For those of you who have been following Full Circle Prenatal for a while, you’ll notice some things have changed recently, starting with, well, our name. But if you know anything about Founder and fertility expert Ayla Barmmer, MS, RD, LDN, you know she does everything with profound and committed purpose. So we sat down for a Q&A session with Ayla to understand the reasons for this shift and for all of the new and exciting offerings she has planned for us, her community.
To quote one of Full Circle's many elated customers, "3 days postpartum here and religiously sticking to this prenatal. I had severe PPA with my first and I already feel so much better/more calm and relaxed with this one. He came out passing every test and is healthy as can be!" Ayla, you've clearly made an enormous impact on the people you set out to help by providing a prenatal that makes healthy pregnancies so much easier.
Q: If Full Circle Prenatal was so popular with your customers, why the change in name and look?
A: Fair question!
First, as often as I hear success stories like these, they remain immensely moving, and gratifying. I worked hard to create a prenatal with superior bioavailability that is both safe and effective, and it is so fulfilling to hear from so many customers experiencing the amazing results I set out to give them. It’s breathtaking to see the vision brought to life.
That said, for a long time I’ve been feeling a larger sense of urgency when it comes to fertility and healthcare. My work in herbs and supplements, and in my private practice as a functional medicine dietitian, has always focused on people who are trying to conceive, pregnant, and breastfeeding. But, the truth of the matter is, when it comes to our health - all of our health - needs to be addressed, not just those who are trying to get pregnant. By “all” I mean fertility is a family matter, it is a community matter. So it makes sense for every single adult human to optimize their reproductive health, because if we are robust in this regard, we are often well in almost every other sense.
I‘ve never been inspired to simply market vitamins, my sights are always set on understanding and articulating unmet needs and to support underserved groups. I can’t stress enough how thrilled I am to bring FullWell to families. Now more than ever, I am focused on educating all types of people, in all phases of life, about their fertility and how it factors into their overall health and well being.
Q: That sounds amazing. But has the product changed at all?
The original prenatal hasn't changed at all, so all of our customers and subscribers can rest assured knowing that everything they need is still coming to them in those bottles and is still tested and verified batch by individual batch in third-party testing facilities. There are, however, new products hitting the FullWell catalogue that I am incredibly excited about, and like I said, there are some products that are designed for different demographics of people intended to optimize different aspects of fertility.
Q: Can you talk about some of those products yet? What should we be getting excited for?
A: So many things! Where to start?
Okay, for those of you who have followed us for a while, you know that, in addition to my training as a Registered Dietitian and functional medicine practitioner, I am also a trained herbalist. I have always incorporated safe herbal practices into my clients’ protocols, and also relied on them myself before, during, and now after pregnancy.
Herbal Nervous System Support
Pregnant and breastfeeding women are often told to avoid herbs as a blanket recommendation by well meaning practitioners who just don't have the in-depth knowledge of herbs required to prescribe how to use them safely in this stage of life. It’s a good thing that practitioners who are not trained herbalists avoid botanical recommendations. At the same time people are left without any support for the stress, anxiety, and sleep disturbances that come with pregnancy and postpartum, which is untenable. Herbs and phytonutrients can be such great allies here, and, as someone qualified to offer these solutions, I’m introducing an herbal blend later this year that is designed to safely nourish overworked nerves during pregnancy and while breastfeeding, postpartum.
Men’s Fertility Support
For a long time, I’ve voiced that there truly are not enough care products for men and their own fertility needs, including nutrition, supplementation, and even just general education. Adult males need to prepare their bodies for conception as well as the demands of parenting - they are 50% of the equation! Nutrients play an enormous role in the health and quality of sperm, beyond conception. Newer research shows that sperm quality can influence the health of a pregnancy (most noticeably with poor quality sperm being tied to pregnancy complications). It also can impact a baby’s long term health via epigenetics. So it’s not just a matter of fertilization, we really need to look at the big picture and ask male fathers to prepare for pregnancy and parenthood for the health of the entire family. As a result, we’re beyond thrilled to announce that FullWell’s upcoming men’s fertility support supplement will be introduced later this year as an evidence based male counterpart to our women’s prenatal and that has been formulated specifically for male needs.
