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How Do I Know If My Prenatal Vitamin is Working?

We’re an instant gratification society—we tend to want things now, whether that’s next-day shipping or food at our door in under thirty minutes or immediate results from that collagen protein. For most people, prenatal vitamins are no different. We expect to feel different within days of starting them. But when customers ask us how to know their prenatal vitamin is working—men and women alike—there’s no single answer we can offer. Everyone responds to supplementation (not to mention pregnancy!) differently, which is one reason that how you feel isn’t a clue into whether or not your prenatal vitamin is actually working. Instead, you need to be confident about the prenatal vitamin itself, and there are a few things you’ll want to look for.

First Things First

Let’s quickly clarify a few things. The best way to ensure you’re benefiting from your prenatal vitamin is by taking it every single day. Your body needs a continuous stream of key nutrients to support your fertility, nourish a pregnancy, and maintain a growing baby, so don’t make the mistake of assuming prenatal vitamins are a one-and-done of thing or that you can benefit if you’re taking them, you know, whenever you remember. We have all kinds of tips and tricks to make your prenatal vitamin a daily habit, so do what you need to do to make sure it’s something you’re prioritizing each and every day.

Men, we’ll go ahead and point out that you can’t eyeball your sperm count. In other words, don’t expect noticeable changes to your semen, even after you've been taking a men’s prenatal vitamin a few months. But when you trust your men’s prenatal vitamin for all the reasons we outline below, you can be confident that you’re getting all the nutrients you need to support sperm health. Now, let’s get into some specifics for finding a really great prenatal vitamin from which you’ll both benefit.

Bioavailability

Newsflash—the body does best with certain forms of nutrients. The greater the bioavailability of a particular nutrient, the better the body is able to properly use it. Take folic acid. In the world of prenatal vitamins, folic acid is a big deal. It’s often used interchangeably with folate, though they’re actually distinct. Both are forms of vitamin B9, but folic acid is the inexpensive, shelf-stable version that is easily absorbed but difficult for the body to process. Worse, it’s estimated that up to 60% of women have a genetic variation that makes it next to impossible to properly use folic acid. Instead, they benefit from the active, methylfolate form of folic acid known as 5-MTHF.

Iron is another nutrient that can be difficult to properly absorb. Chelated forms of iron are more efficiently used in the body and they’re easier on the tummy—something you’ll appreciate if you’re navigating morning sickness. Vitamin D is another one. While it’s available in a few forms, studies (1) suggest that vitamin D3 is the most effective way of raising vitamin D levels in the body.

For over a decade, nutritionists and dietitians have been recognizing prenatal vitamins made with bioavailable nutrients (2), including methylfolate, as a superior way of ensuring moms-to-be are getting all of the nutrients they need.

Branded Nutrient Forms

Bioavailability isn’t the only consideration when you’re talking about nutrient forms, which also affect the size of both the final serving and individual capsule. Branded forms of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants tend to be among the purest forms you can buy, which means the greatest bioavailability and the greatest efficacy. In Beli’s prenatal vitamin, for example, we opted for Ferrochel, a tummy-friendly, chelated form of iron, zinc from Albio TRAACS, and VitaCholine. Not only does it make for the highest-quality prenatal vitamin you can get, it means a smaller serving size thanks to the impeccable purity. Cool, right?

Appropriate Amounts

Prenatal vitamins are designed to supplement what you eat, because your diet should always serve as the primary source of your nutrition. That’s not how every prenatal company sees it, unfortunately. But the “everything but the kitchen sink” approach that some formulas have actually isn’t doing you any favors. There’s a delicate balance to the nutrients our bodies need, and too much of one can be detrimental to how well you process another.

In our formula, we were as purposeful about what we kept out as what we put in. Vitamin A, for example, simply doesn’t meet our personal standards for safety in a prenatal vitamin. It’s plentiful in the average diet and can be harmful in the earliest stages of pregnancy. Calcium, another popular ingredient in many prenatal vitamin formulas, competes with other nutrients for absorption. DHA isn’t shelf stable when it’s combined with other ingredients.  These nutrients are simply better sourced in what you eat or via a separate supplement, not in your prenatal vitamin. It’s more evidence of our mindful, intentional approach to the formulation of our prenatal vitamins. We wanted to create a prenatal vitamin that serves you in every way it should.

