Diet against pregnancy complications

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Vitamins plus amino acid reduce the risk of pregnancy complications

A special diet allows women to prevent preeclampsia (pregnancy complications) during pregnancy, reports a Mexican / US research team in the current issue of the "British Medical Journey". By taking vitamins and a certain amino acid, the risk of preeclampsia during pregnancy is significantly reduced, write Felipe Vadillo-Ortega from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and colleagues.

On average, five to seven percent of women in industrialized countries suffer from pre-eclampsia during pregnancy, the researchers explain. Especially pregnant women with high blood pressure (hypertension), diabetes and obesity, as well as first-time mothers and women over the age of 35 are affected by the serious complications of pregnancy, whereby pre-eclampsia is often the cause of premature births. However, the research team led by Felipe Vadillo-Ortega reports that the risk of preeclampsia can be prevented relatively efficiently by supplementing the body with detoxifying vitamins and the amino acid L-arginine.

Amino acid and vitamins in action against pre-eclampsia In the assumption that the amino acid L-arginine could have a pre-eclampsia preventive effect, since it has a positive effect on blood flow during pregnancy, the researchers tested the use of the amino acid as a dietary supplement. At the same time, detoxifying vitamins, so-called antioxidants, were used to investigate their effects in conjunction with the amino acid L-arginine. As part of their study, the researchers divided more than 650 pregnant women in a Mexico City hospital, who were shown to be at high risk of preeclampsia, into three groups. The first group received food bars from the 20th week of pregnancy until birth, which contained L-arginine and antioxidants (vitamins) as a supplement. The second group received bars, which only had vitamins without the corresponding amino acid, and the bars of the third group were neither enriched with vitamins nor with L-arginine. The participants in the third group served as a control group for the study.

Significant reduction in risk of pregnancy complications As part of their study, the researchers were able to demonstrate that 30.2 percent of pregnant women in the group without dietary supplements developed preeclampsia. The participants in the group with the vitamin bars were in a much better position. Only 22.5 percent of them developed preeclampsia. In pregnant women, whose bars contained both vitamins and the amino acid L-arginine, only 12.7 percent of high-risk patients showed preeclampsia, the researchers report in the journal "British Medical Journey". The scientists write that the risk of preeclampsia can be significantly reduced by taking the amino acid and vitamins. Felipe Vadillo-Ortega added: "This is a relatively simple and inexpensive method to reduce the risk of pre-eclampsia." Not only the risk of illness, but also the number of premature births has been significantly reduced by the combination of amino acids and vitamins.

Health impairments due to pre-eclampsia Pre-eclampsia is characterized primarily by edema, high blood pressure and proteinuria (protein excretion in the urine). Symptoms such as dizziness and headache, visual disturbances, nausea and vomiting can also be associated with the pregnancy complications. It is not uncommon for the liver to be affected. In addition, if the course of the disease is severe, eclampsia, painful cramps, which can lead to massive health impairments, can be a possible side effect of pre-eclampsia. The consequences of eclampsia range from loss of consciousness to kidney failure to the coma of the affected patients. Similar are the impending health problems caused by the so-called HELLP syndrome, which also occurs in up to 12 percent of pregnant women with severe preeclampsia. However, HELLP syndrome can also cause significant damage to the liver. According to the experts, pre-eclampsia can be assessed as a serious risk to both mother and child. If the serious complications of pregnancy can be remedied by simply taking dietary supplements, this would be a considerable relief, especially for the risk patients. The Mexican and US researchers have therefore decided to check their results in a second study. The scientists also want to check whether the amino acid L-arginine can reduce the risk of pre-eclampsia in such a way without the vitamins. (fp)

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