Vitamins are the organic substances that are required in small amounts for the normal health, development, reproduction, and maintenance and they must be incorporated in the diet since they cannot be manufactured at all or in abundant quantity in the human body. During pregnancy, it should be ensured that this necessary requirement of vitamins is attained through the consumption of natural foods as rich vitamin sources. The best source of vitamins during pregnancy is healthy organic diet but not the vitamin supplements.
It has been found that petroleum derivatives, coal tar products and hydrogenated sugars are used to process most vitamin supplements. Even though if these lab-created vitamin supplements are claimed to be natural, they are not natural and contain many synthetic additives. Contrary to the vitamins present in natural foods which are not crystalline and never isolated, vitamins in man-made supplements are crystalline in nature. Non-natural lab-created prenatal vitamins are structurally and chemically different from the vitamins present in natural foods.
Many prenatal vitamin supplements contain certain additives and preservatives that might do more harm than good. Some prenatal vitamins contains Red-40 which is a dye used to color the product pink. Several studies have suggested that Red 40 is a hazardous food dye that increases the risk of development of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in children. It has been proposed that prenatal exposure to Red 40 may induce behavioral and learning disturbances in children. Based on certain studies, it can also be assumed that red 40 present in certain prenatal vitamin supplements may lead to the development of ADHD in children. Some animal studies suggest that Red 40 may promote tumor cell growth as well but this possible adverse effect of red 40 among humans is not scientifically proven. Presently, there is no scientific evidence that proves the harmful effects of consuming red 40 during pregnancy and this area is still under research. However, the safety of products containing red 40 and especially their consumption during pregnancy is definitely doubtful.
The natural vitamins present in real foods are present in many forms (except vitamin C which exist only as ascorbic acid). For example, Vitamin E exist in 8 forms (4 different types of tocopherols and 4 difeerent types of tocotreinols) and Vitamin D exist in 5 forms (Vitamin D1, D2 (ergocalciferol), D3 (cholecalciferol), D4 (22-dihydroergocalciferol) and Vitamin D5 (sitocalciferol). Synthetic man-made vitamins have only the isolated forms of these vitamins and they do not provide the whole range of nutrients required by human body. Such isolated vitamin forms present in supplements are difficult to be assimilated by the body and they are either stored until you acquire or generate the nutrients required to use them or else they are excreted. These natural forms of vitamins have co-factors and transporters associated with them which are only present in natural food sources and are lacking in lab created supplements.
Vitamins in supplements are present in more concentrated form as compared to the vitamins in natural foods. Such potent forms of vitamins are more dangerous to human health as the concentration required by the body might differ. Also, the absorption of natural vitamins in foods is better and they are more likely to be retained by the body as compared to synthetic vitamins. So, natural food sources providing high quality vitamins are the best to suffice the requirement of essential vitamins during the prenatal period.