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Vitamins & Minerals

Essential vitamins and minerals for preconception

Calcium

Sources

Obtained from milk, milk products, tinned fish including whole sardines, cashew nuts, brazil nuts, carob, rhubarb, beans and pulses, green vegetables particularly spinach. Best taken with vitamins A, C, D, essential fatty acids, iron, magnesium and phosphorus.

Benefits
Promotes strong and healthy bone production. Controls blood clotting mechanisms and proper nerve and muscle function. During the first trimester, bone density tends to diminish therefore it is important to increase levels prior to conceiving. Recommended during labour to ease pain when used in conjunction with vitamin D.   

Chromium

Sources
Found in Brewer’s yeast, black pepper, liver, wholegrains, wheatgerm, vegetables, butter, beer, molasses.

Benefits
Needed for the regulation of the glucose and the synthesis of fatty acids and cholesterol. Research indicates that deficiency may be linked to heart disease. Chromium is not always easily absorbed though it can be readily lost.

Cobalt

Sources
Green leafy vegetables, meats, brewers yeast, seafood, nuts, fruits and wholegrains.

Benefits
An essential part of vitamin B12 for the normal functioning of cells, especially red blood cells. Deficiency is associated with slow growth and goitre.

Copper

Sources
Found in brazil nuts, organ meats, dried legumes, dried stone fruits, green vegetables. Best taken with cobalt, iron and zinc.

Benefits
Helps brain development, bones, nerves and connective tissue. It is involved in many enzyme systems and essential in the production of RNA. Copper deficiency is rare and copper in excess can be toxic.

Folic Acid

Sources
B vitamin also known as folate. Found in green leafy vegetables such as spinach, watercress, silverbeet, kale and broccoli, asparagus, green beans, fortified breakfast cereals, wholegrains, oranges, meat and potatoes. Recommended supplement: 500mcg.

Benefits
Significantly helps reduce the risk of spinal deformity such as spina bifida by 70 per cent and reduces the incidence of cleft lip or palate. Aids in the production of blood cells and haemoglobin. Can also help reduce your risk of developing heart disease, colon cancer and cervical cancer.

Iodine

Sources
Found in water, iodised salt, watercress, onions, kelp, shellfish, mushrooms and dark leafy green vegetables.

Benefits
Necessary for growth, mental and physical development and maintenance of health. Deficiency in pregnancy can result in cretinism in children, a congenital disease with mental and physical retardation.

Iron

Sources
Found in fish, meat, lentils, beans, nuts, dark molasses, eggs, green leafy vegetables, seaweed, kelp, fortified cereals, wholegrains, dried fruit especially apricots, raisins, prunes, parsley, nettle tea. (Avoid liver as contains high Vitamin A content).Extra iron is often prescribed during pregnancy if you are iron-deficient (anaemic). Check with your doctor.

Benefits
Essential in production of red blood cells. During pregnancy this volume increases by a third to nourish you and the developing baby. If your blood does not contain enough haemoglobin, insufficient oxygen will be carried to your baby. Warning signs may be tiredness and pallid colour.

Magnesium

Sources
Found in cereals, nuts, soya beans and soy products, milk, fish and meat.

Benefits
Can help is preventing muscle cramp. Often levels of this mineral are low in pregnant women.

Manganese

Sources
Found in nuts, wholegrains, seeds, leafy greens, egg, liver, parsley, thyme, cloves, ginger. Best taken with vitamins B1, E, calcium, phosphorus.

Benefits
Needed for numerous enzyme reactions, formation of thyroxine, bone growth, fat metabolism, nerve function, and blood clotting.

Nickel

Sources
Found in soybeans, lentils, nuts, buckwheat, grains, vegetables, kelp.

Benefits
Is found in RNA and DNA and in all tissues and fluids. Deficiencies have been linked with reproductive failures and growth problems.

Phosphorus

Sources
Whole grains, breads, cereals, meat, fish, poultry, eggs, seeds, and nuts. Best taken with vitamins A, D, EFA, calcium, iron, manganese and protein.

Benefits
Is the second most abundant mineral in the body and is found in every cell. Plays a part in almost every chemical reaction in the body including metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and fats, in muscle and nerve function, digestion, kidney function and skeletal growth.

Potassium

Sources
Wheatgerm, wholegrains, vegetables, fruits and nuts. Best taken with vitamin B6 and sodium.

Benefits
Needed to regulate blood pH and proper nerve function. Helps maintain the fluid balance in the body and is necessary for growth. A deficiency may cause headaches, water retention, irregular heartbeat, bone and joint pain, constipation, cramping, irritability and insomnia. It may be linked to poor sperm mobility. Deficiency may cause abnormality in the kidneys of the developing foetus.

Selenium

Sources
Found in butter, smoked herring, brazil nuts, wheatgerm, wholegrains, garlic, breast milk. More effective when taken with vitamin E.

Benefits
Powerful anti-oxidant that helps prevent chromosomal damage associated with birth defects and cancers. Helps the body fight infection. Useful during preconception to detoxify the liver.

Silicon

Sources
Wholegrains, wholemeal bread, alfalfa, vegetables, water.

Benefits
Crucial in the formation of connective tissues, bones, the placenta, arteries and skin.

Vitamins B6 & B12

Sources
B6 from fish, egg yolk, avocados, seeds, bananasB12 from eggs, dairy products, meat, fish, vegemite and some breakfast cereals.

Benefits
Vitamin B12 assists in the production of genetic material DNA and works with folic acid in preventing neural tube defects.

Vitamin C

Sources
Found in fresh fruit and vegetables particularly kiwifruit, citrus fruits. Recommended: 1000mg daily.

Benefits
Vital in helping your body to absorb iron.Boosts your immune system and aids growth and repair.

Vitamin D

Sources
The body synthesises Vitamin D from exposure to sunlight. Dietary sources include eggs, milk, and oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, trout, and herring.

Benefits
Assists in absorption of calcium and aids in building healthy bones.

Water

Sources
Recommended 2 litres daily. Add squeeze of fresh lemon or grapefruit for taste.

Benefits
Vitally important to maintain hydration and overall body health. Improves skin, lowers risk of constipation, cystitis, and water retention, all of which are common during pregnancy.

Zinc

Sources
Found in high fibre foods, brazil nuts, seeds, herring, meat, parmesan and other hard cheeses.

Benefits
Zinc is one of the first supplements recommended for fertility problems. It is an important component of semen and deficiency in males is linked to a low sperm count and is thought to produce sperm that are too weak to penetrate the egg. Deficiency is common and can also lead to miscarriage, growth retardation in the uterus, long labour, stillbirth and congenital handicap. It is also necessary for strong muscle contraction.




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