Pregnant women need to prioritize their health and be mindful of their diet because the health and well-being of the baby depend on the mother's health and nutrient intake. Healthcare providers usually recommend avoiding drugs and supplements in pregnancy unless it is necessary, as some drugs and chemicals can harm your developing baby.
Consult with your doctor if you are pregnant and want to take longevity supplements.
The safety of most longevity supplements in pregnancy has not been well established, and more studies are needed.
A healthy diet and lifestyle are recommended to prevent age-related diseases.
Longevity supplements safe for use in pregnancy include vitamin D and magnesium, while supplements like curcumin and resveratrol should generally be avoided.
What are longevity supplements?
As we age, the mechanisms that repair molecular and cellular damage implicated in the aging process decline in efficiency. Aging is associated with a combination of complex health issues known as “geriatric syndrome”. Diseases usually observed in older people include hearing loss, cataracts, osteoarthritis, and dementia.
You cannot stop the aging process, but you can promote healthy aging and avoid or prevent certain diseases like diabetes by leading a balanced lifestyle (including nutrition, exercise, and avoiding tobacco use).
However, some studies have shown that certain compounds can slow the process of aging. These compounds target the biological mechanisms of aging and may promote healthy aging. Longevity supplements are formulated to contain these compounds, which include curcumin, resveratrol, collagen, and more.
Is it safe to take longevity supplements while pregnant?
There is substantial evidence that the maternal diet significantly affects fetal health. Mayo Clinic generally recommends not using herbal and dietary supplements during pregnancy. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) doesn’t have the authority to approve dietary supplements (including those intended for longevity) for safety and efficacy or to approve their labeling before they are sold to the public.
Besides the fact that most supplements have not been extensively researched, they may contain harmful particles like metallic materials, bacteria, or chemicals that could cause harm during pregnancy. However, supplementation may be beneficial in specific individuals, like in the case of deficiencies.
Hence, discussing with your healthcare provider before taking any longevity supplement during pregnancy is strongly advised.
Longevity supplements and pregnancy
Pregnant women may want to augment their diet with longevity supplements to optimize their health and that of their baby. Here are some examples of longevity supplements and information on their safety profile in pregnancy.
Curcumin is a polyphenolic compound with important biological properties obtained from turmeric. It is known for its potent antioxidant properties. In addition, some studies have shown that it has anticancer, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties. It has been demonstrated to influence longevity due to its antioxidant, telomere maintenance, and cellular defense activities.
Limited information on the safety of curcumin in pregnancy is available. Curcumin has been proven in animal models to have beneficial effects. However, it has also been shown to affect embryonic development at some stages.
It is best to avoid curcumin supplements during pregnancy.
Collagen is produced in our body by specialized cells called fibroblasts. It gives elasticity to the skin and is essential for the functioning of the connective tissue, bones, and cartilage. As we age, its production declines, which causes wrinkles and dry skin due to a loss of elasticity.
Research studies on the effect of collagen supplementation in humans showed that it improved the skin's structure and reduced the skin's aging process in the subjects. The researchers observed that the skin became firmer and more hydrated.
A study involving pregnant women aged 19-43 showed that the subjects tolerated collagen supplements well. However, the National Library of Medicine has recommended that collagen peptides (a form of collagen in supplements) be avoided in pregnancy because of the limited availability of reliable information on their safety.
Coenzyme Q10 is produced in the body by body cells and is abundant in body structures such as the heart, pancreas, spleen, liver, adrenal glands, kidneys, and lungs. It acts as an antioxidant and neutralizes free radicals. This helps to boost the immune system and improve cell growth and maintenance.
Although it has not been certified by the FDA to treat any disease, some studies have shown that supplementation with CoQ10 can benefit some age-related diseases. However, there are inadequate large-scale clinical trials to support these claims.
CoQ10 appears to be safe in pregnancy, although its safety has not been well established. Therefore, it is best not to use it to avoid unnecessary risks unless your doctor recommends it for a reason like CoQ10 deficiency.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that supports the absorption and retention of calcium and phosphorus. It offers many health benefits, such as reducing the incidence of certain diseases like multiple sclerosis and boosting the immune system.
As we age, there is a reduction in the production of vitamin D. Older adults need more vitamin D intake due to the risk of osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.
Vitamin D is generally considered safe in pregnancy. The National Institutes of Health recommended a daily intake of 15 mcg (600 IU) during pregnancy.
Resveratrol is a polyphenolic compound present in some plants, such as grapes, red wine, and peanuts. It has been shown to have relevance in longevity by increasing NAD+ and Sirtuin's activity.
There is limited human research, but studies conducted on animals demonstrated that it positively affects age-related diseases.
The safety of resveratrol in pregnancy is not conclusive, and sufficient data from human trials is unavailable. Although it is relatively free of side effects, it is best to stay away from the supplement during pregnancy. Results from a research study suggested that resveratrol may cause abnormalities in the fetus.
Magnesium plays a significant role in maintaining muscle and bone health, enzyme function, immune response, nerve function, and energy production. This crucial mineral can be obtained from foods such as avocado and spinach or taken as supplements. A connection between magnesium levels in the body and aging, as well as other diseases, has been established. Aging is usually associated with magnesium deficiency, which makes supplementation beneficial.
Magnesium may decrease the instances of complications during pregnancy, and it is considered to be generally safe. The recommended daily magnesium intake is 400 mg in pregnant teens and 350-360 mg in pregnant women.
It is recommended to use supplements as directed by your doctor. Higher amounts of supplements can be harmful.
Taking multiple supplements at once can increase your risk of adverse effects and drug interactions. Ensure you inform your healthcare provider of other medications you are taking before adding a new supplement to your diet plan.
If you observe adverse effects while using a supplement, contact your doctor immediately and submit a report to the FDA to help with the post-marketing survey.
There are limited human studies on the safety of longevity supplements in pregnancy. This is because ethics prevent carrying out direct human trials on pregnant women. However, the safety of these products has been assessed in pregnant animals, but the downside is that there is a limitation on the application of the results to humans. Also, many of the trials of longevity supplements are funded by manufacturing companies, and the results may be biased. Supplements like magnesium and vitamin D are generally safe during pregnancy while avoiding supplements like resveratrol is best.