Can you take Emergen C while pregnant?
Emergen C (ascorbic acid-multivitamin-minerals) is a supplement that claims to support and boost the body’s immune system. When you are pregnant, staying healthy becomes a top priority as you may likely cause harm to yourself or your baby if not careful. You also become more susceptible to diseases, especially during the cold and flu season.
Naturally, you may look for ways to boost your immune system to keep yourself and your baby safe. You may have seen an ad on TV or a friend may have suggested it to you, but you are concerned if you can take Emergen C while pregnant. Pregnant women are given prenatal vitamins to help them with supporting their immune system and also their baby.
But like with every supplement, you should first speak with your doctor before using Emergen C. Can you take Emergen C while pregnant, is it safe, and is there any risk posed to you or your baby when you take Emergen C while pregnant? We will discuss all of these in this article, keep reading.
WHAT IS EMERGEN C ?
Emergen C is an OTC line of products famous for its mix of nutrients, primarily Vitamin C and B. A serving (9.1g packets) of Emergen C contains 1,000mg or 1667% of your recommended daily allowance (RDA). The supplement is designed to help boost your immune system and also your energy levels.
Originally, Emergen C was produced in one flavor (an orange flavor), likely with the purpose of indicating how much Vitamin C it is made of. However, there are several flavors available in the market these days.
VARIETIES OF EMERGEN C
There are also different varieties of Emergen C available such as:
- Emergen-zzzz: Perfect for insomniac patients as it contains melatonin to promote good sleep.
- Immune Plus: This Emergen C product contains Vitamin D and extra zinc.
- Emergen-C Kids: A smaller dose of Emergen C with a flavor, specially designed for kids.
- Probiotic Plus: This type of Emergen C product helps to support gut health as two probiotic strains are used in making them.
- Energy Plus: It contains caffeine from green tea.
- Hydration Plus and Electrolyte Replenisher: Designed specifically to boost your electrolyte levels.
Emergen C is produced not only in a drinkable form, so if you do not like the fizzy texture from the mixture of the supplement powder and water, it also comes in gummy and chewable forms.
WHAT IS EMERGEN C MADE OF
All different flavors of Emergen C contain the following:
- Calories: 35
- Sugar: 6g
- Vitamin C: 1000mg
- Vitamin B6: 10mg
- Vitamin B12: 25mcg
- Thiamin: 0.36mg
- Riboflavin: 0.39mg
- Folic acid: 25% DV
- Pantothetic acid: 25% DV
- Niacin: 4mg
- Calcium: 50mg
- Manganese: 0.5mcg
- Magnesium: 53mg
- Zinc: 2mg
BENEFITS OF EMERGEN C
Emergen C is common for its benefit when it comes to the common cold, and how it boosts immunity and energy levels, however, there are many more benefits the supplement can offer. Here are a few benefits of Emergen C that can help support your health:
1. It May Shorten Colds: According to the U.S National Library of Medicine (NLM), Vitamin C can decrease the severity of the symptoms and duration of a cold, and some evidence suggests that Emergen C can help minimize the duration of a cold. However, do not mistake this with preventing a cold. A 2013 review of placebo-controlled trials found that taking Vitamin C every day did not prevent people from getting a cold.
Only the duration and symptoms were reduced in an ordinary population of people who regularly take the vitamin C supplement. Not only Vitamin C in Emergen C is capable of causing a reduced duration and symptom of a cold. The zinc content of the supplement, according to the National Center for Complementary, and Integrity Health (NCCIH), also helps to shorten the duration of a cold.
2. Boost Immune System Function: Emergen C contains a hefty dose of Vitamin C, which helps to boost your immunity, and also creates collagen to support healthy skin. It also contains vitamin B6 which may help metabolize red blood cells and fat, as well as support a healthy nervous system.
Both vitamins are essential for healthy immune system function, as they support your body to fight off diseases. You can also obtain these vitamins from natural sources such as berries, salmon, citrus, and bananas. Zinc and manganese also help in supporting and boosting the body’s overall immune system.
3. Boost Energy Level: The nutrients contained in Emergen C play an important role in energy production, hence it increases your body’s energy level, and combats fatigue. A 2012 study showed that intravenous Vitamin C can reduce fatigue within 2 hours of treatment, and this effect can last for a whole day.
