Frequently Asked Questions

Is this a Prenatal Multi-Vitamin

This is NOT a substitute for a prenatal multivitamin. Please take Diet Standards Prenatal DHA in addition to a Prenatal Multivitamin.

Think of it this way:

  • Not Pregnant = “Multivitamin + Fish Oil”
  • Pregnant = “Prenatal Vitamin + Prenatal DHA”

When you see “Prenatal” it’s usually referring to a “Prenatal Multivitamin”. When you see “Prenatal DHA” it’s usually referring to an Omega-3 Fatty Acid supplement like this one.

You need to take both for optimal health and fetal development.

Prenatal Multivitamins (often shortened to “Prenatal”) are basically the same as a non-pregnancy multivitamin, but with very minor formulation changes such as increased folic acid, iron, and calcium. A prenatal multivitamin covers your micronutrient needs such as Vitamin A, Vitamin B, Magnesium, Biotin, Copper, Zinc, etc… Prenatal Multivitamins usually do NOT contain any Omega-3 fatty acids.

Diet Standards Prenatal DHA is NOT a multivitamin. It is an Omega-3 fatty acid supplement similar to a non-pregnancy fish oil, except with very minor formulation changes such as an increased DHA to EPA ratio. It does not contain any other vitamins, so you should take it in addition to your normal prenatal multivitamin.

 

Why is Algae Oil Different from Fish Oil

There are two different sources for DHA and EPA supplementation: Fish and Algae.

Algae Food Chain
Image from: Mary Beth Smith Lecture on Ecology and Population Growth. This image shows a simplified ocean food chain.

The marine food chain actually starts at algae. Algae are the “primary producer” which are then consumed by other organisms. Finally, much higher up the food chain are large fish, krill, squid, and apex predators.

By the time you get up the chain to fish, these animals have accrued DHA and EPA stores in their fat due to having directly or indirectly eaten algae.

Most people immediately think of fish oil when they consider a DHA supplement. But there are a number of problems with fish oil supplements:

  • Spoilage – Fish oil can spoil or go “rancid”. This happens even faster when the oil is heated and cooled during transport and storage. Various antioxidants are usually added to counteract this, but rancid fish oil is still much more common than you might think.
  • Contaminants – Fish can collect heavy metals such as Mercury and Lead as well as pollutants such as PCBs and Dioxins in their fatty tissue. Algae can be grown in a clean environment free of these pollutants.
  • Overfishing – Global peak fishing occurred in 1996 and some experts are saying current fishing levels are unsustainable.(28) The United Nations reported that fully 2/3 of the world’s fish are either depleted or fully exploited.(29) Algae are farmed in simple systems on land and actually absorb CO2 and produce oxygen as a byproduct of their production. No fish need to be harvested to produce algae oil, and carbon impact of algae cultivation can actually be negative!
  • Environmental Impact – One 120 calorie serving of fish actually requires 207 calories of diesel fuel to catch it.(28) Not to mention the impact on human time, capital, and resources needed to capture the fish and transport it to a processing facility. In contrast, algae is grown in a simple water system that takes significantly fewer resources to cultivate. An algae farm powered by renewable energy would be 100% sustainable and require zero fossil fuels.
  • Vegetarians/Vegans – Algae oils are plant-based supplements that can be consumed by people who cannot eat animals.
  • Taste & Smell – Many fish oils have a “fishy” taste and cause the dreaded “fish burps”. Algae oils do not have these problems. Because of the taste and smell issues, almost all baby formulas supplemented with DHA use algae oil instead of fish oil.

 

Algae-based sources of DHA and EPA are far superior to fish oil and krill oil.

The problem is the marketplace has not caught up to the technology and many supplement manufacturers still use fish oil. Fish oil is easier to source and can be cheaper to purchase. But that does not make it better.

When looking for a DHA Supplement, try to find one sourced from Algae.

 

Are there any allergens (gluten, dairy, nuts, etc…) in Prenatal DHA?

Diet Standards Prenatal DHA is free of Gluten, Milk, and many other common allergens. If you have an allergy, please read through the allergen documents (posted on this page) carefully before taking this product.

 

Do the Prenatal DHA softgels need to be refrigerated or just stored at room temperature?

You can store them at room temperature, but I highly recommend storing them in the refrigerator instead.

Any polyunsaturated fatty acid stores best at lower temperatures. If you look in my fridge, I’ve got Flaxseed Oil, Prenatal DHA, Olive Oil, and even Avocado Oil all refrigerated. Of course the Olive Oil and Avocado oil need to be thawed before use. But the Prenatal DHA can be consumed straight from the refrigerator.

