Dietary Supplements Rarely Provide Sufficient Doses for Pregnancy

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Only one product studied contained target doses for all 6 nutrients needed during pregnancy, with cost of about $200 per month.

HealthDay News — Almost no dietary supplements in the US provide key nutrients at sufficient doses for pregnant women, according to a study published in the April issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Noting that most pregnant women in the US are at risk for inadequate intake of key nutrients from food alone during pregnancy, Katherine A. Sauder, PhD, from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, and colleague estimated the doses of supplementation needed to help most pregnant women achieve the recommended intake. From 2007 to 2019, 24-hour dietary recalls were conducted in 2450 pregnant participants aged 14 to 50 years. The usual intake of vitamins A and D, folate, calcium, iron, and ω-3 fatty acids was estimated from food alone.

For supplementation, the target dose was 198mcg or greater retinol activity equivalents of total vitamin A, 7 to 91mcg vitamin D, 169 to 720mcg dietary folate equivalents of folic acid, 383 to 943mg calcium, 13 to 22mg iron, and 59mg or greater ω-3 fatty acids. The researchers found that 69 products (33 prenatal) out of 20,547 dietary supplements contained all 6 nutrients, and 7 products (2 prenatal) contained target doses of 5 nutrients. Only 1 product contained target doses of all 6 nutrients, but it required 7 tablets per daily serving and cost about $200 per month.

“Reformulation or development of products that maximize the number of pregnant women receiving enough (but not too much) vitamin A, vitamin D, folic acid, calcium, iron, and ω-3 FAs is needed,” the authors write.

Two authors disclosed financial ties to the nutrition and other industries.

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