Finally, a wild-caught, sustainable, Alaskan salmon fish oil has been in the works for over a year. I am not afraid to take the time needed for optimal quality, so this one was a labor of love that is finally coming to fruition. FullWell’s fish oil is the ONLY fish oil you should be using: it’s the purest, most immaculately sourced, yes, but it also contains the absolute ideal ratios of fatty acids to take in addition to your prenatal vitamins. I can’t wait for it to get into hands.
Wow! That really is SO much. Thanks for sharing the vision and the plan! . Ayla, something we really admire about you is that you communicate very technically elaborate information in ways that your audience can easily digest. So let's get a little technical for a second.
Q: Tell us why FullWell is different/more beneficial than other prenatal supplements, in terms of how you designed the formula?
A: As a widely trained registered dietitian, a functional medicine practitioner, and a women’s health expert with over 15 years of experience, I developed this formula integrating my clinical training with meticulous research and real world experience from working with tens of thousands of people.
FullWell prenatal formula was developed and refined over 3 years before I actually took it to a manufacturer to be produced. Like I said, I’m not averse to putting in the time. In those developmental years, I:
- Conducted prolific literature reviews
- Tracked my practice clients’ experiences with different prenatal formulas, noting tolerance and outcomes with specific forms and doses of nutrients
- Had the formula peer reviewed by many trusted colleagues.
It has since become a highly acclaimed formula, praised by experts like Aviva Romm, MD, under whom I’ve studied.
Since the beginning, I have always done continuous, ongoing evaluations of my ingredient sources and forms. I have great relationships with FullWell’s manufacturers and ingredient suppliers, and very strict (some might even call me high maintenance) testing protocols that ensure we are going above and beyond current standards in confirming identity, potency, allergens, and contaminants. In addition to being a practitioner that uses my products with my practice clients, I’m also a Mom and I know how critical it is to feel secure that what you are consuming is safe and effective. Providing my customers and clients with safe, evidence-based products is a responsibility that I do not take lightly. While much of the supplement industry is driven by large companies looking at consumer trends and basing formulas around what will sell, I continue to create products that I use myself and feel confident recommending to my family and friends. My production standards are some of the highest in the industry.
Ah, yes, production. Not unusually, your brand experienced delays and complications in the supply chain during this pandemic.
Q: How are you handling this moving forward as you dive into creating more products for FullWell?
A: Well, if I haven’t stressed enough that I never compromise on quality, I’ll reiterate here for the last time. When we’re talking about families bringing new life into the world, it's just not an option - you can’t cut corners.
So a production process that already took slightly longer than that of other less discerning brands, became delayed even further. On one hand it was a bittersweet blessing to have grown Full Circle so fast and to be in such high demand. Having to keep up and scale accordingly with the added pressure of a global calamity was an extreme challenge, to say the very least. The major positive effect of the summer of 2021 is that, now more than ever, we’ve solidified production and streamlined the process, implementing better systems and locking them in place with everyone involved in the process in order to produce higher quantities of product with the same amazing quality. This includes a firm commitment to transparency in providing COAs, and third-party testing to ensure authenticity in each batch. We won’t work with anyone along the supply chain who can’t get behind this rigor, it’s that simple. We have worked very diligently to partner with those who are on the same page and dedicated to making the very best offering with us.
Q: Do you have any favorite success stories from your clients or customers?
A: It is so fulfilling to know that so many families are healthier and happier because of FullWell. It’s also AMAZING to hear feedback directly from health practitioners.
One of my colleagues recently told me she had a patient who was trying to conceive after having a miscarriage. When she ran micronutrient testing, there were SO many things that came back borderline deficient or completely deficient. But rather than overwhelming her patient with supplements, she simply had them take FullWell because just about all of the things she was deficient in could be quickly replenished by it. Removing stress from this already stressful process for both practitioners and patients feels great.
When someone tells me that they had complications with a first pregnancy, my heart sinks. But when they elaborate that, since finding FullWell, they have gone on to have healthy, complication-free pregnancies, I almost burst with joy. Every single time! When people appreciate the time and labor I’ve put into this ‘labor of love’, and truly understand the level of quality and transparency that we provide as a company, I know I’ve done valuable, meaningful work.
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