of something else--like corn or film-making. Vitamins were just as creepy as I had always thought they were.

Then I read The Hundred Year Lie and learned that I had been exactly right--we have no business trying to get our vitamins anywhere but from food: "Although we have been led to believe that ascorbic acid, a synthesized form of vitamin C, is really vitamin C, it is not. Alpha tocopherol is not vitamin E. Retinoic acid is not vitamin A. And so on through the other vitamins.... The truth is that vitamins are not individual compounds. Vitamins are biological complexes. In addition to ascorbic acid, real vitamin C must include bioflavonoids [the natural pigments in fruits and vegetables] like hesperiden, rutin, quercetin, tannins, along with other naturally occuribng compounds. Mineral cofactors must be available in proper amounts. If any of these parts are missing, there is no vitamin activity."

Fortunately, since I wanted to take a prenatal every other day (in case our soils are depleted and I can't get all my nutrients from food like my ancestors did) I found a type of vitamins I can agree with--whole food vitamins. "Supplement maker New Chapter, for example, takes isolated nutrients and cultures them in a medium (soy, for example) with probiotic organisms. The end result, says naturopathic physician Taryn Forrelli, the company's director of medical education, is the transformation of individual nutrients into 'the kind of complex compounds you'd find in food.' The idea, she says, is that those compounds are more easily recognized and absorbed by the body" (US News).

There are not very many whole food prenatal vitamins to choose from. I went with New Chapter's Perfect Prenatal as I found rave reviews of it many different chat rooms. They worked well for me--no aftertaste, not nausea, I could take them on an empty stomach. I was even more pleased with them when I was given samples of the synthetic pre-natals offered by Expecting Fitness and found that they made me sick.

Update: Six month after my son was born I read Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston A Price. This book, and especially the many pictures, makes an extremely convincing case that crooked teeth are not genetic but rather a nutrition deficiency that the mother suffered from while pregnant. Weston A Price noted that many native women (and sometimes me) were placed on special diets prior to marriage (and conception of a child). This diet included the most nutritionally dense foods around--eggs, fish eggs, organ meets and if available, high vitamin butter (the butter from cows grazing on the green grass of June).

My husband and I now take the Butter Oil Cod Liver Oil blend sold at Anyone thinking of having a baby should start taking this supplement one year before conception.

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