Beli is on a mission to clean up the fertility and prenatal supplement scene. Founder Joni Hanson Davis explains how reproductive health is not just for women, the role of key nutrients and how incorporating supplements based on the latest science could be your best bet for conceiving.
I’m joined today by Joni Hanson Davis, founder of Beli, a prenatal company focused on improving fertility and reproductive health. Beli markets vitamin supplements for both women and men in concert with the latest science, which are packed full of essential vitamins and minerals to support hormonal balance and aid in egg quality and sperm production. Best of all they are vegan friendly and free of GMO’s, gluten and dairy.
Joni, welcome to AMR. Can you walk us through the origin story of Beli? How did the company come into existence and what motivated you to start a company specialising in prenatal vitamins?
I decided to create a really amazing, science-aligned prenatal vitamin that had all the right nutrients in all the right amounts.
During my own pregnancies, it became painfully clear to me that there hadn’t been anything in the way of innovation for prenatal vitamins. Worse, even just a little research showed how out of step they were with nutritional science. So, I decided to create a really amazing, science-aligned prenatal vitamin that had all the right nutrients in all the right amounts, since at least one thing on the pregnancy journey should be easy.
Throughout the process, we started wondering whether men might benefit from specific nutrients in the same way women do. Turns out, they absolutely do. Sperm health plays a huge role in creating and sustaining a healthy pregnancy, and many sperm deficiencies can be traced to nutrient shortages. A men’s prenatal vitamin can be swapped for a daily multivitamin to ensure a hopeful dad-to-be gets all of the nutrients he needs to optimize his fertility. And while it’s becoming far more mainstream today, it was an incredibly novel concept just a few years ago.
It’s true that so often we see the onus of reproductive health positioned as the sole responsibility of women. Yet Beli seems to take a more inclusive approach to fertility, which makes total sense as you require both a healthy sperm and egg in order to make a baby.
It’s true that the focus has been squarely on women for decades, but fertility issues can stem from either partner. Shoring up nutritional gaps with a high-quality prenatal vitamin for both men and women is kind of the low-hanging fruit – it’s pretty easy to set an alarm and take a few vitamins every day, and the payoff can be huge. Plus, it’s a way for men to show their partners how invested they are in the process.
Speaking of inclusivity, it’s awesome to see that Beli products are also vegan-friendly and gluten, allergen and dairy-free. Did you find it challenging to incorporate so many specialities in your products?
We’re committed to sourcing only the best, most bioavailable, most absorbable forms of all the ingredients we use.
There were some challenges that we encountered, but mainly it came from the sourcing of the Vitamin D3 and the capsule itself. Finding a vegan-friendly source of Vitamin D in particular – ours comes from sustainably-sourced lichen – was important to us because of the environmental benefits. Plus, it’s more easily absorbed. Overall, we just had to think differently about our formulations. They aren’t off-the-shelf, pre-packaged blends – these are our proprietary formulas, and we’re committed to sourcing only the best, most bioavailable, most absorbable forms of all the ingredients we use. That in itself can be challenging, but our focus has always been efficacy, purity, safety.
You’ve made the process of improving reproductive health as easy as taking a few multivitamins a day. Walk us through the potential impact of incorporating a Beli supplement into your daily routine.
In the scheme of things, taking a prenatal vitamin is a small act with a big impact. Both men and women who are thinking of becoming parents at some point will benefit from a steady stream of nutrients that are clinically shown to improve the processes that drive reproduction. It takes time to build up these nutrients stores, so a good rule of thumb is to begin taking prenatal vitamins roughly six months before you hope to conceive.
Many health companies make their products available through retailers or direct to consumer websites. What made you choose to offer a subscription model?
Prenatal vitamins need to be taken daily, which makes them more predictable than other products. A subscription is the easiest way to set it and forget it, so you get fresh vitamins every month.
Scientific research plays a huge role in our understanding of the health and wellbeing domains. Can you speak to how Beli incorporates evidence-based research into its products?
Our formulas are based on the latest scientific research, and that extends to the nutrients we include and the amounts of those nutrients as well. Our men’s line in particular stands out for its Vitality Blend – six key ingredients that have a huge impact on sperm health and male fertility, including L-carnitine, L-arginine, coenzyme Q10, L-taurine, N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine, and, unique to us, shilajit extract. This adaptogen has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine, and we included it specifically because of its effect on sperm count and overall sperm quality.
What do you love most about the work you do?
It’s very purpose driven, but at the same time, there’s a personal element. Every journey to parenthood is unique, yet everyone on this path shares a common goal – to create, grow, and welcome healthy little babies. And let’s be honest – so much of this is completely beyond our control. But we do know the role certain nutrients play in supporting the processes that drive fertility and reproduction, and the importance of that can’t be overlooked.
Aside from supplementing their diets with essential nutrients, what other advice would you give to people looking to improve their chances of conceiving?
Couples hoping to become parents are often advised to clean up their lifestyle. That’s because research shows that the same steps that improve your health as a whole – consistent exercise, a nutritious diet, healthy outlets for managing stress, plenty of quality sleep, etc. – also improve sperm and egg quality. Pair this with a high-quality prenatal vitamin for the both of you, and you’ll be starting off on the right foot.
You seem to have a handle on prenatal and fertility supplements, so what’s on the horizon for Beli?
We’re moms ourselves, and we’re setting our sights on cleaning up the supplemental health market. Our focus is on healthy fertility, pregnancy, moms and babies, dads, and there’s a lot of exciting prospects on the horizon – stay tuned!
It has been a pleasure speaking with you Joni. Before we wrap up, we have a tradition where we like to ask our guests about how they’d go about tackling the myriad challenges we face today, the problems we face as individuals and as a society. In your own words, what’s a modern remedy for these issues?
Awareness and taking responsibility for our actions. It is easy to go through the motions of our day, but we really need to practice pausing and thinking about how our actions impact others and our planet. If we all make small steps each day to move in a more positive direction, collectively we CAN make a difference.
Where can people find you?
Check out our website, Belibaby.com, where you can sign up to our newsletter and connect with us through email and follow us on our social platforms, including Instagram, for all the latest.
Thank you so much for your time Joni, it was very insightful to learn more about Beli and we look forward to seeing where your company goes next. ■
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