Depending on who you ask, the idea of clean beauty really got going around 2008 – thanks, Gwyneth! – and the movement never looked back. It trickled into everything – including, yes, the prenatal vitamin market – with generally mixed results. That’s because “clean” is one of those largely meaningless marketing terms with no standard definition and no enforcement behind it. Still, most people understand clean products to be free of potentially harmful ingredients and suspicious manufacturing processes. Whether that’s really the case or not can get a little murky, so let’s get specific. Here’s what clean really means for Beli prenatal vitamins.
- As supplements, prenatal vitamins aren’t regulated by the FDA. That means consumers need to personally screen for safety, quality, and efficacy.
- Beli is committed to prenatal vitamins that are safe, pure, high quality, and effective, and we’re transparent about everything from our ingredients to our manufacturing processes
- Prenatal vitamin brands have been called out for missing nutrients, inadequate quantities, and unsafe ingredients, so you can’t assume they’re all doing things the right way.
The Beli Promise
As dietary supplements, prenatal vitamins fall into the postmarket enforcement realm for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Some drugs must be proven safe and effective before coming to market, but not so with prenatal vitamins – instead, “there are no provisions in the law for FDA to approve dietary supplements for safety before they reach the consumer.” That means anyone buying and taking prenatal vitamins has to really trust that the company behind the label is doing things the right way.
At Beli, we do. Because everything that matters to you — safety, purity, quality, and efficacy — matters to us. That’s the standard to which we hold everything, from our ingredients to our manufacturing processes. And since we believe that anyone who’s thinking about a baby, actively trying, already pregnant, or in that wild, sleep-deprived postpartum stage has enough to deal with, we make it easy for you to learn all about our process. In the supplement world, that’s a little unusual. Transparency about how companies manufacture their supplements isn’t really the norm, and most of us don’t even think to ask.
From the beginning, we set out to do things the right way. And from where we’re standing, that looks a lot like this:
- Custom formulas that are based in the latest scientific research for fertility, prenatal, and postnatal health and meet current recommendations for critical vitamins and minerals in appropriate amounts and in the most bioavailable forms
- The highest quality, most bioavailable ingredients, which means things like chelated iron and TRAACS™ magnesium and MTHF folate instead of folic acid
- Ingredients that are non-GMO and free of gluten and allergens
- Vegan-friendly capsules and ingredients, like our lichen-derived vitamin D3
- Prenatals that are manufactured domestically in FDA registered and certified cGMP facilities for quality assurance
In short, no shortcuts. It’s not cheap to do things the right way, but cutting corners isn’t just unethical and immoral. It can actually pose health issues. Case in point? Titanium dioxide. This compound is processed for use as a color additive and whitener, and yes, it’s at the heart of the current Skittles lawsuit. It’s also commonly found in prenatal vitamins.
Studies are mixed about its toxicity below a certain amount, but researchers do know titanium dioxide is absorbed into the bloodstream and accumulates in certain organs. Notably, it’s been banned in Europe since 2019, though Britain and Canada didn’t follow suit. Still, pregnancy is a time when you want to be abundantly cautious about what you’re putting into your body – that’s why experts recommend curbing caffeine, skipping deli meats and soft cheese, and foregoing sushi. From our perspective, ingredients like titanium dioxide, which simply plays an aesthetic function, have no place in your prenatal.
We take the same stance with inferior ingredients in general. Take vitamin D2, which isn't as effective as D3 at raising vitamin D levels. Lower-quality ingredients can also contribute to oxidative stress, a scenario that can directly impact fertility.
Zero Regulation, Minimal Oversight
In 2016, the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics called out the top 25 prenatal vitamins because they weren’t meeting vitamin and mineral recommendations. Six years before that, a review of over 200 prenatal brands found lead in the vitamins — up to 15 times the recommended limit in apple juice.
That means not only were these popular prenatal vitamins not doing their one job – to support and nourish during preconception, pregnancy, and postnatal – they were actually putting people at risk!
This lack of consistency, safety, and efficacy can be chalked up to the fact that there’s no single standard for nutrients or quantities in prenatal vitamins. Instead, individual prenatal companies are essentially free to come up with their own formulas. And unless they’re referencing current recommendations from respected authorities like the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists or the American Medical Association, well, they’re leaving a lot to chance.
The big takeaway here is that you take a big risk when you blindly trust that any old prenatal vitamin has everything that you and your growing baby need, and a “clean” claim with nothing behind it isn’t enough. It requires a mindset shift, because most of us tend to assume that anything we can buy off the shelf, virtual or otherwise, has been vetted. And that’s just not true.
At Beli, we define clean prenatal vitamins in terms of safety, purity, quality, and efficacy. And really, shouldn’t that be the standard?