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Extra Doses of Vitamins C, E Don't Guard Against Preeclampsia
Date:11/30/2007

l condition.

"We don't have a good way to reduce the incidence of preeclampsia, except in calcium-deficient populations and those tend not to be in the U.S.," Spinnato said. "There is some evidence that still supports the use of baby aspirin among patients at risk, but even that is argued pretty heavily."

An Australian study published last year also found no benefit to vitamin C and E supplementation.

The current study involved 707 women at four Brazilian sites who were in their second trimester of pregnancy and who had chronic hypertension or a prior history of preeclampsia.

The women were randomly assigned to receive 1,000 milligrams of vitamin C with 400 International Units of vitamin E or a placebo daily.

The rate of preeclampsia was 13.8 percent in the vitamin group and 15.6 percent in placebo group, which was not a statistically significant difference.

There appeared to be no harmful effects on the fetus, a finding echoed in previous trials.

But this study had one surprise finding: more frequent premature rupture of membranes among women taking vitamins. "That was completely unexpected," said Spinnato, who is following up on the finding.

Other than the possibility that vitamin E is canceling out vitamin C, there is no clear explanation for why the combination didn't work.

"One of the continuing challenges to vitamin supplementation as a general thing is getting it from leafy vegetables is different than getting it from a pill," Spinnato said. "There are also those who argue that we didn't start [giving the vitamins] early enough, but that argument is difficult to swallow. There are medical and legal ramifications even for vitamins."

More information

To learn more about preeclampsia, visit the March of Dimes.



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