Mothers with Low Vitamin E Levels More Likely to Have Children with Asthma?

MARCH 07, 2017
Children born to mothers with low vitamin E levels may be more likely to require asthma medications, according to data presented this week at the 2017 American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) Annual Meeting in Atlanta, Georgia.

The study, from researchers at Vanderbilt and Northwestern University, followed 652 children and their mothers for the first 2 years of the child’s life. Researchers used post-pregnancy maternal samples to test mothers for 2 constituents, or isoforms, of vitamin E including alpha-tocopherol and gamma-tocopherol. There are 8 different isoforms, of which alpha- and gamma-tocopherol are the ones that scientists know the most about.

The mothers then completed annual questionnaires to ascertain if their child had recurrent wheezing or took asthma medications.

The researchers noted that children with wheezing were more likely to be born to mothers with significantly lower concentrations of the vitamin E isoform alpha-tocopherol. Women with the highest levels of the vitamin E isoform alpha-tocopherol after giving birth were less likely to have a child with symptoms.

High amounts of the other vitamin E isoform, gamma-tocopherol, in the mother’s system did not have the same protective effect against wheeze, and modified the protective effect of alpha-tocopherol.

“The major sources of vitamin E are oils. Sunflower and safflower oil are highest in the vitamin E isoform alpha-tocopherol, while corn, soy, and canola oil are higher in the vitamin E isoform gamma-tocopherol. Even though vitamin E is comprised of these individual isoforms, the isoforms have different effects on health in our human studies and animal experiments,” Cosby A. Stone, MD, lead author of the study said in a press release.

This study is funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Asthma and Allergic Diseases Cooperative Research Center.

Reference
Stone CA, Cook-Mills JA, Gebretsadik T, et al. Maternal Vitamin E Plasma Isoform Concentrations and Association with Child Wheezing and Asthma Outcomes. JACI Special Supplement. 2017; 139(2): AB83.
 

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