First of all let me just say choosing a supplement, just like nutrition, is SO confusing. One person swears by one and this doctor or that doctor promises you don’t need any of them or … you need all of them. Then you decide to research further to find out there’s 97 million different brands of Vitamin D. How do you know which supplement to choose? Or you just go to the grocery store and pick out the one with the prettiest label. Let’s talk about some interesting facts and understand how to choose the safest supplement for gut health, prenatal, and postpartum.
Safety Fact: Supplements are NOT regulated in the USA.
The FDA is in charge of supplements distribution in the US, but they do not review or prove the effect of any product before it goes on the market. In short, anyone can create, make, and sell a supplement without proving its effectiveness. The only time the FDA intervenes is if it is deemed unsafe, AFTER consumer use. Pretty scary stuff, and a huge money waster.
Basically, your Vitamin C pill could be full of sawdust for all you know. Mind blowing!!
Effectiveness. When taking a supplement we want to see results. How do we know which supplement is best?
How do we get past this?
- Research. Find well known websites and businesses that sell health supplements. Google is great but this can be a HUGE time suck and have you going down a black hole.
2. Reviews. When you find good websites, read the reviews. Are these supplements positively impacting people’s lives? Look for clues in the reviews on how long they have been taking the supplement. It can take weeks, even months, for supplements to start benefiting the body.
3. Trusted establishment. If you go to a Whole Foods, or even better a small local health food store, you can most likely trust that what they sell is the real deal.
4. Read the ingredients. Some of them you probably won’t know the different bacterias and yeasts that are in the pill, but you can look for things you might recognize like fillers, and the type of capsule it is contained in. This will make a difference in digesting it.
Don’t trust a health product just because it is endorsed by a celebrity. Try suggestions 1-4 first.
Unfortunately supplements are expensive. As I said above, a billion dollar industry. This isn’t always the case, but think of this when you are choosing your supplement. Good quality ingredients cost money. Supplements take time depending on your vitamin deficiency to start to take effect. Be patient. If you are trying to get pregnant doctors recommend you start taking a prenatal 3-months ahead of time.
Here are some of my favorite supplements that I have found in my research that have supported me along my health journey.
Check with your doctor before taking any supplement if pregnant or have health issues.
Viome is an amazing company I came across in my research to heal my leaky gut. Not only do they have amazing reviews, but they also go off of YOUR unique gut biome. That’s right my friend, you send in a poop! Ha! And as weird and disgusting as that sounds, a company going off of your body facts is a company for me. Their probiotic/prebiotic regimen not only healed my gut but also changed my view on supplements as a whole. They make it really easy by sending your customized box of supplements to your door monthly. Facts and results! You can’t go wrong.
Gut health is so important for all aspects of health, but especially while you are pregnant. As the mom you pass everything to your child through the womb, including your gut microbiome. Your microbiome also controls everything from metabolism, to immune function. In quick simple terms, you want a healthy gut, and you definitely want your child to build a healthy gut microbiome.
I have been using their Thrive supplement for the past couple of months and love it! They pack a tiny little bottle with the best of nature’s ingredients to enhance your life. Hemp is the base, the powerful Reishi mushroom, Lions mane, and elderberry to start and several other immune boosters! It comes in an oil form that you can drop right on your tongue, or put in a drink your choice. I have done both, and prefer to add it to my smoothie in the morning for an energy and immune boost.
If you do not like to take pills this would be a great option! It also Does Not Contain: Peanuts, Corn, Wheat, Gluten, Sugar, Salt, Soy, Starch, Dairy, Citrus, Fish, Animal Derivatives, Preservatives, Artificial Colors or Flavors. This is really important to note because a lot of supplements have these additives and will adversely affect how the supplement works. For example: If a supplement has a soy additive and someone has an intolerance to soy it could cause them to have stomach aches after taking the supplement.
3. Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides.
I swear by this stuff!! One scoop a day in my morning cup of coffee. My hair, skin, and nails thrive, growing super fast and strong. I have been taking this supplement for years and I will probably never stop! FYI we stop producing collagen when we turn 30. Giving my body what it is missing truly makes a difference.
I highly recommend this postpartum, especially when you get to the 3-4 month hair loss phase. Check with your doctor before taking it, but, it is not only known to be safe to take while pregnant and breastfeeding, it is encouraged to support your changing and recovering body. Breast milk contains an enormous amount of calcium to support bone and teeth growth in the child. For the mother to meet the demand, if not given enough in her diet, it will come from her bone resorption (aka her skeletal system). One of my clients during the first 6-months of breastfeeding broke a tooth. While this is very rare, support your body with a collagen supplement.
4. Prenatal and postpartum Vitamins.
Finding the safest prenatal and postpartum supplement is VERY important. I haven’t been pregnant for 8 years so I had to put some research and feedback from my postpartum mamas for this one. The one company I kept coming back to was Ritual. They really offer it all in their prenatal and postnatal vitamins, and word is they don’t make you feel nauseous!
First of all they lay it all on the table with the ingredients, how it goes into your body, and also traceable ingredients. How cool is that!? Second, they make it easy on the stomach. Am I the only one that would get nauseous from taking a horse pill on an empty stomach? Last but not least they deliver every month right to your doorstep, all for $35 dollars a month!! Seriously check them out. And FYI I am not getting a kickback from them, they are just that cool!
Founder of Ritual Katerina Scheinder came up with the company after not being able to find a trusted prenatal vitamin when she was pregnant. The company has also created pregnancy and postnatal protein drinks to support all your mama needs. I’m obsessed to say the least!
Pure Synergy is a company that offers supplements that are completely plant based with herb, and mineral support to meet all your vitamin needs daily without any chemical fillers (easier on the belly). While their ingredients aren’t traceable their reviews say it all with hundreds of happy customers. There is nothing better than getting the nutrients you need from nature.
What these supplements won’t do.
To be completely transparent, the supplements above I 100% support and use myself (besides the prenatal, I’m not pregnant :)). But besides the probiotic, collagen support, or if you are expecting, I think you should be getting your vitamins and minerals from your diet and from the sun. You cannot replace the benefits of real nutrient dense food or the vitamin D you get from being outdoors in the sun. This is going to be the safest, easiest on your digestion, and natural way to get all that your body needs. Doesn’t mean we can’t enhance our diet with extras, but always start with your diet and get outside in the sun for at least 10 minutes each day.
These are all really good places to start in your supplement journey. We are incredibly lucky to have all these resources right at our fingertips, even though it can be overwhelming and confusing at times. I hope this helps break it down, bring awareness for what to look out for, and also brings crazy good health into your life!!
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