Most of my time is spent studying and researching these days and the deeper I dig into the world of supplements and health foods the more concerned I become. My aim is to find out what really works and why! More importantly we all need to know what is in our supplements as most have binders and fillers that are not good for us. Most of my pregnant friends take Stephens prenatal Vitamins as they have no binders or fillers and they work!!
TERRANOVA PRENATAL MULTIVITAMIN
The Prenatal Multivitamin was one of the first products you launched when the company started in 2009. Considering how many prenatal products there already were on the market, why did you feel that formulating yet another one was such a priority?
In addition to genetics, the quality of nourishment of the pregnant woman is undoubtedly the most critical factor in the health of the developing foetus. Even those in the medical establishment who are less aware of the need for supplements in the general population will acknowledge the need for them in pregnant women. There is such a wide variation in both the nutrient levels and the variety of nutrients in prenatal multivitamins and I wanted to formulate a product which provided a wider selection of nutrients, and in potencies which were optimal without being excessive and which were appropriately balanced.
The degree of ‘purity’ of the physical environment that the foetus is exposed to is also crucial. But one major problem with prenatal supplements prior to Terranova has been the fact that with only a few exceptions worldwide, such products were almost invariably laden with numerous manufacturing additives. Ironically, the most common additive, magnesium stearate, which appears in the vast majority of supplements is known to interfere with dissolution of active ingredients and may impair absorption or bioavailability of nutrients! It is so essential that the foetus and the mother get the most out of the nourishment that is being consumed, and yet almost every prenatal product had at least one additive which made this more of a challenge!! In addition to this, NO manufacturing additives are beneficial to the health of either the foetus or the mother and ALL of them are counterproductive to the goal of avoiding impurities in the mother’s body. I decided from the very beginning that EVERY Terranova product was going to be 100% additive-free, and not surprisingly, the fact that the Terranova Prenatal Multivitamin was going to be additive-free was especially satisfying on a personal level.
Understandably, pregnant women will often consult their obstetrician about prenatal nutrition before deciding what product to take. Is the Terranova Prenatal Multivitamin likely to face resistance from more conservative OBs?
This is a valid question, because even those women who are avid supplement users will quite rightly be hesitant about what and how much to supplement when pregnant. In truth, there are many adjustments that should be made to one’s supplement programme when one finds out they are pregnant. Women SHOULD discuss this with their OB, and Terranova Prenatal Multivitamin was specifically formulated in a manner that respects the concerns of conventional OBs while still allowing for completeness and purity. In other words, we use potency levels which are not only safe, but which we believe are almost certainly consistent with the expectations of the typical conventional OB for a prenatal multivitamin.
You include several wholefood ingredients in every one of your vitamin products, including the prenatal formula. What purpose to these serve in the Prenatal Multivitamin?
Yes, all our nutritional formulation include what is know as a ‘Magnifood complex’. This is normally a blend of wholefood and botanical ingredients,many of which are freeze dried and organic – but in order to ensure the safety in pregnancy of all the ingredients, the Magnifood complex in Terranova Prenatal Multivitamin is comprised of only whole foods and with no herbs. These wholefoods are combined with the vitamins and minerals that you see listed on the label. Magnifood is designed to enhance or assist in the absorption, bioavailability, stability, metabolism and function of the vitamins and minerals in each product. The goal in the way Terranova products are formulated is to create an intensely synergistic formulation that is highly effective, remarkably versatile, gentle, balanced, 100% active, free from unnecessary ingredients and above all, safe. With almost every Terranova product, more than half of the weight of the product is whole foods.
Folic acid is, of course, the most widely publicised and researched nutritional need in pregnancy. I notice that you list ‘Folate’ on your label instead of folic acid. Can you explain the significance of this?
Folic acid is basically a synthetic version of the folate that is found in foods. Folic acid is not found in nature, and the human body cannot use folic acid as it is – it must first be metabolised into it’s active methylfolate form in order to provide it’s benefits. However, recent research has uncovered a shocking statistic that between 9-15% of the population have a genetic mutation which significantly impairs their ability to metabolise folic acid. In addition to this mutation impairing the health benefits of folic acid, folic acid which cannot be metabolised properly is thought to build up in some people leading to toxicity. When we became aware of just how prevalent and how significant this genetic mutation was, we immediately scheduled the removal of standard folic acid from ALL of our products which contained it and replaced the folic acid with methylfolate, the form which is already active and is not affected by this mutation. As far as I know, we were the first major company in the UK and Ireland to replace folic acid with methylfolate in all products. Not surprisingly, this issue takes on special significance in pregnancy because of the proven role that folate status has in the prevention of neural tube defects.