Oh, another cool tip. Try chewing the softgels. Not only is it way more fun than swallowing more pills, after a few times your body will recognize the calories in the oil and start to really enjoy the taste of them.

 

I noticed “Seaweed Extract” listed on the label. What is it? Is it safe?

Seaweed Extract is Carrageenan. It has been used safely in the food industry since the fifteenth Century. This Seaweed Extract replaces animal-based Gelatin so that we can offer Vegan Softgels.

One important note is that there are two distinct types of Carrageenan: Degraded and Undegraded. The Degraded type is also known as “polygeenan”. Degraded Polygeenan is an industrial chemical that is not food safe. You may have seen the scientific study that linked degraded polygeenan to inflammation and cancer in lab animals.

It’s important to note that we use only food-grade Undegraded Carrageenan. This type of carrageenan was confirmed safe by an independent international panel of expert scientists at the 57th meeting of the World Health Organization and United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.

For details, you can read the full Carrageenan Report here:
https://dietstandards.com/wp-content/uploads/Carrageenan-Information-Issues.pdf

Most of our competitors use cheaper Gelatin in their softgels. We feel Seaweed Extract (Carrageenan) is a better alternative than ground up animal parts from slaughterhouses.

 

Are there any animal products in Diet Standards Prenatal DHA?

No.

Diet Standards does not use any animal products in our Prenatal DHA.

Most competing products are made from dead fish (fish oil) and the extracted remains of slaughterhouse animals (gelatin).

Diet Standards Prenatal DHA is made from algae oil and the polysaccharide extract of edible seaweed.

 

Is too much DHA harmful?

It is very hard to take too much DHA. It’s been shown that women that take upwards of 1200 mg and more of DHA a day still have no negative effects during pregnancy.

The Food and Drug Administration have determined that up to 3,000 mg of DHA/EPA per day from all sources (diet + supplements) is generally considered safe for most adults.

That said, arbitrarily taking mega-doses of Omega-3 is not necessarily better. In fact, way too much Omega-3 can have just as many side effects as too little. Remember the “Goldilocks Principle” when taking supplements. You want the dosage to be “Just Right”. Not too much and not too little.

Of course, always talk to your doctor about all supplements you take. This goes double if you have specific health problems.

 

Should I take Prenatal DHA while breast feeding?

Yes!

In fact, your baby needs DHA just as much (if not more) during breastfeeding as during pregnancy.

We highly recommend taking the same dosage during lactation. Do NOT stop taking the product when you give birth.

 

Can I take this product if I’m not pregnant.

Absolutely.

We have 20 year old men who lift weights taking this stuff. We also have 70 year old grandmothers taking it. Diet Standards Prenatal DHA is safe for anyone.

If you take a fish oil product, then Diet Standards Prenatal DHA is perfect for you. Don’t let the “Prenatal” label turn you off.

 

Are there any allergens (gluten, dairy, nuts, etc…) in Prenatal DHA?

Diet Standards Prenatal DHA is free of Gluten, Milk, and many other common allergens.
(If you have an allergy, please read through the allergen documents (posted on this page) carefully before taking this product.)

Do I need to take Diet Standard’s Prenatal DHA on an empty stomach or with food?

DHA  is better absorbed in the body when taken with a meal. Plus taking any pills (even small softgels) without food can cause stomach pain for some people.

While we recommend taking Prenatal DHA with a meal, you can also take it without food.

You can either spread the dosage out several times per day or take it all at once. Your choice.

 

How much DHA should I be taking?

The National Institutes of Health recommends that women consume at least 300mg of DHA daily during pregnancy and lactation. Some studies show the average female intake in North America is only 39-59mg of DHA daily.

We recommend you consume 3 softgels of Prenatal DHA daily, for a total of 450mg DHA.

 

I missed a dose, should I take twice as much next time?

Nah. If you miss a dose, forget about it and continue normal dosing the next day.

Prenatal DHA is not harmful at double or more of the normal dosage. But we don’t recommend playing “catch up”. It’s a silly game. Just fix the problem going forward.

 

How does Diet Standard’s Prenatal DHA compare to other over-the-counter DHA products?

Diet Standards Prenatal DHA derives it’s DHA directly from the source, algae. Most Prenatal DHAs on the market get their DHA from fish. Fish have a higher level of mercury and heavy metals.

Mercury has been shown to have negative effects on the human body, not to mention a unborn baby which is especially sensitive to toxins.

 

Why doesn’t Prenatal DHA have EPA any more?

