Sunday, April 18, 2010

Research Highlights: Study Finds Vitamins not Effective in Lowering Pregnancy Related Hypertension

Study Finds Vitamins not Effective in Lowering Pregnancy Related Hypertension
By: Caroline Melhado

The New England Journal of Medicine published a study investigating the effect of supplemental vitamins in pregnant women who were at risk of hypertension. Researchers performed a double-blind, randomized test to test the efficacy of supplemental vitamin C and E in preventing pregnancy-associated hypertension. They found that the supplements did not significantly decrease the risk of hypertension or negative perinatal/maternal outcomes.

The outcome data was calculated from 9,969 women who did not have previous symptoms of hypertension and had not past their 16th week in gestation. The women were randomly assigned to receive 1000 mg of Vitamin C and 400 IU of Vitamin E or a placebo. The outcomes investigated were pregnancy related hypertension, eclamptic seizure, preterm birth and maternal or perinatal death. Results confirmed that vitamin C and E supplements did not significantly reduce the risk of hypertension, for the relative risk of the vitamin group was 1.07.

While some other studies had previously suggested the role of vitamin C and E in lowering rates of hypertension in pregnant women, a new slew of studies have not been able to reproduce this result. Most of the women in the trail were already taking prenatal vitamins, so many researchers suggested that the extra supplement was superfluous to already normal levels of vitamin C and E.

NEJM Volume 362:1282-1291
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