The medical community has set a standard for expectant mothers to follow and the best example of that is the accepted routine of taking your prenatal vitamins.

We can all agree that vitamins are meant to help our body improve its day-to-day functions. Different vitamins are meant to improve every separate organ system in our body from immunity to mental function, to energy, to blood count and the list goes on and on.

However, when it comes to pregnancy there is a strict guideline to follow regarding your vitamin supplements and that is solidified in the prenatal vitamins found at every store. However, are these guidelines enough since they assume that the consumer already is healthy and normal regarding their vitamin levels. But is that really the case in the population?


Vitamin D is one of the most important vitamins in your body. Every cell in your body has a receptor for vitamin D and it is at times considered more of a pro-hormone than a vitamin. Its function may be as important as such hormones as Estrogen or Progesterone. The body requires routine sun exposure for production of Vitamin D in the skin. However, with the modern work schedule, prevalent use of sun blocks and poor nutritional status the overall Vitamin D deficiency in some areas of the United States can reach up to 50% during the winter months. The problem is that the newborn is very much dependent on the mother’s womb and breast milk for its only source of vitamin D before and after birth. Low vitamin D levels in the mother and child have been associated with many diseases in children such as ADHD, seizures, autism, etc.


Vitamin B12 absorption is a highly complex process that often becomes less efficient with age, and involves the stomach, pancreas, and small intestine.

In healthy adults, about half of the ingested vitamin B12 present in food is absorbed into the body, but loss of function in any of these organs impairs vitamin B12 absorption potentially leading to vitamin B12 deficiency. Many women are getting pregnant at an older age and baseline B12 deficiency is becoming a concern which may not be resolved with prenatal vitamin dosing. The following will shed light on this issue:

In the stomach, secreted gastric acid and pepsin enzymes are essential to liberate vitamin B12 from the proteins in food that bind it tightly. Once liberated from food, vitamin B12 is bound in the stomach by R-proteins, which carry the vitamin to the intestine.

The R-proteins are degraded in the small intestine by protease enzymes secreted from the pancreas, thereby liberating the vitamin B12. The vitamin B12 does not remain free in the intestine, but rather binds to another carrier protein called intrinsic factor (IF), which is secreted by the parietal cells of the stomach. Intrinsic factor cannot bind vitamin B12 in the acidic environment of the stomach, but later it tightly binds the vitamin in the alkaline pH of the intestine. The vitamin B12-intrinsic factor complex is transported into the cells of the intestine and from there is absorbed into the blood stream.

Age plays a significant role in intrinsic factor (IF) production, IF production significantly decreases as we age and therefore intestinal or gut absorption of B12 will be impacted significantly. One must check there B12 levels to be assured that they are staring at the right level. If low, then normal oral vitamins may not change the needle. You may need under the tongue, sublingual, B12 or intramuscular injections if you need to improve your levels


When a mother takes her prenatal vitamins, it is a process that should make the mother and the physician feel at ease that her vitamin needs have been met. However, the reality is quite different. The standards prenatal vitamin has a vitamin D dose of 400IU. New studies are finding that these doses may be too low, and expectant mothers may need to be supplemented by much higher daily doses.

It is best to obtain your actual blood levels of most vitamins especially D and discuss each result with your doctor prior to starting on a prenatal regimen. A very close relationship between your gynecologist or primary doctor and you will best guide your vitamin needs during this crucial time in your life.


There is a better option than letting everything to chance. Before planning to conceive a couple should check their vitamin levels specially the mother to be by their physician. The basic panel should include iron, ferritin, B12, Folate, D3 along with hormonal levels to assure that there are no major deficiencies that need to be corrected before one starts on prenatal vitamins and path to becoming pregnant. It is important to reach the standard healthy level for your age before starting on prenatal vitamins to assure that the prenatal vitamins are going to help develop your baby and not fill in for your deficiencies. This is especially true in individuals that have depended on a daily multivitamin to cure all.


To get any vitamin in your body you must be able to absorb it first. If you are eating healthy foods, you want to get the most nutrition out of every bite, and that includes the vitamins. Making a few tweaks here and there may help improve your body’s absorption of both vitamins and minerals. If you are concerned about malabsorption of vitamins due to a possible underlying health condition such as pregnancy, consult with your doctor to help you to determine an appropriate treatment, vitamins and minerals, and the best route of absorption such as under the tongue or sublingual absorption.


This information is only for educational purposes and is not medical advice or intended as a recommendation of any specific products. Consult your health care provider for more information. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.



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