It Works Products and Breastfeeding February 23 2015 3 Comments

In my previous post titled Workout Supplements, Weight-Loss Supplements and Diet Supplements While Breastfeeding, I listed out many ingredients found in supplements and if they are or are not safe to take while breastfeeding. In this post, I will use that list to review It Works products. You can refer back to the first post for reasons why these ingredients are questionable or contraindicated.

When considering taking any supplements, it is important to consider how it will affect your nursing baby.  Water soluble vitamins are most likely to pass through your milk.  Water soluble vitamins include vitamin C and the B vitamins.  With Vitamin B6 in particular, it is important to avoid mega-doses (300-600 mg) as it may decrease milk production.  Other vitamins that may increase and decrease based on mother’s intake are Omega 3, iodine, and selenium.  Unabsorbed portions of vitamins and minerals can change the balance of bacteria in the infant’s gut, which gives harmful bacteria a chance to grow, which can cause harder and more odorous stools.

A note about skin care products: some people may try to tell you that it doesn’t matter what is in a skin care product because you aren’t ingesting it, but don’t be fooled.  Our skin is the largest organ of our body and studies have shown that it absorbs 65-100% of what we put on it.  This can be evidenced by medications given for topical application- birth control patch, nicotine patch, testosterone cream, etc.  So, if a product contains ingredients contraindicated for breastfeeding, it should not be used internally or topically.  You can read more about this topic and things to avoid putting on your skin here.

I would also like to add a note about the carb blockers or amylase inhibitors.  These products have not been studied in breastfeeding women and it is not known if they pass through the milk.  If they do pass through the milk, it would be assumed that they would have the same effect on the baby of blocking the absorption of carbs and fats in the intestine.  This would not be good for a baby because the baby needs all of the nutrients available in a mother's milk in order to grow and develop properly.

I want to remind you that I am not a medical professional and I am not an herbalist. Please use your discretion when considering taking any supplements while breastfeeding, and speak to your doctor if you have any concerns. It is my personal opinion that if a supplement has a lot of questionable ingredients, then it should likely be avoided, and if it has any contraindicated ingredients, then it should definitely be avoided.

I will add that I am not an It Works representative and I am not being reimbursed in any way for this review.

 

New Ingredients Found in It Works to Add to Master List:

Acai Fruit Extract (Euterpe Oleracea)- thought to aid in weight loss.  Lack of scientific evidence on use while breastfeeding (Acai, 2011).

Aloe- Rated C by The Nursing Mother’s Herbal.

Banaba Leaf- this is said to lower blood glucose and possibly help the body use insulin more efficiently.  Not much is known about using this while nursing (Web MD Banaba, 2015).

Bitter Melon Extract (Momordica Charantia)- Rated C by The Nursing Mother’s Herbal. This is considered a galactagogue.

Capsicum (Capsicum Annuum, Cayenne)- Rated B by The Nursing Mother’s Herbal.  Used to boost metabolism and burn fat.

Cascara Sagrada- rated B by The Nursing Mother’s Herbal.  This is an herb used for it’s laxative effects.  It is a stimulant laxative and has the potential for being abused and for causing long-term damage.

Cellulose- an insoluble substance that makes up plant cell walls and vegetable fibers such as cotton.

Chondroitin- a compound that is a major constituent of cartilage and connective tissue. The use of chondroitin by a nursing mother is unlikely to cause adverse effects in a nursing infant (Chondroitin, 2015).

Citrus Pectin- this is used in food as a gelling agent, a stabilizer and a source of dietary fiber. You can read more about it here.

Collagen (Type II)- this is thought to decrease the symptoms of arthritis.  It is likely safe while breastfeeding.

Croscarmellose Sodium- a matrix used to deliver drugs to the intestine.

Dandelion Root Extract (Taraxacum Officinalis)- leaf and flower are rated A by The Nursing Mother’s Herbal. Rhizome is rated B by The Nursing Mother’s Herbal. This is considered a galactagogue.

Dicalcium Phosphate- a form of calcium used in supplements.

Epimedium Grandiflorum (Horny Goat Weed)- This is used for mental and physical fatigue.  It contains phytoestrogens, chemicals that act like estrogen that might affect milk production.

