I’ve made a quick grocery list of supplements that I take, the reading list that in part made me decide to take them, and distilled the information down to a few quick bullet points.
Much of the research is, perhaps, more relevant to women who are, or may be pregnant or nursing in years to come. Enjoy!
1. Folic acid
- Folic acid supplementation early in conception and during pregnancy could prevent up to 70% of cases of spina bifida, a relatively common birth defect involving improper closer of the embryonic neural tubes. 1
- Folic acid helps prevent damaging effects from in utero exposure to bisphenol A, which has become notorious for it’s nearly ubiquitous presence in the environment — with one recent study even finding that 9 out of 10 babies tested had bisphenol A already present in their systems. 2,3
- Pregnant women exposed to hairspray have a two-to-three fold risk of having a son with a genital defect. Folic acid supplementation during the first three weeks of pregnancy decreases this risk by 36%.16
- Folic acid supplementation during pregnancy decreases the incidence of congenital heart defects.4
- Folate supplements for at least one year before conception was associated with a 70% reduction in spontaneous premature birth between 20 and 28 weeks.5
- Mothers supplementing with folic acid during pregnancy, significantly reduced the mortality risk of their children through age 7.6
- High consumption of fish (omega-3) during pregnancy results in children having better neurological function, including higher IQ and better hand-eye coordination. 7
- Omega-3 taken during the last months of pregnancy boosts an infant’s sensory, cognitive, and motor development.8
- Mothers who eat foods rich in omega-3 during pregnancy and while nursing, may dramatically reduce risk of daughters‘ developing breast cancer later in life.9
- Children whose mothers with asthma ate oil fish during pregnancy, were 71% less likely to develop asthma on average;the more oily fish a woman ate, the less likely her child was to develop asthma.10
3. Vitamin D – Careful: Narrow threshold. Toxic at high-doses.
- Vitamin D deficiency early in pregnancy is associated with a five-fold increased risk of preeclampsia, a condition indicated by high-blood-pressure and excessive levels of protein in the urine.11
- Vitamin D deficiency has been found to increase the likelihood of bacterial vaginosis, which is a common cause of preterm delivery.12
- Mothers that had a high intake of vitamin D during pregnancy were 45% less likely to have a daughter with multiple sclerosis.13
4. Zinc – Careful: Narrow threshold. Toxic at high-doses.
- Fetal zinc deficiency may explain some of the birth defects and neurodevelopmental abnormalities associated with alcohol exposure. New rodent findings are the first to show that dietary zinc supplements throughout pregnancy can reduce some alcohol-related birth defects.14
- Women who take multivitamins during pregnancy can cut their children’s risk of the tumor by 30 percent to 40 percent.15
Okay, suggesting a multivitamin isn’t exactly rocket science, but in some cases (though perhaps not all) it probably at least covers a lot of the needs of the other vitamins.
This shouldn’t have to be said but: this isn’t medical advice. Some of these vitamins have a toxic limit. Consult the Linus Pauling Institute website for recommended daily allowance information, and certainly consult your physician before making any big changes.