Vitamin C and E Supplements do not Reduce Risk for Blood Pressure Disorders of Pregnancy
In a NIH study researchers found that by taking vitamin C and E supplements starting in early pregnancy does not reduce the risk for the hypertensive disorders and their complications that occur during pregnancy.
Akinso: Vitamin C and E supplements failed to reduce the risk of preeclampsia, a potentially fatal form of hypertension in pregnancy, according to a National Institutes of Health study.
Spong: Taking vitamin C and vitamin E supplements do not reduce the risk of either hypertension, the complications associated with hypertension in pregnancy, or preeclampsia.
Akinso: Dr. Catherine Spong is the Chief of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development's Pregnancy and Perinatology Branch and co-author of the study.
Spong: We found this out because we do a very large randomized control trial of over 10,000 women who were relatively low risk meaning they didn't have problems such as hypertension or diabetes or other medical things that can increase your risk for developing preeclampsia.
Akinso: The findings appear in a recent issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. Dr. Spong explains how the study worked.
Spong: These women were randomized either to the vitamin C and vitamin E or to a matching placebo. They were then followed throughout their pregnancies and evaluated to determine whether or not they developed pregnancy induced hypertension complication to associate with hypertension or preeclampsia.
Akinso: The findings are in contrast to suggestions in some previous small studies that the vitamins could reduce the risk of preeclampsia. Dr. Spong adds that the study was conducted at 16 sites within the NICHD’s Maternal-Fetal Medicine Units Network.
Spong: So the Maternal-Fetal Medicine Units Network undertook this study to look at the largest group of women, who were at risk for preeclampsia, women in their first pregnancy, to determine whether or not vitamin C and vitamin E would be beneficial in preventing preeclampsia. Not only did we find no benefit for treatment with vitamin C or vitamin E, there was also another trial ongoing in Britain where they looked at high risk women, women with diabetes or hypertension or women who were obese. And they found not only that vitamin C and vitamin E were not beneficial they actually found a higher rate of smaller babies and of hypertension in the women who received the vitamin C and vitamin E.
Akinso: Dr. Spong says these results are very useful because they show researchers that what originally appeared to be a promising treatment did not actually offer any benefit clinically. Major funding for the study was provided by the NICHD, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, and the National Center for Research Resources. For more on the study, visit www.nichd.nih.gov. This is Wally Akinso at the National Institutes of Health Bethesda, Maryland.
About This Audio Report
Reporter: Wally Akinso
Sound Bite: Dr. Catherine Spong
Topic: Vitamins, pregnancy, hypertension, preeclampsia, high blood pressure