Extramel (French Melon Fruit Extract)- this is thought to reduce stress and fatigue.  I couldn’t find any information on using this while nursing.  You can read more about it here.

Fennel- the seed is rated A by The Nursing Mother’s Herbal and it is considered a galactagogue. 

Ferulic Acid- an organic compound that comes from plant cell walls.

Frankincense- rated A by The Nursing Mother’s Herbal.

Gamma-Oryzanol- rice bran oil or rice bran wax. Information on safety during pregnancy and lactation is lacking.

Ginger- an herb, rated B by The Nursing Mother’s Herbal.

Glucosamine Sulfate- a naturally occurring chemical found in the body.  It is in the fluid that is around the joints.  It can also be found in shellfish. It is not likely to adversely affect the infant (Glucosamine, 2015).

Green Tea Leaf Extract- rated B by The Nursing Mother’s Herbal, listed as a stimulant due to the caffeine content.

Gymnema Leaf Extract (Gemnema Sylvestre)- Rated C by The Nursing Mother’s Herbal. This is considered a galactagogue.

Inulin (Chicory)- this is rated A by The Nursing Mother’s Herbal but it can be allergenic.

Jerusalem Artichoke- rated A by The Nursing Mother’s Herbal, and it is a galactagogue.

Magnesium Stearate- a salt form used for its lubricating properties for capsules and tablets.

Meadowsweet Herb- an herb used for colds, bronchitis, peptic ulcers, and to increase urine output.  Not much is known about using this herb while breastfeeding (Web MD Meadowsweet, 2015).

Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM)- a chemical found in plants, animals and humans.  It is used for chronic pain and joint inflammation.  Not much is known about its use while breastfeeding (MSM, 2015).

Microcrystalline Cellulose- a term for refined wood pulp and is used as a texturizer, an anti-caking agent, a fat substitute, an emulsifier, an extender, and a bulking agent in food production. The most common form is used in vitamin supplements or tablets.

Milk Thistle- an herb, rated A by The Nursing Mother’s Herbal, and it is a galactagogue.

Ne-Opuntia (Cactus Leaf)- this is a vegetable based fat blocker.  It blocks fat absorption in the intestines.  This is not in The Nursing Mother’s Herbal, but two places on the internet both say not to take while nursing.  You can see those Here and Here.

Pau D’Arco- this herb is used to treat a variety of infections.  Not much is known about the use of this herb while breastfeeding, but since WebMD says that it is possibly unsafe when used at normal doses and unsafe for pregnancy, I am listing it as contraindicated (Web MD Pau D’Arco, 2015).

Peppermint- the leaf is rated A by The Nursing Mother’s Herbal, peppermint oil is rated B by The Nursing Mother’s Herbal.  It is an anti-galactagogue, which means it may decrease milk supply.

Pterostilbene- a protective compound produced by small plants, and similar to resveratrol. I couldn't find any information on using this while breastfeeding, but you can read a study on it here.

Puncturevine (Tribulus terrestris)- this is an herb used to enhance mood, enhance athletic performance, and possibly to stimulate milk flow.  Other than the mention of stimulating milk flow in the article on WebMD, I could not find any information on the safety of using this while breastfeeding.

Quercetin- a yellow crystalline pigment present in plants, used as a food supplement to reduce allergic responses or boost immunity. This is rated L1-no data-compatible by Mommy Meds.

Raspberry (Rubus Idaeus)- Rated A by The Nursing Mother’s Herbal.  Used to increase metabolism and boost lean body mass.

Silica- a mineral, used as an anti-caking agent.

Soy- also soy protein isolate, and soy lecithin.  It’s a good idea to avoid large amounts of soy in your diet or eating it on a daily basis. You can read more about why here.

Stearic Acid- a solid saturated fatty acid obtained from animal or vegetable fat.

Turmeric- an herb that is rated B by The Nursing Mother’s Herbal.  It is a warming herb and is considered a galactagogue.

Velvet Bean Extract- this is rated C by The Nursing Mother’s Herbal and may be an anti-galactagogue because it can lower prolactin and increase testosterone.  You can read more about it here.

Wheat Amylase Inhibitor- Blocks the amylase enzyme, which breaks down carbohydrates, therefore blocking carbohydrate absorption.  There is no information available on the safety of using amylase inhibitors while breastfeeding (Amylase Inhibitors, 2011).

