Pregnant women are wasting money on vitamins, study says

REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

New research out of the U.K. suggests that multivitamin and mineral supplements don’t provide proven health benefits to babies in utero — meaning many expectant mothers are possibly wasting their money on pricey pills.

“The marketing of such products does not appear to be supported by evidence of improvement in child or maternal outcomes. Pregnant women may be vulnerable to messages about giving their baby the best start in life, regardless of cost,” says the study, just published in the journal Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin.

In the U.K., it’s advised that pregnant women take folic acid and vitamin D supplements. The study doesn’t dispute that, but did not find sufficient evidence that all women benefit from the many additional vitamins and minerals included in prenatal pills.

Unsurprisingly, the supplements industry condemns the findings as “unhelpful” and “confusing.” Dietitian Dr. Carrie Ruxton, a spokeswoman for the Health Supplements Information Service, told the Guardian they were “absolute nonsense,” noting that supplements can help round out the nutrients of pregnant women not eating proper diets.

“The authors of this study claim that vitamin and mineral supplements must produce clinical effects before pregnant women are encouraged to take them … the role of food supplements is simply to combat dietary gaps,” she said.

Read the full story at The Guardian.


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