All The Right Acronyms

FDA-registered, GMP-certified, non-GMO are all official-sounding acronyms that really mean something. It tells you that your prenatal vitamins have been produced in a safe, standardized process with oversight in quality control and product consistency. In other words, you can feel confident in the quality, safety and purity of the prenatal vitamins in your bottle. Beli prenatal vitamins go one step further with third-party testing. We’re the proud recipient of the Purity Award from the Clean Label Project, an organization that tests for ingredient quality and purity. It’s just one more certification that proves we refuse to compromise on the quality of our prenatal vitamins.

The Bottom Line

Here’s the thing–when it comes to prenatal vitamins, you aren’t necessarily going to feel anything. But when you’re taking Beli, you can be sure of one thing–you’re getting the right recommended nutrients. Industry research has shown that consistent consumption increases blood levels of the nutrients you need to support preconception health and a healthy pregnancy, so stay the course! A daily prenatal vitamin as part of a healthy lifestyle, for men and women alike, is the best way to nourish your fertility aand pregnancy health. Follow our tips above and take confidence that you’re doing everything right.

Sources

Shieh, A. et al. (2016). Effects of High-Dose Vitamin D2 Versus D3 on Total and Free 25-Hydroxyvitamin D and Markers of Calcium Balance. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4971338/

Greenberg, J. et al. (2011). Multivitamin Supplementation During Pregnancy: Emphasis on Folic Acid and l-Methylfolate. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3250974/

Additional Resources

The summer heat really can have a temporary effect on male fertility, so doing what you can to keep cool, especially if the goal is becoming a dad, is really important. Here are tips to keep you and the boys cool this summer.

Read More

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When the plan is a baby, but you’re having a hard time conceiving, it’s normal to start wondering why. While there can be a number of issues in play, one tends to be overlooked: sleep quality. Specifically, men who have the sleep disorder sleep apnea could be at greater risk of fertility issues. Now, new research is drawing a more definitive link between sleep apnea and male fertility. Let’s review.

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For many of us, our twenties and even thirties are a time when the focus is on pregnancy prevention. And that’s okay! But even when the idea of motherhood is miles away there is tremendous value in understanding your fertility health and what you can do to support it during these young, carefree days.

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Read More

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Read More

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Read More

The summer heat really can have a temporary effect on male fertility, so doing what you can to keep cool, especially if the goal is becoming a dad, is really important. Here are tips to keep you and the boys cool this summer.

Read More

If you’re no stranger to the telltale signs of seasonal allergies—sneezing, itching, nasal congestion, irritated eyes, the works—you’re likely familiar with antihistamines. When you’re actively trying to conceive, there’s more to understand about histamines, seasonal allergies and how it affects your fertility.

Read More

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Read More

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Read More

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Read More

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Read More

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Read More

Raise your hand if you already know that you have a biological clock. From age 35 and beyond, there is a natural decline in testosterone and sperm quality. Just as people lose muscle strength, flexibility and endurance with age, sperm also tend to lose their "fitness" over the life cycle. But what does that mean—and does it really matter?

Read More

It’s an easy assumption, but you’re much better off thinking that every prenatal vitamin is wildly different in terms of composition, nutrient quality and, importantly, nutrient amount. Not only is that actually true, it puts you in the smart consumer mindset of understanding what matters in a prenatal vitamin—and why.

Read More

Men really do benefit from specialized nutrition in the form of a prenatal vitamin that’s formulated to support sperm health. Here’s what that looks like, and how specific nutrients can impact a man’s fertility health before fatherhood.

Read More

Shilajit is finally getting the credit it’s due, and we’re proud to point out that our proprietary formula was the very first to include this powerful Ayurvedic compound. Here’s why shilajit is rapidly becoming the darling of the male fertility world–and what you’re missing if you’re skipping it.

Read More

Ever wondered why men produce so much darn sperm, especially if only one of them will ultimately fertilize the egg? There are millions of sperm in normal ejaculate because it increases the likelihood that one will reach the egg and seal the deal. It begs the question, what exactly happens on the journey to the egg?

Read More

Just as women’s bodies need to be prepared for pregnancy, men’s bodies need to be ready to contribute healthy sperm for conception. Nutrients are the foundation that support the normal structure and function of sperm and men's fertility health. Taking Beli’s male prenatal supplement is a proactive way to strategically fuel your body to optimize fertility contributing to your overall chances of conceiving and supporting a healthy pregnancy.  