Yucca Root- rated A by The Nursing Mother’s Herbal.

 

It Works Products

 

Advanced Formula Fat Fighter

What it is for: blocks some of the fat and carbs from meals.

Ingredients Questionable for Breastfeeding:

  • Garcinia Cambogia
  • Green Tea Leaf Extract- Rated B by The Nursing Mother’s Herbal, stimulant
  • White Kidney Bean Extract
  • Bitter Melon Fruit- Rated C by The Nursing Mother’s Herbal
  • Gymnema Sylvestre- Rated C by The Nursing Mother’s Herbal
  • Banaba Leaf
  • Wheat Amylase Inhibitor

Ingredients Contraindicated for Breastfeeding:

  • NeOptuntia

 

    Confianza

    What it is for: anti-stress formula, improves mental focus and concentration.

    Ingredients Questionable for Breastfeeding:

    • Epimedium Grandiflorum Extract
    • Puncturevine (Tribulus terrestris)
    • Siberian Ginseng- Rated B by The Nursing Mother’s Herbal
    • Golden Root Extract (Rhodiola Rosea)- Rated B by The Nursing Mother’s Herbal

    Ingredients Contraindicated for Breastfeeding:

    • None Found

    Defining Gel

    What it is for: minimizes cellulite appearance.

    Ingredients Questionable for Breastfeeding:

    • Horse Chestnut- Rated B by The Nursing Mother’s Herbal
    • Centella Asiatica (Gotu Cola)- Rated B by The Nursing Mother’s Herbal, allergenic
    • Guarana Seed Extract- Rated B by The Nursing Mother’s Herbal, stimulant
    • Green Tea Extract- Rated B by The Nursing Mother’s Herbal, stimulant

    Ingredients Contraindicated for Breastfeeding:

    • Bladderwrack- on the list of herbs to avoid while breastfeeding
    • Rosemary Oil- Rated B by The Nursing Mother’s Herbal, may decrease milk supply
    • Eucalyptus Oil- Rated E by The Nursing Mother’s Herbal

    Greens

    What it is for: detoxify, energize and promote pH balance.

    Ingredients Questionable for Breastfeeding:

    • Soy Lecithin
    • Soy Protein Isolate
    • Eleuthero- Rated B by The Nursing Mother’s Herbal
    • Green Tea Leaf Extract- Rated B by The Nursing Mother’s Herbal, stimulant
    • Ginkgo Biloba- Rated B by The Nursing Mother’s Herbal, allergenic
    • Dulse- Rated B by The Nursing Mother’s Herbal
    • Aloe- Rated C by The Nursing Mother’s Herbal
    • Goldenseal- Rated C by The Nursing Mother’s Herbal
    • White Willow Bark- Rated B by The Nursing Mother’s Herbal, allergenic
    • Turmeric- Rated B by The Nursing Mother’s Herbal
    • Watercress- Rated C by The Nursing Mother’s Herbal
    • Meadowsweet

    Ingredients Contraindicated for Breastfeeding:

    • Black Walnut- on the list of herbs to avoid while breastfeeding
    • Parsley- Rated B by The Nursing Mother’s Herbal, and may lower supply
    • Rosemary- Rated B by The Nursing Mother’s Herbal, and may lower supply
    • Pau D’Arco

     

    Greens Chew

    What it is for: boosts your body’s natural defenses against free radical damage.

    Ingredients Questionable for Breastfeeding:

    • Acai
    • Extramel
    • Pterostilbene

    Ingredients Contraindicated for Breastfeeding:

    • None found

     

    It’s Essential Weight Loss Energy Bars

    What it is for: a treat filled with fiber, antioxidants, and omegas.

