Wednesday, July 31, 2013

What supplements during pregnancy?

Finding that pregnant women's iodine intake from consumption of fortified breads is insufficient during pregnancy, new research recommends the use of iodine supplements. In one stroke they have dealt with iodine deficiency and with it the the single greatest cause of compromised mental function. 

But what about the other trace elements? Are those other trace elements less important? What happens when you supplement with iodine alone? 

Then another study shows that supplementing with iron during pregnancy is directly associated with increased birth weight and reduced risk of maternal anaemia. But what happens if you substitute with iron to the exclusion of other minerals? How does that affect zinc status for example? 

I raise these questions because I’m sick of the endless studies that take one nutrient and show how important it is during pregnancy. The reality is ... all the trace elements, vitamins, essential fatty acids, amino acids and various co-factors are important! AND making sure you and your partner enjoy optimal nutritional status across the board before you conceive and maintaining that status during pregnancy and beyond, will do more for your baby’s intelligence, birthweight and everything else, than supplementing with single nutrients in isolation!

And while we’re on the subject of maternal supplementation and brain power ... the potential brain health benefits of increased intake of DHA at birth may take several years to emerge, according to new data. The researchers used cohorts of children receiving infant formula supplemented with 0.32%, 0.64% and 0.96% of DHA. I wonder what the results would look like if they compared breast-fed children whose mothers were supplementing with DHA along with a comprehensive array of vitamins and trace elements from well before conception?

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