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New research on diet and supplements during pregnancy and beyond

The foods and nutrients a woman consumes while pregnant have important health implications for her and her baby. Nutrition 2019, the annual meeting of the American Society for Nutrition, will feature new research on prenatal vitamins, infant supplements and the impacts of a mother's diet during pregnancy and after the baby is born.  


June 17, 2019
By AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR NUTRITION

Topics

Studies examine dosage and labeling of common supplements

Many prenatal supplements contain too much folic acid
Consuming folic acid prior to pregnancy helps prevent birth defects. But a new study found most prenatal supplements were labeled as containing more folic acid than the current recommended daily intake. The study also revealed different agencies and scientific bodies provide conflicting messaging around the optimal intake of folic acid (from supplements) and folate (from food) during pregnancy.

Prenatal vitamins often have nutrient content higher than labeled
Chemical analysis of the contents of 24 prenatal multivitamins representing about 60 percent of the prenatal multivitamin products sold through U.S. pharmacies in 2015-2016 revealed that most contained greater quantities of vitamins and minerals than was declared on the label, perhaps to account for possible losses during storage. The greatest difference was seen for vitamin D, with supplements containing an average of 29 percent more vitamin D than was indicated on product labels. By offering a more accurate picture of supplements’ contents, the findings can help scientists who study the impacts of nutrients on health outcomes, researchers say. Karen W. Andrews, U.S. Department of Agriculture, will present this research on Sunday, June 9, from 4:45 – 5:00 p.m. in the Baltimore Convention Center, Room 317 (abstract).

Vitamin D supplementation improves babies’ growth 
Babies born with low stores of vitamin D can have problems with bone growth, and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children get at least 400 International Units of the vitamin each day. In a recent clinical trial, newborns with low vitamin D stores who were given a higher dosage (1,000 IU/day) of vitamin D supplementation more rapidly built up their stores and gained more lean body mass by six months of age compared to those given the standard of care (400 IU/day). Compared to a group of infants born with very good vitamin D stores, the babies receiving the 1,000 IU/day intervention appeared to have normal lean mass. Maryam Razaghi, McGill University, will present this research on Monday, June 10, from 12:45 – 1:45 p.m. in the Baltimore Convention Center, Halls A-B (poster #301) (abstract).

Insights on staying healthy when you’re ‘eating for two’

Evidence that eating well before pregnancy lowers risk of preeclampsia
While scientists aren’t sure what causes the dangerous pregnancy complication preeclampsia, or how to prevent it, a new study suggests diet plays a role. Among more than 20,000 pregnancies, researchers found women who followed a healthier diet before getting pregnant were significantly less likely to develop preeclampsia. Diet quality was assessed based on adherence to the American Heart Association dietary recommendations and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) dietary pattern. Mariel Arvizu, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, will present this research on Tuesday, June 11, from 11:45 a.m. – noon in the Baltimore Convention Center, Room 317 (abstract).

New insights on pregnancy and obesity
Obesity before pregnancy increases the risk of some health problems for a pregnant woman and her baby, but current recommendations to minimize these risks do not differentiate between mild and severe obesity. A new study of more than 25,000 women found those with more severe obesity gained less weight during pregnancy, but had larger babies, than those with less severe obesity. These results suggest the risks and optimal management of obesity during pregnancy may vary depending on severity. This study also found only one in five obese women gained the recommended amount of weight during pregnancy while 60 percent gained excessive weight. Amy R. Nichols, The University of Texas at Austin, will present this research on Monday, June 10, from 12:45 – 1:45 p.m. in the Baltimore Convention Center, Halls A-B (poster #227) (abstract).


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