    Ingredients Questionable for Breastfeeding:

    • Soy Protein Isolate
    • SolaGrain
    • Soy Hull Fiber
    • Soy Lecithin

     

    It’s Vital Core Nutrition

    What it is for: multi-vitamin

    Ingredients Questionable for Breastfeeding:

    • Vitamin A- 200% RDA
    • Vitamin C- 583% RDA
    • Vitamin D- 250% RDA
    • Vitamin E- 333% RDA
    • Thiamin- 1667% RDA
    • Riboflavin- 1471% RDA
    • Niacin- 250% RDA
    • Vitamin B6- 1250% RDA
    • Vitamin B12- 5000% RDA
    • Pantothenic Acid- 500% RDA
    • Panax Ginseng Root- Rated B by The Nursing Mother’s Herbal
    • Eleuthero Root- Rated B by The Nursing Mother’s Herbal
    • Ginkgo Biloba- Rated B by The Nursing Mother’s Herbal
    • Rhodiola Rosea- Rated B by The Nursing Mother’s Herbal
    • Aloe
    • Dandelion Root- Rated B by The Nursing Mother’s Herbal
    • Cinnamon Bark- Rated B by The Nursing Mother’s Herbal
    • Green Tea Leaf Extract- Rated B by The Nursing Mother’s Herbal
    • Ginger Root- Rated B by The Nursing Mother’s Herbal
    • Cayenne Pepper- Rated B by The Nursing Mother’s Herbal
    • Reishi Mushroom- Rated B by The Nursing Mother’s Herbal, allergenic
    • Hawthorn Berry- Rated B by The Nursing Mother’s Herbal
    • Turmeric- Rated B by The Nursing Mother’s Herbal

    Ingredients Contraindicated for Breastfeeding:

    • Peppermint essential oil- may decrease supply

    It’s Vital Minerals

    What it is for: multi-mineral supplement

    Ingredients Questionable for Breastfeeding:

    • Vitamin D- 250% RDA
    • Selenium- 286% RDA
    • Chromium- 205% RDA

    Ingredients Contraindicated for Breastfeeding:

    • Peppermint Oil-may lower supply

     

    It’s Vital Omega-3

    What it is for: essential fatty acids Omega 3 Supplement

    Ingredients Questionable for Breastfeeding:

    • Rosemary Extract- Rated B by The Nursing Mother’s Herbal, possibly an anti-galactagogue

    Ingredients Contraindicated for Breastfeeding:

    • None found

     

    New You

    What it is for: stimulates natural production and release of HGH and boosts lean muscle mass.

    Ingredients Questionable for Breastfeeding:

    • Methylsulfonylmethane
    • Ginger Root
    • Gamma-Oryzanol
    • Vanadyl Sulfate (Vanadium)

    Ingredients Contraindicated for Breastfeeding:

    • Velvet Bean Extract

     

    Regular

    What it is for: promotes regular colon function and cleanses toxins from the colon.

    Ingredients Questionable for Breastfeeding:

    • Cascara Sagrada
    • Aloe
    • Ginger
    • Dandelion Root

    Ingredients Contraindicated for Breastfeeding:

    • Peppermint leaf- may decrease supply

     

    Relief

    What it is for: minor joint inflammation and stiffness.

    Ingredients Questionable for Breastfeeding:

    • Vitamin C- 170% RDA
    • Manganese- 250% RDA
    • Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM)

    Ingredients Contraindicated for Breastfeeding:

    • Glucosamine Sulfate- made from shellfish
    • Peppermint Oil- may decrease supply

     

    Stretch Mark Cream

    What it is for: lessens the appearance of stretch marks, fine lines, and scarring.

    Ingredients Questionable for Breastfeeding:

    • Aloe Leaf Extract- Rated C by The Nursing Mother’s Herbal
    • Centella Asiatica (Gotu Cola)- Rated B by The Nursing Mother’s Herbal, allergenic

    Ingredients Contraindicated for Breastfeeding:

    • Horsetail- on the list of herbs to avoid while breastfeeding.
    • Licorice Root- Rated B by The Nursing Mother’s Herbal, may lower milk supply

     

    Ultimate Body Applicator

    Ingredients Questionable for Breastfeeding:

    • Horse Chestnut- Rated B by The Nursing Mother’s Herbal
    • Centella Asiatica (Gotu Cola)- Rated B by The Nursing Mother’s Herbal, allergenic
    • Guarana Seed Extract- Rated B by The Nursing Mother’s Herbal, stimulant
    • Green Tea Extract- Rated B by The Nursing Mother’s Herbal, stimulant

    Ingredients Contraindicated for Breastfeeding:

    • Bladderwrack- on the list of herbs to avoid while breastfeeding
    • Horsetail- on the list of herbs to avoid while breastfeeding.
    • Rosemary Oil- Rated B by The Nursing Mother’s Herbal, may decrease milk supply
    • Eucalyptus Oil- Rated E by The Nursing Mother’s Herbal

     

    Ultimate Profit

    What it is for: Protein shake to aid in post-workout recovery and build lean muscle mass.

