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Health News Archive 721 - Pregnancy
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Antioxidants Prevent Preeclampsia

Sixty pregnant Indonesian women with low antioxidant status (defined as a low blood superoxide dismutase level) at eight to 12 weeks of gestation were randomly assigned to receive, in double-blind fashion, a preparation containing 13 micronutrients (combination group) or to be part of a control group that received only iron (30 mg/day) and folic acid (0.4 mg/day) until delivery. The combination supplement provided daily vitamins A (1,000 IU), B-6 (2.2 mg), B-12 (2.2 mcg), C (200 mg), and E (400 IU), folic acid (400 mcg), N-acetyl-cysteine (200 mg), zinc (15 mg), copper (2 mg), manganese (0.5 mg), iron (30 mg), calcium (800 mg), and selenium (100 mcg). The incidence of preeclampsia was 6.9% in the combination group and 29% in the control group (66% reduction in incidence; p < 0.05).

Comment by Alan Gaby, M.D.:

In a previous study, supplementation with vitamins C and E reduced the incidence of preeclampsia by 76%. However, three other similar trials found no reduction in incidence of preeclampsia, and in one of these trials, significantly more low ­birthweight babies were born to women receiving the vitamins than to those receiving placebo. Another clinical trial found that supplementation with vitamin B-6 by itself reduced the incidence of preeclampsia. The results of the present study confirm that nutrient supplementation can reduce the incidence of this common pregnancy complication. Further research is needed to determine which women are most likely to benefit from nutritional support, and how the dosages and combinations of nutrients should be adjusted according to the nutritional status and overall health of the pregnant woman.

Source: Rumiris D, et al. Lower rate of preeclampsia after antioxidant supplementation in pregnant women with low antioxidant status. Hypertens pregnancy. 2006;25:241-253.

Reprinted with exclusive permission from The Townsend Letter, October 2007.

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