Vitamin E Levels May Influence Risk of Miscarriage

Maternal vitamin E status in the first trimester may influence the risk of early pregnancy loss, according to research supported by DSM.

PARSIPANNY, N.J.—Maternal vitamin E status in the first trimester may influence the risk of early pregnancy loss, according to research supported by DSM. (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2014, Nov. Online. DOI: 10.3945/ ajcn.114.094920)

In rural Bangladesh, which is a typically undernourished population, alpha-tocopherol and gamma-tocopherol plasma status was measured in 1,605 women. According to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), alpha-tocopherol accounts for vitamin E activity. In the study, 1,161 of the women (72.3 percent) had low-to-deficient vitamin E status defined by a plasma alpha-tocopherol concentration of <12.0 µmol/L. The most important finding was that women with low alpha-tocopherol concentrations were almost twice as likely to miscarry compared to women with normal status. Women with low gamma-tocopherol status were also significantly more likely to miscarry than those with higher concentrations.

Vitamin E status is rarely assessed in pregnant women in undernourished populations. The cutoff of plasma a-tocopherol concentration 12.0 µmol/L was proposed to define vitamin E deficiency in normal, healthy adults. However, to date, there is no consensus on the definition of vitamin E deficiency in pregnant women because alpha-tocopherol concentrations increase with blood lipids over the course of pregnancy.

The findings show an association between adequate alpha-tocopherol status and reduced risk of miscarriage in human populations, inviting future study of potential beneficial effects of achieving adequate vitamin E status during pregnancy.

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