B-vitamins and maternal wellness

The following article is a REPRINT for those who may not have read about folate.

Folate is a B-vitamin that has been advised for use in women who are pregnant or lactating.  The absence of sufficient folate is shown to be an early predictor of postpartum depression.  Folate is also thought to be an effective complement to antidepressant medications

Folate is a water-soluble B vitamin that occurs naturally in food. Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate that is found in supplements and added to fortified foods.  Folate helps produce and maintain new cells. This is especially important during periods of rapid cell division and growth such as infancy and pregnancy. Folate is needed to make DNA and RNA, the building blocks of cells.

This special nutrient is one of the B complex vitamins, which are essential for optimal adrenal function and for supporting mitochondrial energy production.  B complex is also responsible for a number of conversion functions and cycles in the brain.  It is essential in combating stress, yet in times of high stress the body uses B vitamins much more quickly. 

So, what is the best way to ensure enough B complex?  B-vitamins can be injected, swallowed or taken sublingually, (under the tongue).  A swallowed pill is not as bioavailable as an injection or sublingual form.  A pill travels through the digestive system and is exposed to the digestive process and stomach acids, and its absorption is reliant on the health of the colon and the presence of other nutrients.

A sublingual B-vitamin can be used by placing drops under the tongue and held for a few minutes, allowing the vitamin to absorb into the bloodstream.  This helps the body adjust to the stresses of new motherhood and also replenishes reserves depleted by pregnancy.  Various books listing therapeutic dosages are listed here.   


Mothers with breastfeeding issues, such as low milk supply should avoid using B-6 vitamins.  Call your healthcare provider, lactation consultant or La Leche League (http://www.llli.org/).


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