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Biol Trace Elem Res. 2001 May;80(2):107-13.

Plasma extracellular superoxide dismutase activity in healthy pregnant women is not influenced by zinc supplementation.

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  • 1Departments of Nutrition Sciences, University of Alabama at Birmingham, 35294, USA.


We hypothesized that plasma extracellular superoxide dismutase (EC-SOD) activity reflects the zinc nutriture of healthy pregnant women. Sixty-three women were selected from 580 African-American women who participated in a clinical trial to evaluate the effect of prenatal zinc supplementation on pregnancy outcome. Half of the women received zinc (25 mg/d) and the other half was given a placebo from about 19 wk gestation to delivery. In the trial, a positive effect of zinc supplementation on birthweight was observed, indicating that the population as a whole had suboptimal zinc nutriture. Using plasma samples obtained during the trial, EC-SOD activities were measured and the values were compared with plasma zinc concentrations and plasma alkaline phosphatase activities. Plasma EC-SOD activities in our subjects were lower than previously published values for healthy adults in Korea. Although plasma EC-SOD activity may reflect severe zinc deficiency, it is not a sensitive marker for marginal deficiency status. Plasma EC-SOD activities did not prove to be a better indicator of zinc nutriture of pregnant women than either plasma zinc or plasma alkaline phosphatase activities.

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