Experts doubt diet supplements in pre-eclampsia prevention

AN L-ARGININE dietary supplement plus antioxidants holds promise for prevention of pre-eclampsia, researchers say after a study in high-risk women.

More than 600 pregnant women from 20 weeks’ gestation took part in a three-arm trial comparing the effect of daily consumption of nutraceutical food bars containing L-arginine and vitamins, with bars containing vitamins alone, or placebo bars.

The women, in Mexico City, had either experienced pre-eclampsia or had a first-degree relative with a history of the condition.

Researchers found only 12.7% of women taking the L-arginine plus vitamin bars developed pre-eclampsia, compared with 22.5% among those taking vitamin bars and 30.2% of the placebo group. 

However in an editorial, clinicians cautioned that pre-eclampsia was a complex syndrome and a single treatment was unlikely to be effective in all women at risk.

They also criticised the study design, pointing out the