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Epidemiology. 2002 Jul;13(4):409-16.

Vitamin C and the risk of preeclampsia--results from dietary questionnaire and plasma assay.

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Department of Epidemiology, University of Washington School of Public Health and Community Medicine, 1959 NE Pacific Avenue, Seattle, WA 98195, USA.



Oxidative stress plays an important role in the pathophysiology of preeclampsia.


In a case-control study of 109 women with preeclampsia and 259 controls, maternal dietary and plasma vitamin C in relation to preeclampsia risk were assessed. Dietary intake during the periconceptional period and pregnancy was ascertained using a semiquantitative food frequency questionnaire. Logistic regression procedures were used to derive odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI). Plasma ascorbic acid was determined using automated enzymatic procedures.


After adjusting for maternal age, parity, prepregnancy body mass index, and energy intake, women who consumed <85 mg of vitamin C daily (below the recommended dietary allowance), as compared with others, experienced a doubling in preeclampsia risk (OR = 2.1; 95% CI = 1.1-3.9). The OR for extreme quartiles of plasma ascorbic acid (<42.5 vs > or = 63.3 micromol/liter) was 2.3 (95% CI = 1.1-4.6). Compared with women in the highest quartile, those with plasma ascorbic acid <34.6 micromol/liter (lowest decile) experienced a 3.8-fold increased risk of preeclampsia (95% CI = 1.7-8.8).


Our results, if confirmed, would suggest that current public health efforts to increase intake of fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C and other antioxidants may reduce the risk of preeclampsia.

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