Green supplements are a staple of many people's diets. Those who choose to consume green powders and green superfoods generally boost vitamins, minerals, folic acid, and other essential nutrients their diets may lack. And that boost is necessary when you consider that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report only 1 in 10 adults eats enough vegetables and fruits.
Still, the Mayo Clinic advises that pregnant women should think twice before taking green supplements, greens powders, spirulina powder, and other superfoods to support their energy levels and immune systems as they carry their infants to term. This may seem odd at first. After all, studies show that pregnant women with poor diets have higher rates of negative outcomes, including miscarriages, illness, and premature births. It can also lead to their children having lower IQs, slow language, and decreased motor refinement skills.
The problem is that some—not all—green superfood powders are not safe for pregnant women, because they’re more susceptible to food-borne diseases. Complications from powders that are made with ingredients that aren’t rigorously monitored run the gamut from relatively simple issues, such as an upset stomach, to severe conditions, including a miscarriage. The CDC notes that food-borne illnesses can impact a fetus even if its mother does not feel ill.
This is why it’s important for pregnant women to educate themselves about these green powders and discuss any possible choices with a healthcare professional.
But what about green veggies, particularly leafy greens? Are these safe to consume during a pregnancy?
There are many leafy greens that are generally healthy for everyone, including pregnant women, to eat. Some of the top choices include broccoli, spinach, and kale. Add these leafy greens to omelets, casseroles, and other dishes in your diet and you can feel confident these cooked vegetables are safe.
But there’s a catch. Improperly grown, washed, handled, and processed vegetables and fruits may carry food-borne illnesses when eaten raw. Washing vegetables (and fruits) does not always rid those foods of contaminants from soil, irrigation water, and even processing and packing facilities. That's especially true of leafy greens, whether you eat them at home or they’re used in a supplement.
The problem is that not eating enough fruits and vegetables can lead to health issues. Such diet deficiencies contribute to 7 of the top 10 leading causes of death in the U.S., according to the CDC.
For pregnant women, maintaining a healthy diet that includes plenty of vegetables can help to avoid complications such as gestational diabetes. Plus, it may help to reduce the risk of anemia, high blood pressure, and other medical issues.
Replacing unhealthy foods with high-quality vegetables and fruits on a consistent basis can also ensure infants are healthier when they’re born and later in life. Pregnant women who excessively eat "empty calories" may produce LGA (large for gestational age) children. An LGA child is more prone to birth injuries, lung problems, risk of adult obesity, increased risk of heart disease, and hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).
Generally, yes, high-quality green powders are safe. We would be remiss if we didn’t remind you that it’s vital for pregnant women to check with their doctors before they take any green powders or dietary supplements.
It seems that a green supplement is a simple solution to deficiencies in individuals' diets. A green superfood is especially helpful for those who want to consume more micronutrients, including vitamins A, B, C, D, and K—all of which are vital for pregnant women. The issue of safety comes down to quality in everything from growing conditions, to processing, washing, handling, and transporting the ingredients that become the green powder.
When you shop for a quality green supplement, consider choosing supplements that contain the best organic veggies. Research the supplement, so you know the precise ingredients it contains. Then, go a step beyond that and double-check the food handling and processing systems the manufacturer has in place.
If you are unsure about what to look for, consider this CDC chart on various ways foods can become contaminated. It includes information you may not have considered, such as the freshness of the water or ice used to wash, pack, or chill the produce. You can also refer to the manufacturer's website and contact them with any questions you may have.
The answer to whether a pregnant woman should take greens powder or other supplements depends on many factors. All dietary supplement manufacturers use various ingredients, handling, and processing procedures. That can lead to significant differences, even among batches by the same manufacturer.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) monitors dietary supplements but allows companies that manufacture them to serve as their own watchdogs on ingredients, quality, and consistency among batches. There have been cases where investigators found heavy metals and other contaminants in some brands’ dietary supplements, for example.
Specific health profiles also play a role in the appropriateness of taking a supplement while pregnant. There are other concerns about green powders (and other dietary supplements), which include possible drug interactions, allergic reactions, side effects, and overdoses. One example is that it is possible for pregnant women to "overdose" on vitamins A, D, E, and K. Such overdoses can threaten the mother and baby’s life.
Picking a green supplement doesn’t have to be difficult. The bottom line is that you should thoroughly research the company that manufactures the product and also speak to your physician about any concerns or thoughts you may have.
One reason Brightcore Nutrition products are so popular is that the company takes dozens of extra steps to ensure the use of the best ingredients, which are handled and processed safely. Our supplements are produced in the United States, and all the facilities are FDA inspected and certified by the Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP). Our Sweet Wheat® supplement is nutritionally dense wheatgrass juice powder that’s also available in capsule form. Plus, it’s certified organic, rich in antioxidants, and alkalizing to help with acidic issues you may experience.