It's sad but true - the best selling prenatal vitamin in the US has some ingredients that are not good for pregnant women and babies

Nature Made Prenatal Vitamins with DHACredit: Amazon

That’s right, it’s a shame but the number on selling prenatal vitamin in the US is potentially detrimental to pregnant moms and babies. The prenatal vitamin brand in question here is Nature Made Prenatal Vitamins with DHA. This is Nature Made's newer prenatal vitamin supplement and different from the Nature Made Prenatal Multivitamin. While the prenatal vitamin with DHA is not dangerous per say, some of this particular prenatal vitamin’s ingredients are proven to be potentially harmful. Let’s take a look at what these ingredients are exactly and some alternative prenatal vitamins that are a better choice for expecting mothers.

The Potentially Harmful Ingredients

Nature Made Prenatal Vitamins with DHA contain the artificial colors; yellow 6, blue 1 and red 40. While artificial food colors are found in nearly every form of junk food today from Cheetos to pop tarts and are not dangerous in small amounts, they certainly are not good for anyone in small to large amounts. However, what’s concerning about the Nature Made Vitamins is that they contain Red 40. Red 40 is scientifically linked a strong way to the onset of ADHD or Attention Deficit Disorder, in young children. Removing Red 40 from the diets of children with ADHD makes an astounding difference in behavior. There is also currently a controversy as to whether or not Red 40 causes cancerous tumor growth, especially in your children.

Fruit LoopsCredit: Flickr

Pregnant women are instructed to take their prenatal vitamins religiously, every day. This means women taking the number one selling Nature Made prenatal vitamin brand are taking in Red 40 every day. Who knows what the effect of daily Red 40 consumption will have on an unborn baby. If a mother breastfeeds her baby and continues to take her prenatal vitamins as recommended, then she will be passing the Red 40 dye through her breast milk. There are several accounts of women who consume a lot of food coloring in their diets passing on the food coloring through their breast milk to their baby, which then causes the baby’s poo to be brightly colored in the same hue as the dyes the mother consumed. This is not good. Junk food is not good for you and you would expect junk foods to contain artificial colors like Red 40. But there is NO reason for Red 40 to be in a prenatal vitamin, let alone the best selling prenatal vitamin in the US!

Nature Made Prenatal Vitamins and DHA

DHA also known as the Omega-3 fatty acid is extremely beneficial for the brain and eye development of unborn babies. Fish is the primary natural source of DHA. However, because many fish today are contaminated with chemicals and pollutants, pregnant women are told to eat fish in very limited quantities. Therefore, many pregnant women are rightly so advised to take a prenatal vitamin with DHA.

However, DHA in prenatal vitamins is processed fish oils. If you process contaminated fish oils then you’ll end up with a contaminated final vitamin  product. Thus the end all be all measure of quality DHA prenatal supplements is purity. Before taking a prenatal vitamin with DHA you should be absolutely certain where the prenatal vitamin brand gets their fish. Top quality New Chapter Wholemega fish oils use only 100% wild caught Alaskan Salmon in their Omegas supplement. Nature Made does not disclose where they get their fish for their prenatal vitamins with DHA supplement. They could very well get their fish from fish farms, notorious for their high levels of pollutants and contaminants. The point is we just don’t know where the fish comes from and this is a red flag.

Alaskan Salmon and Prenatal DHACredit: Flickr

What about the FDA? Yes the FDA does regulate US foods and drugs. However, DHA is regulated as a food rather than a drug. Food regulations by the FDA are much less strict than drug regulations. Any contaminents from fish oils consumed by pregnant women are detrimental to her health and her baby’s health. Again, this is why it’s so important to know where fish oil supplements get their fish from – and we do not know with the Nature Made brand.

However, from the ingredients list of the Nature Made prenatal vitamins, we can clearly see that they use three types of fish to make their DHA supplement: Cod, Anchovy and Sardine. We do know these three fish rank poorly in ecological studies that evaluate which fish types contain the most chemicals and pollutants. 

Beyond This Nature Made is Over Priced

Nature Made prenatal vitamins with DHA cost about $14 for a 3 month supply. This is not very expensive but sheesh you are getting a prenatal vitamin of poor quality that contains a yucky food dye and DHA from who knows where. You are paying for the Nature Made branding, which has nothing to do with being natural!

In comparison, Rite Aid produces their Rite Aid Prenatal Vitamin with Folic Acid, that is the winner of our best budget prenatal vitamin award and contains no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives. The cost of these vitamins is $4 for a 100 day supply and they contain all the critical nutrients pregnant moms and babies need with no unwanted extras.

Better Prenatal Vitamins

The best prenatal vitamin is New Chapter Prenatal Vitamins. These vitamins are cold pressed, which leads to an excellent absorption rate and they are organic whole foods in themselves. You just cannot compare the quality of the New Chapter organic prenatal vitamins to the Nature Made prenatal vitamins. Real moms posting prenatal vitamins reviews on sites like Amazon also love New Chapter Prenatal vitamins, saying there are no side effects with these vitamins. This is not the case with the Nature Made brand. Many women say the Nature Made prenatal vitamins caused them digestive problems, worsened morning sickness and smelled bad.