Thursday, May 31, 2012
Is Shakeology safe when I’m pregnant or nursing?
A lot of people ask if it’s safe to consume Shakeology when they are pregnant or nursing. While I appreciate when moms are careful about what they eat when they’re eating for two -or more- I can’t help but wonder if they asked the same question about processed foods with dyes and preservatives. Or meat that includes the infamous “pink slime.” Eeeeww! And although I’m not a medical professional or nutritionist, I have researched the topics extensively. So if you aren’t interested in the details, and just want the short answer: Yes. Shakeology is safe for pregnant and nursing moms and their babies–unless the mom has a sensitivity or allergy to an ingredient. So for those who just want the short answer, you don’t have to read any further, but you should :)
For nerds like me, here are more of the nitty gritty details. It’s important to note that only 6% of all physicians in the US receive formal nutrition training (statistic quoted from the film “Food Matters”) and many do not learn about breastfeeding, either. Women have told me that their doctor told them Shakeology is not safe for pregnancy due to the amount of vitamin A in it. This tells me that the doctor is only partially educated on the matter. It is true that high amounts of vitamin A in the form of retinol–which is preformed vitamin A from animal sources–have been correlated to birth defects. However, the vitamin A in Shakeology is in the form of plant-based beta carotene, which converts to vitamin A in the body. No studies at all have suggested that beta carotene has any correlation to birth defects. The rate of conversion of beta carotene to vitamin A is drastically reduced when higher amounts are ingested, preventing toxicity and teratogenicity. The Teratology Society concluded that beta carotene is not a teratogen (substance that causes birth defects) according to an excellent article by the Illinois Teratogen Information Service.
Shakeology is made from all natural ingredients, none of which are contraindicated for pregnancy or breastfeeding. Check out this video about where the ingredients come from. You should always seek advice from a medical care provider, however–based on the fact that most have not had formal nutrition training, it is important to do your own research as well. Ask lots of questions and find out the reasons for any medical advice you receive. It is important to remember that doctors do not always agree on what’s best, and they are advisors, not the ultimate decision maker. You are the only one in charge of your body, your baby and the health of both of you!