~ Multivitamin Use Lowers Preeclampsia Risk - A Complication of Pregnancy

óD Dye, Life Extension

In a report published online in advance of publication of the September 1, 2006 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh revealed that lean women who used multivitamins before and during their pregnancies reduced the risk of preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is a complication of pregnancy characterized by elevated blood pressure, swelling of the extremities and protein in the urine. If untreated, the condition can progress to eclampsia, which can lead to seizures, coma, and the death of the mother or child.

For the current study, Graduate School of Public Health assistant professor of epidemiology Lisa Bodnar, PhD, MPH, RD, and her University of Pittsburgh colleagues used data from 1,835 women enrolled in the University of Pittsburgh's Pregnancy Exposures and Preeclampsia Prevention Study between 1997 and 2001. They found that women at less than 16 weeks gestation who did not use multivitamins or prenatal vitamins during the previous six months had a 4.4 percent incidence of preeclampsia, while those who reported using multivitamins experienced a 3.8 percent incidence, which conferred a 45 percent lower adjusted risk. When participants whose body mass index was less than 25 (defined as non-overweight) were separately analyzed, those who used multivitamins had a 71 percent lower risk of preeclampsia than nonusers.

"At this time, multivitamin use makes little apparent difference in preeclampsia rates for women who are overweight before pregnancy. Even so, the results suggest that regular multivitamin use in the pre-pregnancy period may help to prevent preeclampsia," Dr Bodnar stated. "It may be that typical multivitamins, which contain low nutrient doses, may not be adequate to overcome the metabolic challenges associated with the development of preeclampsia along with being overweight and pregnant," she added. "But again, more study is needed to test these ideas."
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