Are Centrum Vitamins During Pregnancy Harmful?

While it is typically safe to take an over-the-counter vitamin supplement during pregnancy, it is always best to select one specifically designed for pregnant women. Centrum vitamins, while beneficial in other situations, are not designed to be taken during pregnancy. Ask your doctor for over-the-counter options that would better suit your needs during pregnancy.

Recommended Daily Allowance

Pregnant women have a different recommended dietary allowance, or RDA, of vitamins and minerals than others. When you are pregnant, your RDA is 750 to 770 mcg of vitamin A, 5 mcg of vitamin D, 15 mg of vitamin E, 65 to 75 mg of vitamin C, 1.4 mg of thiamine and riboflavin, 18 mg of niacin, 1.9 mg of pyridoxine and 600 mcg of folate.

The RDA of minerals during pregnancy is 1,000 to 1,300 mg of calcium, 27 mg of iron and 11 to 12 mg of zinc. The specific amount you need of each vitamin and mineral varies depending on your age and overall health, however. Always refer to your doctor's recommendations when determining how much of a particular vitamin or mineral to take.

Tolerable Upper Intake Levels

You also have a different tolerable upper intake level, or UL, than others while you are pregnant. This is the maximum amount of vitamins or minerals you can safely consume in a day without running the risk of adverse side effects. The UL levels are 2,800 to 3,000 mcg a day of vitamin A, 50 mcg a day of vitamin D, 800 to 1,000 mg a day of vitamin E, 1,800 to 2,000 mg of vitamin C, 30 to 35 mg of niacin, 80 to 100 mg of pyridoxine, 800 to 1,000 mg of folate, 2,500 mg of calcium, 45 mg of iron and 34 to 40 mg of zinc. A UL has not been determined for riboflavin or thiamine.

Fat-Soluble Vitamins Vs. Water-Soluble Vitamins

Fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamins K, D, E and A, are stored in the body. Water-soluble vitamins, such as the B vitamins and vitamin C, are excreted from your body on a regular basis and need constant replacement. This means it is much easier to overdose on fat-soluble vitamins than water-soluble vitamins. However, while it is particularly crucial to avoid consuming fat-soluble vitamins, you should watch your overall intake of water-soluble vitamins as well. Although your body flushes away unneeded quantities of water-soluble vitamins, they still may have potentially irritating effects on your digestive system. Centrum vitamin supplements include both fat-soluble vitamins and water-soluble vitamins in each tablet. This makes the potential for overdose higher than vitamin supplements that contain only water-soluble vitamins.

Centrum Vitamins Amounts

The amount of vitamins and minerals in Centrum vitamins depends on the specific product. However, most Centrum vitamin supplements fail to provide enough of many of the vitamins and minerals you need during pregnancy, particularly folic acid, iron and calcium. They also may provide too much of other vitamins or minerals. For example, the original Centrum vitamin supplements contain 3,500 IU of vitamin A. While this is less than the UL of vitamin A during pregnancy, it is well above the RDA. If you were to consume large amounts of vitamin A through your diet, the amount of vitamin A in this Centrum vitamin supplement could bring your overall consumption over the UL. Some Centrum vitamins also contain supplemental ingredients, such as ginseng and ginkgo biloba, which have not been proven safe for use during pregnancy. Because of this, you should avoid taking Centrum vitamins during pregnancy.

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