OBJECTIVE: To investigate maternal and neonatal outcomes after antioxidant supplementation relatively early in pregnancy (8 to 12 weeks) for pregnant women with low antioxidant status. METHODS: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of daily antioxidant supplementation was performed on pregnant women screening positive for low antioxidant status at 8 to 12 weeks of gestation. Low antioxidant status was defined as a superoxidedismutase (SOD) level below 1102 U/g Hb or 164 U/mL. The supplementation group received the following antioxidants daily: vitamins A (1000 IU), B6 (2.2 mg), B12 (2.2 microg), C (200 mg), and E (400 IU), folic acid (400 microg), N-acetylcysteine (200 mg), Cu (2 mg), Zn (15 mg), Mn (0.5 mg), Fe (30 mg), calcium (800 mg), and selenium (100 microg). The control group received Fe (30 mg) and folic acid (400 microg). Maternal (preeclampsia, abortion, and hypertension) and perinatal outcomes were assessed. RESULTS: In the supplementation group (29 subjects), we observed 2 cases of preeclampsia (6.8%, 1 mild and 1 severe), 1 of IUGR (birth weight 2300 g at 38 weeks), and 1 preterm delivery. In the control group (31 subjects), there were 8 abortions, 9 cases of preeclampsia (29%, 6 mild and 3 severe) with perinatal outcome: 3 preterm delivery cases and 1 IUGR (birth weight 2030 g at 39 weeks). Preeclampsia was significantly less frequent in the supplementation group when compared to the control group (2 vs. 9 cases, p = 0.043, OR = 0.18 [95% CI: 0.03, 0.92]). Finally we focused on the prediction of preeclampsia at 8 to 12 weeks. Combined sensitivity of markers of antioxidant status (SOD slutathione peroxidase, [GPx], and total anti-oxidant status [TAS]) was 33% (false-positive rate of 4.5%). CONCLUSION: Antioxidant supplementation was associated with better maternal and perinatal outcome in pregnant women with low antioxidant status than control supplementation with iron and folate alone. In a selected population already screened positive for low SOD, preeclampsia can be detected in 33% of asymptomatic cases in the first trimester using SOD, GPx, and TAS. It seems feasible that panels of both biochemical and molecular markers may be clinically useful in the prediction of this disease
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