Prenatal nutrition is important for both mother and child. But an emerging body of evidence is now showing that women’s nutritional needs in pregnancy may be even higher than traditionally thought and a broader swath of nutrients are critical. We now know that even marginal deficiencies in micronutrients can have a significant impact on the health of the mother and the development of the infant. Beyond active forms of folate, B vitamins and essential fatty acids, even trace minerals like selenium, which are known to be deficient in many populations,1 are important for a healthy pregnancy and the ongoing health of mother and child.2
As a result, a well-rounded prenatal formula is important to ensure that both mother and baby’s needs are being met. Women are now increasingly looking for a formula that goes further to provide gentle but also comprehensive support. A good example of a prenatal vitamin that takes this extra step is the Optimal Prenatal formulas from Seeking Health, which contain a unique blend of amino acids, chelated minerals, and vitamins designed to meet the high nutritional needs of women who are pregnant or preparing for pregnancy. Last year it was named the 2017 Women's Choice Award, 9 out of 10 Customers Recommended Prenatal Supplement.
The complex formula is made with careful consideration for not only the increased demand for certain nutrients, but also for digestive sensitivity that can occur during pregnancy. In addition to L-5-MTHF, the most biologically available form of folate, which is essential to support healthy infant cognitive function, it also contains folinic acid, a non-methylated form of folate that can be easily converted to coenzyme forms within the body. This optimal blend of folates may work in conjunction with amino acids, minerals and other B vitamins to support normal cell growth, cardiovascular function, neurologic and immune health.
Selenium is a good example of the synergistic effect between nutrients. This essential trace mineral inhibits the oxidation of lipids and works together with vitamin E to assist in the production of antibodies to help maintain a healthy liver, pancreas, thyroid and heart function. Studies now suggest that thyroid function, in particular, may be important for reducing risk of pregnancy complications and improving pregnancy outcomes, although further research is needed.
Selenium also serves as an antioxidant for activating glutathione peroxidase, an antioxidant enzyme that helps product cell membranes from free radicals. In addition, selenium may help support the body’s natural defenses against damage from exposure to certain environmental toxins. Adequate levels of selenium also are essential for healthy immune responses. Selenium may play a role in the normal production of antibodies, proteins produced by the immune system to respond to foreign substances that may pose threats to the body.
Seeking Health also provides selenium in a natural complexed form called SelenoExcell® which is better absorbed and retained by the body compared to inorganic forms of selenium. It is also a more complete, bioavailable form than other isolated organic forms, such as standalone selenomethionine. SelenoExcell® is a high-selenium yeast complex that contains multiple organic selenium compounds that work gently and synergistically, making it one of the most researched and recommended forms of selenium available. Unlike inorganic forms of selenium, this form of selenium is not adversely affected by vitamin C.
- Agarwal, S. Comparison of Prevalence of Inadequate Nutrient Intake Based on Body Weight Status of Adults in the United States: An analysis of NHANES 2001-2008. J of the Am Col of Nutr.. 2015;34(2):126-34.
- Pieczynska J, Grajeta H. The Role of Selenium in human conception and pregnancy. J Trace Elem Med Biol. 2015 Jan;29:31-38. Mao J et al. Effect of low dose selenium on thyroid autoimmunity and thyroid function in UK pregnant women with mild to moderate iodine deficiency. Eur J Nutr. 2014 Dec 19. https://www.thyroid.org/patient-thyroid-information/ct-for-patients/volume-8-issue-5/vol-8-issue-5-p-6-7/
Inside our Maternal Health Spotlight:
- Maternal Health, Research Summary
- Formulator's Corner, by Jim Roufs, MS, RD: Selenium and Maternal Health
- Research Review, by Mark Whitacre, PhD: Selenium and Maternity; Form Matters
- White Paper: Why Selenium-enriched yeast? Personalized medicine’s most useful mineral