The Environmental Working Group has its Dirty Dozen list, and here at Beli, we have a Never, Ever List of our own. These are the ingredients that may be technically allowed in a supplement, but don’t meet our personal standards for safety, efficacy, or purity. As part of our ongoing commitment to transparency, we’re sharing the 7 ingredients you’ll never see in Beli prenatal vitamins (and why).
The Never, Ever List
It goes without saying – just because something is (or was) allowed in a food or dietary supplement doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Case in point? High-fructose corn syrup. Trans fats. MSG. Should we keep going?
In that spirit, here’s what we refuse to put in Beli prenatal vitamins for men and women:
- Artificial colorants. The addition of this ingredient is entirely aesthetic – it’s included just to make supplements look better. But you know what’s not so pretty? Added colorants have been linked to hyperactivity in children and even an increased risk of cancer. They’re also associated with neurotoxic effects, which is the last thing you want near your growing baby.
- Hydrogenated oils. Hydrogenation is a process that adds hydrogen to an oil to increase its saturation, making it more shelf stable and raising its melting point so that it’s solid at room temperature. The huge drawback is the high amount of hydrogenated fat, i.e. trans fat, which means a higher risk of developing heart disease.
- Magnesium silicate. Also known as talc, magnesium silicate is a non-nutrient additive used to whiten vitamins and prevent different ingredients from sticking to one another in a capsule. It has a chemical composition similar to asbestos, and it can be irritating to the mucosal lining of the bowel.
- Titanium dioxide. Another nutrient-void additive, titanium dioxide is often added to supplements to make them white. It’s been linked to oxidative stress, which can lead to cell damage, impaired immune function, and other major problems.
- Sodium benzoate. Another additive that prolongs shelf life, sodium benzoate turns into the carcinogenic chemical benzene when combined with vitamin C.
- Soybean oil. Soy, and typically the partially hydrogenated version, is one of the major fillers used in supplements on the market today. It’s inexpensive and it adds bulk, and people tend to assume more of something (even in a prenatal) is always better. That’s a problem in itself, but another issue is that unless it’s certified organic, soy is almost always genetically modified.
- Maltodextrin. This additive is derived from any starch – think rice, corn, wheat, potato, tapioca – and heavily processed into a white powder. Those starting materials are often genetically modified. In supplements, maltodextrin is a cheap filler/preservative used to improve shelf life.
A Quick Word on Federal Oversight
We wrote recently about what clean really means in a prenatal vitamin, and why any company worth buying from should be able to specify in detail how that applies to their products. Pregnancy is a time when you should err on the side of caution – it’s why you’re giving up your beloved lattes and sushi for ten long months! – and yet, federal oversight is weirdly lacking in the prenatal vitamin industry. That means you, the consumer, need to be really clear about what you’re getting in a prenatal and where it’s coming from.
One of the most important ways to distinguish a high-quality prenatal vitamin from one that’s cutting corners is by its manufacturing process. Always, always choose a brand that manufactures its products in FDA-registered and cGMP-certified facilities. These are signs that supplements are being produced in a safe, standardized process that ensures both quality control and product consistency. Facilities that are cGMP certified meet high standards for production and monitoring, which means they’re quick to spot and address any potential issues that could affect quality, purity, or safety in products coming off the line. FDA certification means a facility is regularly inspected – another feather in the ol’ safety cap.
The Beli Promise
At Beli, we share the same goal as everyone who buys our prenatal vitamins – supporting and nourishing a healthy, new little life. That’s why we reference the most current scientific research and the experts in the field for the most appropriate nutrients to include in our men’s and women’s formulas. It’s why every ingredient we use has been extensively researched, and why we source only the highest-quality, most bioavailable forms of each one. And it’s why we refuse to use ingredients that aren’t serving the unique health needs of couples trying to conceive, already pregnant, or in the postpartum stage. You deserve nothing less.