As a mom herself, Beli founder Joni Hanson Davis is intimately familiar with the roller coaster ride that is conceiving and carrying and delivering a baby. She knows that the very last thing moms-to-be want or need are a handful of horse pills that they dread choking down day after day after day. So she did things differently, with a prenatal vitamin designed for the long haul. It needed to have all the right nutrients in all the right amounts to support mom and baby before, during, and after pregnancy. It needed to be free of bulky, low-quality ingredients and fillers of any kind, and it needed to be reasonable both in capsule and serving size.
Spoiler–she made it happen with Beli for Women, a prenatal vitamin packaged in smaller capsules that are easier to swallow, in a very doable three-capsule serving, with an essential-oil based minty essence that is not only delightful, it’s soothing on the tummy, too. But it does beg the question, how exactly does Beli fit alllll those nutrients into just three capsules? Clearly, it was no accident.
- Trademarked vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants are the gold standard for nutrients, with greater purity, efficacy, and bioavailability.
- Some formulas take a “everything but the kitchen sink” approach, cramming in a mix of nutrients that increase capsule and serving size.
- Many prenatal vitamin formulas use fillers as preservatives or for aesthetics, but they also add bulk.
It all comes down to the ingredients. Beli for Women is based on the latest scientific research for fertility, prenatal, and postnatal health, and it’s one of very few formulas on the market meeting current recommendations for choline, folate, iodine, magnesium, and vitamin D. There are 20 ingredients in Beli’s prenatals, all of which are scientifically shown to benefit mom and baby from preconception to postpartum. But it’s not just the nutrients themselves that affect both final serving and individual capsule sizes–it’s the forms of those nutrients.
Branded forms of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants are the cream of the crop. These are the purest, cleanest forms you can get, with the greatest bioavailability for the greatest efficacy. And because they’re so pure, these branded forms of key nutrients tend to take up less space. Isn’t that wild? True story–during the research and development process, Beli’s serving size went from four capsules down to three after we switched to the trademarked VitaCholine, widely considered the gold standard for this essential nutrient. We opted for the gold standard as much as possible in our formula, from Ferrochel, a tummy-friendly, chelated version of iron, to zinc from Albion TRAACS, which makes it possible to fit all the necessary nutrients in all the appropriate amounts into just three smaller capsules.
Everything You Need, Nothing You Don’t
What we put into our prenatal vitamins is just as important as what we don’t. Remember, prenatal vitamins are designed to supplement what you eat, which should always serve as the primary source of your nutrition. So the “everything but the kitchen sink” approach that some formulas have really isn’t doing you any favors. Worse, some formulas are crammed with unnecessary ingredients, including artificial colorants, hydrogenated oils, talc, titanium dioxide, etc. (all ingredients on Beli’s personal never, ever list). These fillers may be added to keep ingredients from sticking to one another in a capsule, extend the product’s shelf life, or just make the capsules look prettier, but they also add bulk (not to mention health risks!).
Some formulas have ingredients that don’t meet our personal standards for safety in a prenatal vitamin, such as vitamin A, which is plentiful in the average diet and can be harmful in the earliest stages of pregnancy. Some include ingredients that compete with other nutrients for absorption (like calcium) or aren’t shelf stable when combined with other ingredients (like DHA) and so are best sourced through your daily diet or taken as a separate supplement. The point is, we took a very mindful, intentional approach in the formulation of our prenatal vitamins to create a product that truly serves you in every way it should.
The (Missing) Standard
Spend a little researching prenatal vitamins in the nearest drugstore or online, and you’ll probably be shocked by what seems like endless options. These things come in all shapes and sizes and forms, with serving sizes that vary from a single capsule all the way up to eight (yeah, no). So what gives? Why is there so much variation from one prenatal vitamin to the next? The answer is a little grim. Serving and capsule sizes vary, simply, because there is no single standard. What’s more, as supplements, there is little oversight into what’s actually inside the average prenatal vitamin. That means you, the consumer, need to know not only which vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants you need to successfully conceive and grow an entire little person, but also the appropriate quantities and even the best forms of those nutrients.
Beli for Women makes it easy. But in the event you’re still weighing your options, remember to always, always choose a brand that manufactures in FDA-registered and cGMP-certified facilities. It’s an indication that your vitamins are being produced in a safe, standardized process and an assurance of quality control and consistency. cGMP certified facilities meet high standards for production and monitoring, and 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, meanwhile, means a facility is regularly inspected, an important safety consideration. Finally, look for third-party testing. Beli, for instance, is the proud recipient of the Purity Award from the Clean Label Project, an organization that tests for ingredient quality and purity. Your prenatal vitamin is the last place you want to compromise, and these certifications can point you in the right direction.
To us, prioritizing safety, purity, and efficacy is key, and so is thinking through the reality of taking prenatal vitamins day in and day out. Doing everything we can to ensure this isn’t a dreaded part of your day is a big deal to us, and factoring for your comfort is just one way we’re bringing you the very best women’s prenatal on the market. The same is true of our men's formula, which is formulated with science-backed ingredients to support and promote sperm health. Men switching from a multivitamin (highly recommended if the plan is a baby!) will be happy to know the serving size for Beli Vitality for Men is just two capsules a day.