Friday, January 04, 2008

How About a Little Artificial Coloring with Your Folic Acid?

I've been taking the prenatal vitamins recommended by my doctor for about 3 years now, ever since I became pregnant with my first son. I take the Kaiser brand prenatal vitamins, which are manufactured by Kaiser, the HMO that I belong to. I've always felt that I am keeping my baby safe, both prenatally and while breastfeeding, by taking my vitamins every day. I also feel that I am safeguarding my own health by getting the extra vitamins, especially the calcium.

Then, this morning, I happened to take a longer look at the ingredients in my vitamins. Until today, I had somehow missed the "other ingredients" category. But there, in fine print, at the bottom of the bottle are all the other ingredients I've been ingesting with my daily vitamin dosage - including FD&C Yellow #6, FD&C Red #40 and FD&C Blue #1, which are man-made and derived primarily from petroleum and coal sources.

Yep, I've been giving my children healthy doses of artificial coloring while in utero and through my breastmilk all this time.

I'm sure there's a really good reason why there's artificial coloring in my prenatal vitamins. I just can't think of a reason right now.

Hopefully, it will come to me. But I doubt it.

So, WTF Kaiser? Do you have an answer for why you are manufacturing prenatal vitamins with artifical colors? And can you please assure me that these aren't the same artificial colors that some people say cause cancer in animal studies? My children, born and unborn, would like to know. Thanks.


Since posting yesterday, I have decided to stick to this blog instead of starting a new one. Mainly, because I'm a lazy SOB (to steal the eloquent words of two shews) and secondly, because well, everyone and their mother told me to stay here so I'm doing as I'm told. I'm staying put. :)


Blogger Damselfly said...

EW! How come I didn't knew food coloring came from petroleum?!

8:05 PM  
Blogger lildb said...


I took the same effing vitamins. 'cause the ones from our local health food store made me S.I.C.K.


*hi-fives C*

9:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent news! about staying put, not the artificial coloring. If they should put something artificial in prenatals it should be something to block the smell. Not the color :)

5:55 AM  
Blogger Green Bean said...

I started reading ingredients when my oldest was diagnosed with food allergies. When you pay attention, it's really scary what we all ingest - most so when it involves something that is supposed to help babies develop in the safety of their mother's womb.

Glad you are staying put, MOTR. You have a lot of loyal readers and enlightening stuff to share. :)

8:11 AM  
Blogger Andrea said...

I took those through my 1st pregnancy and BF too! Well, at least they are a really lovely shade of orange. Cuz we would have been ourtaged had they been brown.

1:11 PM  
Blogger Lisa~Crazy Adventures in Parenting said...

check out to find out more. Scary stuff. We're all organic/natural now.

btw, tagged you on my blog ;)

10:32 PM  
Blogger Julie Pippert said...

This is why I avoid vitamins from pharmaceutical companies and stick to places such as New Chapter or Shaklee, who use careful processing and organic ingredients.

It's disturbing on so many levels, what they can use and how they can make it.

But would regulation help?

After all, the FDA decided rBGH didn't have a negative effect on humans.

Glad you are staying put. :)

8:02 AM  
Blogger Mommeee said...

Colors are added because pills are distinguished from each other by their look. I know this won't make you feel better, but it's a sad truth.

9:19 AM  
Blogger Mommy off the Record said...

If they have to color them to distinguish them from each other, then why don't they use natural coloring instead of using artificial coloring? I guess it must be easier or cheaper to use the artificial coloring.

7:23 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Happy to hear you are staying put.

I never really looked at the ingredients of a vitamin pill. But that's really freaking scarey.

When my son was diagnosed with sensory issues, I had to wonder if it was the food I had ingested during pregnancy and afterwards. And now that he may have ADD issues, I'm wondering about it all the more. Have slowly been going organic over the past year because it truly is scarey -- what manufacturers sneak into our foods.

8:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of reasons food dye is used in vitamins is to protect them from damage by light. The compounds within degrade when exposed to light and the dye "coating" helps to prevent that. Now whether or not natural dyes are just as effective I don't know.

11:23 PM  
Blogger Mommy off the Record said...

Sorry, anonymous, but I'm pretty sure there is a natural way to make sure the vitamins don't "degrade" by the light. Anyway, not sure how much light they get sitting in a bottle (??).

I'm really shocked that people can defend putting carcinogenic ingredients like artificial food coloring in a prenatal vitamin. It boggles my mind!

BTW, I have found several brands of prenatals that don't have artificial food coloring in them so apparently it's possible to market a vitamin without it.

12:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm TTC and after taking my prenatals for almost a year, I finally received a bottle from the pharmacy that contained the list of ingredients. (side note: I've been trying to get the ingredients to my prenatals for a while on the internet and could not find them) To my surprise, I saw that they had artificial colors. All this time I've been trying to eat organic and reduce my intake of artificial colors, flavors, etc. to prepare my body for pregnancy and my vitamins are giving me what I am trying to avoid! I called my GYN and I was further surprised to see that she did not have any alternatives that did not contain artificial colors! Glad to see that I'm not the only one who is outraged by what's in prenatals.

7:18 PM  
Blogger Shilpi said...

I was shocked to find color in my prenatals.. I am not sure what to do.. I called by gyn and she said its safe.. But my heart doesnt beliee it.. Anyone has suggestions on OTC prenatals without color?

7:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pregnant for the first time. Unfortunately, all the ones on the shelves either have artificial dyes or they are natural and have herbs that I'm not quite comfortable with. I asked to see the ingredients at Target Pharmacy and Walgreens and all the generics have them. :( I'm currently taking extra folic acid, DHA and continuing to take my multi until I find a good prenatal. Not having any luck since I've already been to the local natural grocery store and WholeFoods. It seems like I'm going to have to compromise on something, which feels unacceptable to me.

3:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are prenatals that don't have the artificial dyes - CitraNatal for example. Ask you doc for a handful of samples of each then read the ingredients.

6:42 AM  

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