Prenatal Vitamins – Are they right for you?

People are tempted to take prenatal vitamins because of unproven claims that they make your hair thicker and nails stronger.
They are not suitable if you are not pregnant and not planning to become pregnant.  Prenatal vitamins are made specifically for women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant, and women who are breast-feeding.
Folic acid  Women who are trying to get pregnant or are pregnant need 600mcg (micrograms) through diet and supplements.  Healthy adults need only 400mcg, while uncommon getting to much folic acid can mask the symptoms of B-12 deficiency and delay diagnosis and treatment.
Iron While pregnant it is recommended women take 27mg (milligrams) a day.  Women between the ages of 19 and 50 who aren’t pregnant need only 18mg a day, and women over age 51 and all adult males need 8mg a day. Getting to much iron can be toxic because it can build up in your body, causing constipation, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and in very bad cases, possibly death.
Calcium Pregnant adult women and healthy men and women ages 19-50 all need 1,000mg a day.  Men and Women age 51 and older need 1,200mg a day.  Because prenatal vitamins are intended to supplement calcium you get in your diet, they generally contain only 200 to 300mg of calcium.  Prenatal vitamins do not meet your calcium needs; you likely won’t get enough calcium and raising your risk of osteoporosis and other health problems.
It is better to take a multivitamin made for your age or talk to your family Doctor should you take or do you need a supplement?
Credits: Mayo Clinic

Denise Nelson, RN
Health Coach
Adair County Health System
641-743-6189 ext. 299

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