4. It Can Replenish Electrolytes: Electrolytes are minerals that help to keep your heart, muscles, and nervous system functioning properly while keeping you hydrated. If you have the flu or have diarrhea, you will lose a lot of electrolytes. An extensive workout also will have you sweating a lot and also losing electrolytes. Emergen C is rich with electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, and magnesium, to help prevent dehydration and low electrolyte levels which can result in muscle cramping and lightheadedness.
CAN YOU TAKE EMERGEN C WHILE PREGNANT
While it might be safe to take Emergen C during pregnancy, pregnant women are often advised not to supplement with any form of vitamin C since they can get it from their prenatal vitamins. Emergen C contains a lot of minerals, vitamins, and electrolytes that can help support a healthy immune system, however, they are not specifically formulated for pregnant women, unlike the prenatal vitamins.
Generally, the World Health Organization (WHO) does not recommend the widespread supplementation of vitamin C during pregnancy as not enough research has been done to prove that taking Emergen C or any Vitamin C supplement while pregnant is completely safe, so it is likely that the risk, outweighs the benefits.
However, it has been scientifically proven that taking Emergen C while pregnant can support the chorioamniotic membranes, which makes up the amniotic sac that protects the fetus. Some other studies have also shown a reduced risk of preterm rupture of the two chorioamniotic membranes in patients who are supplemented with Vitamin C while pregnant. The rupture of this membrane is often the first sign of labor, known as “water breaking”.
POSSIBLE RISKS OF TAKING EMERGEN C WHILE PREGNANT
Emergen C includes a warning for pregnant and breastfeeding women to seek consultation before taking any of their supplements. This warning is printed on their product labels.
However, here are some reasons why taking Emergen C while pregnant may not be safe:
1. You should talk with your doctor before taking any supplement such as Emergen C during pregnancy, because most times, dietary supplements such as Emergen C are not FDA regulated, so the number of actual ingredients may be different from what is written on the packaging, and any degree of such uncertainty can be detrimental to both you or your baby.
2. Also, you need to be aware of the ingredients used in making this supplement as some varieties of Emergen C contain ingredients such as probiotics, electrolytes, glucosamine, melatonin, and caffeine, which you might be wary of while pregnant.
3. The daily intake of Vitamin C for pregnant women should remain under 2,000mg per day, too much of a particular vitamin can be harmful to both you and your baby, and many of the nutrients found in Emergen C are also found in your prenatal vitamins, so you should watch out not to team up Emergen C with your regular prenatal vitamins.
For instance, although vitamin C is an antioxidant, hence reduces the chances of suffering from cancer and cardiovascular diseases and also has an immune-boosting property, it also promotes the absorption of iron, however, when it becomes excessive, it can increase the risk of giving birth to your baby premature. Too much iron absorption could also result in some unpleasant side effects such as constipation, nausea, and stomach pain.
WHAT CAN YOU TAKE INSTEAD OF EMERGEN C WHILE PREGNANT?
There are several reasons why you may want to take Emergen C even as a pregnant woman, maybe to reduce symptoms of cold or flu, or to boost your immune system and energy levels, but instead of Emergen C, here are some safe alternatives that can still provide you with these benefits:
1. Use Safe Cold Medication During Pregnancy: Research on what medication to use for cold during pregnancy is limited, as there are some medications you shouldn’t take during your first trimester because they can affect your baby’s development. Always ask your doctor if you need any medication to relieve your symptoms of a cold. Safe cold medications such as dextromethorphan, guaifenesin, and antihistamine may be prescribed to you depending on what symptoms you are experiencing.
2. Eat Enough Fruits and Vegetables: The vitamins and minerals found in Emergen C could also be found in many natural sources such as fruits and vegetables. This will boost your immune system, boost your energy level and also prevent dehydration.
3. Getting Enough Rest: This also helps to boost energy levels and prevent fatigue.
Taking Emergen C while pregnant may or may not pose a threat to you and your baby as there isn’t much research that suggests the safety of the supplement. So to be on the safer side, stick to your prenatal vitamins, and if you need any form of medication while pregnant, ensure to speak first with your doctor.