when we think of vitamins or nutritional supplements , most of the time we do not stop to analyze the quality, origin or bioavailability of its ingredients. Sometimes we buy them for medical recommendation without paying enough attention to the essence, opinions or reviews of the products. The truth is that not all Prenatal vitamins are the same and learning to determine which ones are better is essential to achieve results.
During my pregnancy (and being passionate about it) I spent a lot of time researching prenatal vitamins with the aim of to identify the Better option From the market. However, the result of my research led me to acquire the products abroad. Fortunately, the industry of nutritional supplements and prenatal vitamins in Spain has evolved, expanding its options and improving the quality of the products. When talking about prenatal vitamins, the first recommendation that the gynecologist makes us since the option of pregnancy is considered is the Folic Acid . But are all folic acid supplements the same? The answer is no , definitely not.
Gynecologists recommend folic acid supplements. (Mart Production for Pexels)
Folic acid is a vitamin known for its great contribution in neural tube formation and because it helps prevent birth defects. What very few know is the difference between the folic acid and folate , as folic acid is a synthetic form of folate. Don't worry, we'll explain it to you.
Which is better?
Folic acid is the best known, but not found naturally in the body. To assimilate it, the body has to convert it into an active form called folate or 5-methyltetrahydrofolate. For this reason, at Excellence Fertility we decided to include folate directly in the formulas. As it is the natural form and not the synthetic one, it allows a faster assimilation when skipping the conversion process.
Folate is essential for fertility health. (Nataliya Vaitkevich for Pexels)
This reality surely leads you to wonder something. Why, if folate is more beneficial than folic acid, is the latter the most widely used ingredient in prenatal vitamins? The answer is very simple : because of its price. Folic acid is cheaper and is shelf stable longer. Also, most of the studies were based on folic acid and folic acid has been recommended for many years, so pharmaceuticals went with the most widespread option on the market. With this I do not mean that folic acid can be harmful or ineffective, but it is not the best option and when looking for excellence in fertility , for us good is not enough.
[READ MORE: Female infertility: main causes and symptoms]
It is estimated that up to a third of all adults have a genetic variation that makes it difficult to efficiently convert folic acid to folate. This results in an excess of unassimilated folic acid in the body. The United States NIH (National Institute of Health) warns about the dangers of folic acid accumulation in recent publications. We decided to use 5-methyltetrahydrofolate because we want to encourage adequate daily folate intake for all women, whether or not they have the genetic variation. In addition, we also prevent the accumulation mentioned in recent research.
The origin and type of compound that the vitamins have is essential to determine the quality. (Natalia Vaitkevich for Pexels)
Importance before pregnancy
Also, studies have discovered that folate has a fundamental role long before pregnancy, during the development of the ovules . The maturation of the eggs takes approximately three to four months, so folate supplementation is recommended as soon as possible. Folate supplementation reduces the risk of ovulation disorders, improves the quality of the eggs and increases IVF (in vitro fertilization) success rates.
[READ MORE: Anti-Müllerian hormone: normal values and relationship with fertility]
In addition to folate, vitamins such as B12 or B6 are another of the fundamental supplements that enhance fertility treatments and conception. The first because it is related to a better embryo quality and the second because it helps reduce the risk of spontaneous abortions.
In prenatal vitamins it all adds up
From the quality of the ingredients to the packaging options, such as glass jars and plastic-free packaging , we can affirm that not all vitamins are the same. When buying vitamin supplements, especially prenatal vitamins, we should look for a formula complete . That is to say, one that contains all the essential nutrients to make up for any deficiencies that we may have, in addition to complementing a healthy diet. It is also important to pay attention to origin of ingredients and verify that the laboratory has the corresponding certifications and permits.