A recent study has debunked a common theory that suggests antioxidant nutrients such as vitamin C and E may help reduce the risk of hypertension linked to pregnancy. Pregnant women who took vitamin C and E supplements provided no indication that it might prevent or reduce the risk of the dangerous high blood pressure condition known as preeclampsia.
Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh reported that a trial that involved more than 10,000 women found no sign that taking vitamin C and E supplements did anything to prevent the diagnosis of preeclampsia in women. It is a condition where pregnant women experience a sudden increase in blood pressure that usually occurs after the 20th week of their pregnancy. The said condition can lead to serious consequences that can affect both the mother and the fetus.
Other prior studies have suggested that antioxidants such as vitamins C and E could prevent preeclampsia. But the said trial showed that there were no substantial proof that it can reduce the risks of pregnant women from developing the said condition.
"That was the disappointing news," according to Dr. James M. Roberts, lead researcher from the departments of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Pittsburgh. "On the other hand, there was no evidence of problems associated with it [the vitamins] that might have been suspected from earlier trials," he further added. But there was also an interesting finding from the said study that seem to indicate that women who took the vitamin supplements also experienced spikes in blood pressure more often that those who did not.
Dr. Roberts’s team randomly assigned more than 10,000 pregnant women to take either a placebo or a vitamin C and E supplement on a daily basis, from between the 9th and the 16th week of their pregnancy. All the women who participated were having their first child. All of the participants to the study were healthy with no one previously diagnosed with high blood pressure, kidney disease or gestational diabetes.
The results showed that both groups had similar incidence of hypertension linked to their pregnancy along with seizures, blood or liver abnormalities, preeclampsia and other pregnancy related conditions. These conditions occurred in 6.1 percent of the women taking vitamin supplements and 5.7 percent in those who took the placebo. From that number, 7.2 percent of the women taking vitamin supplements developed preeclampsia as compared to 6.7 percent in women who took the placebo. The numbers indicate that there was no significant difference statistically between the two groups.