The most frequent question I get when it comes to my pregnancy is not what I eat or what I do to stay in balance or whatever, no, it is about which supplements I take! So in today’s post I want to share which supplements I take – and why.
First of all, I want to make sure to point out that depending on your diet you have or do not have to take supplements. There are some nutrients missing in most omnivore diets, some missing in many vegetarian diets, and some other missing in vegan diets. So this is isn’t a one for all post!
And just in a nutshell: NO it is not dangerous to eat vegan. Not when pregnant, not as a child, not as a older person, not when breastfeeding, never. Quite in contrast, it is actually very healthy – at least as long as you eat healthy.
What is healthy? Healthy is to eat WHOLE FOODS – meaning NOT processed foods. When you eat a diet consisting of whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and loads of legumes there is nothing to be insecure about (except for ALWAYS taking your B12 – more on that below). It’s pretty much easy like this.
When being pregnant, however, it can happen (and happens to me) that from one day to the other you cannot stand any vegetables at all. It can happen that all you can eat in a week is white pasta with pesto and oranges (this happend to me). It can happen that things go a little out of control, especially in the first 12 weeks. This is why it could be a good idea to take a few supplments, just to be on the safe side.
Here are the suppplements I take every day:
DHA fatty acids from algae oil
Plant concentrate blend as a multivitamin and for iron
Iodine from kelp
Except for the “mutlivitamin” and the iodine I take all of these supplements always, no matter if pregnant of not.
What do I NOT take?
Artificially made minerals (iron, calcium…)
Artifically made folic acid.
Whenever taking supplements that are not “whole”, meaning which do not come straight from a plant but are made in a laboratory, they are A. usually highly dosed and can easily “overwhelm” your system and get it out of balance and B. they are never as complete and complex as the naturally occuring vitamins and minerals from fruits and vegetables are.
Our bodies are made to metabolise food, not single nutrients!
Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D3 are exceptions from this rule since they cannot be found in plants – B12 is a bacteria living in the soil and as long as you do not eat soil you won’t really find a natural source. D3 is the sunlight vitamin that you usually get enough of, when spending enough time in the sunlight. However, when living in the northern part of the world, there isn’t much sunshine from September to May. I take B12 all througout the year and I take D3 from October to May.
Why do I not take artically made folic acid? The question can be asked the other way around: why should I take some when there is plenty in plants? This way around you get the answer 😀
Now to the supplements I take:
You may know already that DHA is a polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acid found throughout the body. It is a major structural fat in the brain and retina, accounting for up to 97 percent of the omega-3 fats in the brain and up to 93 percent of the omega-3 fats in the retina. Throughout every stage of life, DHA is proven to be important for brain and eye health, this is why a DHA deficiency during pregnancy may limit infants’ development potential.
I get my DHA from algae oil from TESTA. It is a brand that I’ve been using since four years now, that I completely trust in, and that I can absolutel recommend.
So why not from fish oil? Algae oil is more fresh and free from toxines (which fish oil has looooads of) and algae oil has a better DHA ratio than fishoil. So why kill fish when plants make it so much better 🙂 ?
Like all supplements that I take, algae oil is a 100% natural supplement, there is nothing artificially made about it.
I LOVE this product! Why, because it is all plant based and there is nothing artificial about it!
The “Frauen Vital Complex” contains all essential b vitamins, all natural vitamin C and vitamin E, minerals, and micronurients from guave, amla, basil, lemon zest, and curryleaf.
The nutritients come directly from the plants, nothing else is added to the product. It’s just pure plant extract. When taking supplements that are pure plants, you do not only get the micronutrients that are listed on the package leaflets but you alsoget all the phyotchemicals such as bioflavonoids. These phytochemicals make it easier for your system to actually abosrb the nutrients in the plant and to actually metabolise them.
From only the guave, amla, basil, kemon zest, and curryleaf that is one tablet, I get around 1/3 -1/2 of the nutrients (depending on the nutrient) that I need per day. Yes, not more than that! Because I do also eat – and I do also get nutrients through the food that I eat!
