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Super Nutrients for Mothers

By Drs. Rick and Jan Hanson

  • Calcium and Magnesium - These minerals promote healthy bones (helping prevent osteoporosis), healthy sleep, and a healthy mood. They are often available in a combined supplement. Each day, take 1000 to 1500 milligrams of calcium and 400 milligrams of magnesium.

  • Taurine - This amino acid helps soothe frazzled nerves (among other good things), but it is drained out of your body during both pregnancy and breastfeeding. Take 500 milligrams a day.

  • Essential fatty acids (EFAs) - These are the "good fats" that are needed for a healthy heart and brain. Increasing your intake of one type of EFAs-omega-3 oils found in fish and flax oil-can help prevent cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, diabetes, and depression. It can also make your hair and skin more moist; dryness, including dandruff, is a potential sign of omega-3 deficiency. And pregnant or breastfeeding women can help the optimal development of their child's brain by getting substantial amounts of these important oils.

  • Take about 1000 milligrams/day of a fish oil supplement that has been "molecularly distilled" for purity; make sure you take enough to get at least 400 milligrams/day of a key ingredient called DHA, which will be listed on the label. (Some people prefer flax oil to fish oil due to being a vegetarian. Unfortunately, most people lack some of the enzymes or co-factors needed to convert flax oil into the long-chain fatty acids your body needs, which already exist in fish oil. If you do choose to use flax oil, make sure you're taking a good multi-vitamin/multi-mineral supplement as well, for the co-factors it contains.)

    To Your Health!

    * * * * * *

    Rick Hanson, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist, Jan Hanson, M.S., L.Ac., is an acupuncturist/nutritionist, and they are raising a daughter and son, ages 16 and 19. With Ricki Pollycove, M.D., they are the first and second authors of Mother Nurture: A Motherís Guide to Health in Body, Mind, and Intimate Relationships, published by Penguin. You can see their website at or email them with questions or comments at; unfortunately, a personal reply may not always be possible.

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