December 2018

Gwyneth Paltrow's prenatal supplements under scrutiny for safety concerns: what you should know

The Mother Load, a prenatal vitamin supplement developed by Gwyneth Paltrow’s brand Goop, is getting a lot of bad press. The controversy is all about its vitamin A content. Some are claiming that it contains a dangerous amount of vitamin A and can be unsafe for an unborn baby. So does it really deserve all of this negative press?

Possibly, but not because of the vitamin A. Taking less than 10,000 IU of preformed vitamin A daily is safe for pregnant women. Taking larger amounts of preformed vitamin A has been linked to birth defects. While this is definitely a valid concern, the recommended daily dose of The Mother Load contains only 5,500 IU of vitamin A, of which only 1,500 IU is the preformed form. So people taking this vitamin in the recommended amount are unlikely to get too much vitamin A.

The real cause for concern with this product is the price. It costs $75-90 for a 30-day supply. You can buy products containing essentially the same vitamins for $24 for a 90-day supply at Walmart, CVS, or other retailers. Remind patients that it’s important to look at what’s actually in the vitamin product that they are taking. Just because something costs more or is glamorized by a celebrity doesn’t mean it’s better.

For more information on what to look for in prenatal vitamins, check out our CE/CME on Natural Medicines Use During Pregnancy and Lactation. Also, review our chart, Pregnancy: Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) for Vitamins and Minerals.

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