    Ingredients Questionable for Breastfeeding:

    • Maca
    • Bilberry Extract- Fruit Rated A but Leaf Rated C, not specified what is used in product.
    • Solagrain Plus-soy protein and soy hull fiber
    • Soy Protein Isolate

    Ingredients Contraindicated for Breastfeeding:

    • None found

     

    Ultimate Thermofit

    What it is for: boost metabolic rate, burn fat, reduce appetite.

    Ingredients Questionable for Breastfeeding:

    • Vitamin B12- 1670% RDA
    • Chromium- 170% RDA
    • Capsicum Fruit Extract- Rated B
    • Green Tea Extract- Rated B, stimulant
    • Guarana- Rated B, stimulant
    • Bitter Melon- Rated C
    • Gymnema Leaf Extract- Rated C

    Ingredients Contraindicated for Breastfeeding:

    • None Found

     

    Content and information on Midland Lactation Supplies is provided for informational purposes only. It is not meant to substitute the advice provided by one's physician or any other medical professional. You should not use the information contained herein for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing medication. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, immediately contact your health care provider. Information and statements regarding dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. While we work extremely hard to ensure that all product information is correct, manufacturers sometimes change their logos, packaging and products. You should use our site as a reference, carefully read all product packaging, and contact the manufacturer with any questions before using a product. We are not liable for inaccuracies or misstatements about products.

    Other Posts in This Series:

    Workout, Weight-Loss and Diet Supplements While Breastfeeding

    Breastfeeding and Losing Weight

    Advocare Products and Breastfeeding

    (Links contained in this post may be affiliate links.  Read our Disclosure Policy here.)

    Resources:

     Acai (Euterpe Oleracea). 2011.  Natural Standard. http://www.itsonlynaturalmarket.com/ns/DisplayMonograph.asp?StoreID=559B4D5864C14F0DBE0543F5BAD7FD4A&DocID=bottomline-acai

    Amylase Inhibitors. 2011.  Natural Standard.  http://www.naturalgrocery.com/ns/DisplayMonograph.asp?StoreID=heu5fkaq17s92nd700akhlbd34wud8vb&DocID=bottomline-amylaseinhibitors

    Chondroitin Levels and Effects While Breastfeeding. 2015. Drugs.com.  http://www.drugs.com/breastfeeding/chondroitin.html

    Glucosamine Use While Breastfeeding. 2015. Drugs.com.  http://www.drugs.com/breastfeeding/glucosamine.html

    Humphrey, S.  The Nursing Mother’s Herbal.  2003.  Fairview Press:  Minneapolis.

    Miles, M.; Lacan, D.; Brosse, H.; Desor, D.; Notin, C.  Effect of an Oral Supplementation With a Proprietary Melon Juice Concentrate (Extramel) on Stress and Fatigue in Healthy People: a pilot, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial.  2009.  Nutrition Journal.  http://www.nutritionj.com/content/8/1/40

    Web MD. Banaba.  2015.  Web MD. http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-1089-banaba.aspx?activeingredientid=1089&activeingredientname=banaba

    Web MD.  Horny Goat Weed.  2015. Web MD.  http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-699-epimedium.aspx?activeingredientid=699&activeingredientname=epimedium

    Web MD.  Meadowsweet.  2015.  Web MD.  http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-108-meadowsweet.aspx?activeingredientid=108&activeingredientname=meadowsweet

    Web MD.  MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane). 2015. Web MD.  http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-522-msm%20%28methylsulfonylmethane%29.aspx?activeingredientid=522&activeingredientname=msm%20%28methylsulfonylmethane%29

    Web MD.  Pau D’Arco. 2015.  Web MD.  http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-647-pau%20d%27arco.aspx?activeingredientid=647&activeingredientname=pau%20d%27arco

    Web MD. Tribulus.  2015. Web MD.  http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-39-puncture%20vine.aspx?activeingredientid=39&activeingredientname=puncture%20vine