So how much sense does it make to overwhelm my body with 100% of all the vitamins it needs when I then add another 50%-80% of the total demand in the form of food? The only thing I achieve doing this, is that I get my system out of balance.
Iodine is only required in very small amounts, however, it is an important constituent of thyroid hormones. These hormones maintain the body’s metabolic state and support normal growth and development in children. Iodine is essential for a normal brain development of the unborn baby.
When not pregnant, I get my iodine by eating seaweed every now and then. During pregnancy however, I do not like the taste of seaweed so I go for seaweed capsules instead, just to make sure that I get my iodine. Kelp capsules are all natural, since it’s basically only kelp in there. There are various brands out there. Just make sure you get around 220 micrograms during pregnancy, compared to around 150 when not pregnant.
In case you do eat salt which is enriched in iodine, and in case you are NOT eating a vegan diet, please be very careful not to take too much iodine! Too much of whatever it is, is as harmful as too little, especially when it comes to minerals such as iodine. On a vegan diet, which does NOT contain any seaweeds, you will have to add seaweed (like nori or kelp) to your diet or take seaweed-capsules. Please note that spirulina and clorella do not contain iodine! Read more about that in my “little algae guide“.
And here are some other “hacks” that I made become part of my daily routine. I won’t really call these supplements but somehow they are:
It has all the B vitamins (including tons of folic acid) and just a tablespoon over my pasta at night will cover my needs of most b vitamins. The nutritional yeast that I eat has 1720 µg folic acid per 100g – this is 1950 % of my daily demand! However, I never eat 100g per day, but rather 10g. And still I have soooo much folic acid only by adding some nutritional yeast! I mean, seriously, why should I take an extra folic acid supplement then?
Plant based milk + calcium
This is a great source for natural calcium. The calcium comes from the Lithothamnium calcareum algae and is 100% natural (it’s nothing but a pure algae) and adding some plant based milk to my muesli or my smoothies helps me feeling sure about getting enough calcium (when I do not eat as many dark greens as I usually do). In case you feel like you need more calcium and you decided to add some of the Lithothamnium calcareum to your daily routine, please note that this algae does also contain loads of iodine – so scroll down on other algaes so that you do not get too much iodine!
I do not eat much soy when I am not pregnant but I’ve been craving them a lot during all of my pregnancies. I guess this is, again, because of the calcium. Tofu has loads of calcium and since the baby in the womb needs quite some calcium it is important to get enough of this precious mineral. “Clean” soy products that are 100% organic and made off soy coming from where you live, and the above mentioned plant based milk + calcium are great sources to get enough calcium during pregnancy.
They are my multivitamin during pregnancy. When not pregnant, I do like smoothies a lot, however, for some reason I cannot stand them when pregnant. But I love juices! So I add all the good stuff to a daily big juice and this is actually how I get most of my kale, lettuce, spinach, beet roots, other greens, and aaaaaall the fruits into my system!
I have a juice every morning and I really need them for a good start into the day. I always add oranges to my juice, as I am craving loads of oranges during pregnancy. I then like to add kale, carrots, pomegranate, other greens, and sometimes some apples or even pineapple.
Currently I get my oranges straight from Sicily and I love how fresh and delicous they are! I actually get a monthly box through Mammarancia. More on that soon.
That was it for now! However, there will be more on food and pregnancy 😀 I made a little survey in my insta stories the other day and it turned out that 91% of you are intersted in a “what I eat in a day” post, so I am working on that one! Then there will be another more general post coming up sometime in the next few weeks about eating vegan when pregnant and then there will be some recipes coming up every now and then as well.
I hope you enjoyed this post! Feel free to ask me any questions. It’s difficult to get all of the important stuff into a blog post, but I tried at least to cover a few things. And yes, I am a nutritionist, so I do have at least some expertise on the topic – so if you have any questions, please message me any time!
This blog post contains names of/pictures of/weblinks to brands and hence, is perceived advertisement. I was not paid for the post and all opinion is my own.