Our previous supplier literally ran out of product. They were a global Fortune 500 company and could not produce enough algae oil with EPA.

We had to switch suppliers and they only thing we could find was DHA algae oil. If you have any leads on sourcing EPA algae oil I’d be very interested. We contacted hundreds of companies and couldn’t find any.

That said, the body can retro-convert DHA to EPA. That’s why we have the dosage at 450mg of DHA, when the recommended daily amount is 300mg. The extra 150mg of DHA is to provide a source of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid to convert into DHA.

The most important omega-3 for fetal development is by far DHA. The EPA was nice to have, and if we can find a supplier we can add it back in. But it’s by no means required.

If you’re looking to optimize prenatal supplementation I’d recommend the following:

– Find a really good prenatal multivitamin

– Add 2 grams of flaxseed oil daily

– Take the 3 softgels of Diet Standards Prenatal DHA daily

– Get one of those 7-day pill holders so you remember to take all supplements daily. It doesn’t count if it doesn’t physically get into the body.

– Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and nuts

– Eat 1 gram per pound of bodyweight of protein. Use 1.2 grams per pound for vegetarians and vegans.

 

Why is Diet Standards Prenatal DHA better?

The majority of Omega-3 products are derived from fish.

Fish Oil has major problems:
– High heavy metal content (Mercury, Lead, Cadmium, Arsenic) in many fish species
– Fish populations are dwindling and commercial fishing is unsustainable
– Softgels are typically made with animal-derived gelatin

Not to mention…fish burps are gross!

Our products are derived from Algae Oil instead. It contains the same Omega-3 DHA, but without all the downsides of traditional fish oil.

We have a mission here at Diet Standards. Our goal is to become the #1 producer of Omega-3 products in the world. This way we can drive out inferior fish-derived products with clean algae oil.

 

I was reading an article that said not to take too much Rosemary Extract during pregnancy, but I noticed that there is Rosemary Extract in Diet Standards Prenatal DHA. What’s the deal here?

Rosemary Extract is used in small quantities as a natural antioxidant. Our current algae oil supplier states that they use less than 1% in the algae oil. Our old algae oil supplier was more specific at 0.3% by wt.

That puts a one-day supply of Prenatal DHA (3 softgels and 1,125mg total Algae Oil) at 4 to 12mg of total Rosemary Extract.

To say the amount in this product is “negligible” would be an understatement. In fact, based on Rosemary Extract’s low use level in Diet Standards Prenatal DHA, it’s considered a processing aide in the finished product, which does not require even require it to be shown on the label.

Within the Unites States (US) rosemary extracts have received a GRAS status (21 CFR 182.20) which has also been affirmed by the US FDA. Rosemary extract is also listed in FDA’s Everything Added to Food (US) database. The use of rosemary extract has a general recognition of safety and can be used in specific foods, including dietary supplements. Rosemary extract is classified as a natural flavor by the FDA 21 CFR 101.22

90-day rat feeding studies using Rosemary Extracts were shown as safe using amounts in the range of 180-400mg extract/kg body weight/day.

For a 120 pound woman, this would be the equivalent of taking 9,818mg-21,818mg Rosemary Extract per day.

How many softgels would you need to reach to match the safety level shown in that study?

2,454 Softgels.

That’s 13.6 bottles of Diet Standards Prenatal DHA taken in one day. If you could somehow even stomach that many algae oil softgels, you would still be at the bottom end of the safe range shown in the above study.

How safe is Rosemary Extract during pregnancy?

The European Food Safety Authority notes “The toxicological data on the rosemary extracts are insufficient to establish a numerical ADI [adequate daily intake], because the toxicity data set does not provide reproductive toxicity studies or a long term study. On the other hand, the existing data, including the absence of effects in the 90-day studies on reproductive organs and lack of genotoxicity, do not give reason for concern. ”

The same research paper goes on to state “Based on the margins of safety identified, the Panel concluded that the use of rosemary extracts at the proposed uses and use levels would not be of safety concern.”

You can read the full European Food Safety Authority research report regarding use of Rosemary Extracts as a food additive here: http://www.efsa.europa.eu/sites/default/files/scientific_output/files/main_documents/721.pdf

We recommend NOT supplementing with medicinal amounts of any herb (including Rosemary Extract) without talking to your doctor. The key here is AMOUNT. Always remember the old adage “the dose makes the poison”.

4 to 12 milligrams of Rosemary Extract in a dietary supplement is 100% safe.

Eating 100,000+ milligrams by consuming several whole rosemary plants straight from the garden? Well, that’s probably not a good idea. Use common sense here.