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J Am Coll Nutr. 1996 Feb;15(1):14-20.

Vitamin and mineral deficiencies which may predispose to glucose intolerance of pregnancy.

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  • 1Sansum Medical Research Foundation, Santa Barbara, California 93105, USA.


There is an increased requirement for nutrients in normal pregnancy, not only due to increased demand, but also increased loss. There is also an increased insulin-resistant state during pregnancy mediated by the placental anti-insulin hormones estrogen, progesterone, human somatomammotropin; the pituitary hormone prolactin; and the adrenal hormone, cortisol. If the maternal pancreas cannot increase production of insulin of sustain normoglycemia despite these anti-insulin hormones, gestational diabetes occurs. Gestational diabetes is associated with excessive nutrient losses due to glycosuria. Specific nutrient deficiencies of chromium, magnesium, potassium and pyridoxine may potentiate the tendency towards hyperglycemia in gestational diabetic women because each of these four deficiencies causes impairment of pancreatic insulin production. This review describes the pathophysiology of the hyperglycemia and the nutrient loss in gestational diabetes and further postulates the mechanism whereby vitamin/mineral supplementation may be useful to prevent or ameliorate pregnancy-related glucose intolerance.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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