My name is Elliot Frank and I am a family doctor. This project began at the end of a long overdue discussion with my wife where we decided to start a family. The doctor and obsessive researcher in me wanted to get a head start on choosing the best prenatal vitamin (that’s probably why you’re reading this, too). So I did what any self-respecting doctor would do: a google search for the “best prenatal vitamin”.
I thought I would hit “enter” and get an answer. Instead, it led me here. The most shocking discovery I made on my journey was a study looking at 26 prenatal vitamins straight off the shelves in Alberta, Canada. It showed that half of them “exceeded established standards for lead toxicity (0.50 μgm/day)”1, meaning that the prenatal vitamins you are buying might contain toxic levels of lead, and you wouldn’t even know it.
Of course I wanted nothing to do with purchasing heavy metals but I couldn’t find the information I needed to make an informed decision. Many vitamins claim that they are “third party certified” without saying who certified them. I’m sorry, but that’s not good enough for my family. USP2 and NSF3 have certified some prenatals currently on the market, but they didn’t meet my expectations for some incredibly obvious reasons:
-They all had multiple ingredients that were over the RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) for pregnant women as established by Health Canada4.
-Most had way more ingredients than actually recommended for pregnant women by the Gynecologic Societies. They were a lot more like multivitamins with folic acid than they were like prenatal vitamins.
-Most were missing basic ingredients that are actively recommended for a healthy pregnancy, like choline, but most just had too much stuff.
So it boiled down to this: ask my wife to take multiple different pills at a huge monthly cost and a total pain, or build a better prenatal so that everyone can benefit.
One last thing about me. I reference my text because I want all of my readers to have full access to the best information out there. I want you to question the science for yourself, and even question my interpretation of it. That's the only way to make sure you're getting the real deal, and the only way Dr. Frank Health can live up to its full potential. We welcome comments.
Me and Brennan (not my baby!)
- Schwalfenberg G, Rodushkin I, Genuis SJ. Heavy metal contamination of prenatal vitamins. Toxicol Rep. 2018;5:390. doi:10.1016/j.toxrep.2018.02.015
- USP Verified Products Listing. Quality Supplements. https://www.quality-supplements.org/verified-products/verified-products-listings. Published June 3, 2016. Accessed September 14, 2019.
- Listing Category Search Page | NSF International. http://info.nsf.org/Certified/Dietary/Listings.asp. Accessed September 14, 2019.
- Canada H. Dietary Reference Intakes. aem. https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/food-nutrition/healthy-eating/dietary-reference-intakes/tables/reference-values-elements-dietary-reference-intakes-tables-2005.html. Published July 20, 2005. Accessed August 30, 2019.