Only one-in-four Australian pregnant women adhere to folic acid and iodine guidelines. This article goes on to state that “in Australia the recommended nutrients for supplementation are folic acid and iodine!”
But my questions are … what about the other trace elements? Are those other trace elements less important? What happens when you supplement with iodine alone? Does it compromise the status of other essential minerals? What about folic acid as a single supplement? Despite it’s proven ability to reduce the incidence of neural tube defects, folic acid is part of the B-complex group of vitamins. It never occurs alone in Nature and should always be given with its supporting fellows which all work together. But there’s more, in the general population, 34 variations of the MTHFR (methylene-tetrahydrofolate-reductase) gene have been identified - these individuals cannot metabolise synthetic folic acid!
I raise these questions because the studies that take one nutrient and show how important it is during pregnancy are completely meaningless. The reality is ... all the trace elements, vitamins, essential fatty acids, amino acids and various co-factors are important! In addition, ensuring you and your partner enjoy optimal nutritional status (that’s nutrition obtained from whole foods grown on healthy soil, supported by robust, comprehensive supplements that take into account specific metabolic anomalies), before you conceive and maintaining that status during pregnancy and during breastfeeding will do more for your baby’s intelligence, birthweight and everything else, than supplementing with single nutrients in isolation!