Read More

Diet has been suggested to have an influence on the quality and function of human sperm. More specifically, the results of a randomised trial have shown that including nuts as a component of a regular diet improved the quality and function of human sperm.

Read More

A shot to the balls may be played for laughs on screen, but testicular impacts really aren’t a joke. Worse case scenario, getting hit in the balls can affect fertility thanks to complications like sexual dysfunction, low testosterone and other issues. Let's discuss.

Read More

With the New Year upon us, there are all kinds of articles and videos making the rounds with predictions of the Zodiac signs most likely to get pregnant in 2024. But here at Beli, we take a much more scientific approach to conception. Here are the top eight things people will do to get pregnant in 2024.

Read More

Research shows that the overall health of both biological parents during the preconception window plays a huge role in everything from conception to pregnancy health to the lifetime health of their baby. Luckily, there are simple steps you can both take to improve your health together.

Read More

When it comes to becoming parents, good habits really will take you where you want to go. Now, new science is giving us insight into exactly how long it takes to form those good habits. We're breaking down all the ways you can build healthy habits to boost your chances of conception. Think of it as life-hacking, but for grown-ups.

Read More

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Read More

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Read More

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Read More

If you’re no stranger to the telltale signs of seasonal allergies—sneezing, itching, nasal congestion, irritated eyes, the works—you’re likely familiar with antihistamines. When you’re actively trying to conceive, there’s more to understand about histamines, seasonal allergies and how it affects your fertility.

Read More

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Read More

The concern that hormonal contraception affects future fertility is making the rounds on social media again. But research continues to show that all that worry is for naught. While birth control doesn’t cause long-term fertility issues, it can mask them by creating an artificial cycle—something that’s important to understand.

Read More

For many of us, our twenties and even thirties are a time when the focus is on pregnancy prevention. And that’s okay! But even when the idea of motherhood is miles away there is tremendous value in understanding your fertility health and what you can do to support it during these young, carefree days.

Read More

We’re thrilled to introduce Beli Women Preconception, a complementary fertility supplement designed to support fertility health by promoting egg quality, supporting ovulation, balancing hormones, regulating your cycle and helping to manage symptoms of both PCOS and PMS.

Read More

Once a month, PMS symptoms make their unpleasant presence known. And while knowing what’s happening won’t make PMS magically disappear, it can help you manage symptoms by balancing hormones and supporting your reproductive health. Let’s review.

Read More

It’s an easy assumption, but you’re much better off thinking that every prenatal vitamin is wildly different in terms of composition, nutrient quality and, importantly, nutrient amount. Not only is that actually true, it puts you in the smart consumer mindset of understanding what matters in a prenatal vitamin—and why.

Read More

If you have endometriosis, you can already recite its lengthy list of pretty terrible symptoms. And the standard options for managing those symptoms — medications, hormone therapy, hormonal birth control, estrogen blockers, surgery —  aren’t always great. But there is evidence that a so-called “endometriosis diet” can help.

Read More

With the New Year upon us, there are all kinds of articles and videos making the rounds with predictions of the Zodiac signs most likely to get pregnant in 2024. But here at Beli, we take a much more scientific approach to conception. Here are the top eight things people will do to get pregnant in 2024.

Read More

Research shows that the overall health of both biological parents during the preconception window plays a huge role in everything from conception to pregnancy health to the lifetime health of their baby. Luckily, there are simple steps you can both take to improve your health together.

Read More

Preparing for a baby means doing everything in your power to nourish your fertility health. If you’re totally on board but wondering what that actually means, we’re breaking down the do’s and don’ts for planning a pregnancy.

Read More

There’s a certain magic to the holiday season, whether you’re all-in on the decorations and the family time or a self-proclaimed Scrooge from mid-November to the New Year. But when you’re trying to conceive, it can be a challenging time.  We’re sharing five tips for managing the holidays when you’re trying to conceive.

Read More

Everyone knows that alcohol and pregnancy don’t mix. But what about before you’re pregnant, during the trying-to-conceive stage? There’s no evidence that the occasional drink—i.e. one or two a week—is going to torpedo your chances of parenthood. But it is true that the more you drink, the greater the likelihood it will have an effect on your health. Here’s what the research says about alcohol and your fertility.

Read More