Vitamins what they do and why you need them

Posted by Ellen Back January - 5 - 2014
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pregnancy vitamins

Consuming the adequate amount of vitamins is crucial for the proper development of a mother’s fetus. If eating right wasn’t a priority before, it is especially important now, when you are getting ready to give birth. Research has indicated that proper nutrition has the ability to influence a baby’s development and may have lasting effect on the child later in life. A balanced diet is key to meeting the vitamin requirements of an expecting mother. The following list contains some of the most important vitamins to consume when pregnant.


Folic Acid– is also known as vitamin B9 or folate. This essential vitamin is necessary for healthy and proper body functioning. Whole wheat products, leafy green vegetables, cantaloupes, eggs and sunflower seeds are high in folic acid. Pinto beans, black beans, navy beans, kindney beans, lima means and garbanzo beans are also some of the world’s healthiest foods that are rich in folate. Folic acid aid the production of new red blood cells and the metabolism of DNA and proteins. During pregnancy, folic acid plays a crucial role in the prevention of neural tube birth defects, which affects the brain and the spinal cord. Doctors recommend taking 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid every day before conception and 12 weeks after giving birth.


Calcium-is essential for bone growth. Pregnant or not, women and men of all ages need at least 1,000 mg of calcium every day. Your baby needs a considerable amount of calcium as well. Calcium provides proper blood circulation and proper muscle and nerve development. If you do not consume enough, your body will take calcium from your bones which will lower your bone mass, putting you at risk for osteoporosis. Pregnancy is a critical time for calcium consumption. Daily sources of calcium include milk, yogurt, cream soup, pudding, broccoli, spinach, tofu and roasted almonds. Cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, natural cheese and processed cheese are dairy options that are also great sources of calcium which promote a healthy diet and proper bone growth.


Iron– is just as important. The need for iron is increased when pregnant. The recommended intake of iron is about 27 milligrams (mg) a day. For expecting moms, doctors recommend adding 30 to 50 milligrams of iron to your diet. Iron helps with blood circulation and its most essential role is its ability to aid in oxygen flow. You can find iron in soy products, organic chicken and beef, raisins, sesame seeds, and roasted pumpkin seeds. Vitamin C has been known to help absorb iron when ingesting food. So, next time you take iron pills, be sure to take it with a tall glass of orange juice!


B Vitamins– contains many different types. Listed below are the seven most common vitamin B groups and functions that are important to add to your diet during pregnancy.

Thiamin: plays a major role in nerve functions. Also known as vitamin B1, thiamin converts glucose into energy. Nuts, yeast, sesame seeds, cereal grains and pork are just some foods that contain this vitamin.

Riboflavin: helps vision and skin health. Milk, cottage cheese, rice, leafy green vegetables and wholegrain breads contain riboflavin. This vitamin’s primary function is energy production.

Niacin (Vitamin B3): converts carbohydrates and fat into energy. It maintains skin health and helps support the nervous and digestive system. Good sources of niacin are mushrooms, poultry, eggs, cereals and various protein products.

Pantothenic acid: produces red blood cells and steroid hormones. Potatoes, tomatoes, porridge, broccoli, peanuts and legumes contain pantothenic acid. Breakfast cereals are also a good source of pantothenic acids.

Biotin: is needed for energy metabolism. This vitamin can be found in foods such as cauliflower, liver, and chicken.

Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6): contributes to the formation of red blood cells and brain chemicals. It plays a role in brain development and immune functioning. Shellfish, meat, nuts, vegetables, and fruit are the best items that are rich in pyridoxine. This vitamin helps carry oxygen throughout the body and allows the body to use and story energy from carbohydrates in foods.

Cyanocobalamin (Vitamin B12): breaks down fatty acids and amino acids for energy production. Vitamin B12 has a close relationship to folic acid. Milk, salom, cheese and eggs are products that contain this vitamin. This vitamin’s main function is to keep the nervous system healthy.


Vitamin C– helps the body efficiency use folic acid and iron. This vitamin is responsible for bone and tissue repair, wound healing and healthy skin. Pregnant women are advised to take at least 85 milligrams of vitamin C a day. It helps produce collagen, which is a protein that helps the development of a fetus’s cartilage, muscles and bones. Citrus fruits and juices that contain oranges, papaya, grapefruit, kiwi, mangoes and strawberries are rich in Vitamin C.


Vitamin D– is needed to maintain stable levels of calcium and phosphorus. You can get vitamin D through the exposure to sunlight and the consumption of various food products. Food sources that contain vitamin D are fortified milk, catfish, salmon, tuna fish, and sardines. Doctors recommend that pregnancy women take a supplement that contains 10 micrograms of vitamin D every day, especially when breastfeeding.


Zinc– is essential for DNA production, repair and functioning. It contributes to rapid cell growth that occurs during pregnancy. Women are advised to take at least 11 milligrams of zinc on a daily basis. Oysters, poultry, beans, whole grains and dairy products usually contain zinc. This essential mineral plays a huge role in the development of the baby’s organs. Overall, zinc is important for maintaining the health of the immune system which is crucial in the early stages of pregnancy.


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