T Ahsan, M Ahsan, S Islam
antioxidant vitamins, postnatal
T Ahsan, M Ahsan, S Islam. Postnatal changes in maternal serum antioxidant vitamins. The Internet Journal of Nutrition and Wellness. 2007 Volume 6 Number 1.
The antioxidant vitamins act as the first line of defense against free radicals attack and lipid peroxidation. Vitamin E is by far the most abundant lipid soluble antioxidant in humans and belongs to the first line of antioxidant defence against lipid soluble peroxyl radicals (1, 2). Vitamin C is a quencher of free radicals as well as singlet oxygen. It also regenerates the vitamin E. Beta-carotene, by quenching singlet oxygen, also functions as an antioxidant. The antioxidant vitamins have been reported to play an important role in the regulation and eventual outcome of human pregnancy (3). It has been suggested that deficiency in antioxidant vitamins would be associated with the development of pregnancy complications like pre-eclampsia, eclampsia (4, 5). There has been a report on changes of antioxidant vitamins and malondialdehyde in postnatal maternal and neonatal serum as compared to those in the serum at delivery or in cord blood (6). We report here the serum concentrations of antioxidant vitamins (E, C, A) in postnatal mothers, which were compared changes in the maternal serum antioxidant vitamin concentrations
Materials and methods
The study included 39 healthy postnatal mothers, who delivered their babies at the Dhaka Medical College Hospital, Dhaka. They were selected randomly irrespective of their socioeconomic status. Women with any pregnancy related or other long standing illnesses that could affect their nutritional status and/or women taking antioxidant vitamin supplements were excluded from the study. Prior informed consent was obtained from the participating mothers. Ethical permission was taken from Bangladesh Medical Research Council (BMRC), Dhaka. Serum antioxidant vitamin levels of postnatal mothers were compared to those of prenatal mothers. The prenatal data used were obtained from our earlier study of 35 healthy pregnants in their late trimester (7).
A 5ml venous blood sample was collected from the postnatal mothers on the second and third day of delivery in specimen tubes. Blood samples were spun at 3000rmp for 10min to serum, which was then aliquoted in eppendorf tubes and stored at –20°C for analysis of α-tocopherol and retinol.
SPSS software package (version 10.0, SPSS Inc. Chicago, USA) was used to analyse the data. Descriptive statistics were calculated for all variables. Values were expressed as percentage and mean±SD. Comparison of serum vitamin E, C and A concentrations between subjects and controls were performed by cross table variables and independent sample t-test.
Table 1 shows the postnatal maternal serum concentrations of vitamin E, C, and A, which were 15.30±5.04µmol/L, 18.41±10.76µmol/L and 0.87±0.35µmol/L respectively. The postnatal change in serum levels of vitamins E, C and A with respect to those in prenatal values are shown in table 2. Compared to the prenatal mothers, there was a significant decrease in serum vitamin E concentration (15.30±5.04 vs23.54±8.5µmol/L, p=0.000), and increase in vitamin C (18.41±10.76 vs 14.0±8.2µmol/L, p=0.000) and in vitamin A (0.87±0.35 vs 0.85±0.24µmol/L, p=0.015) in the postnatal mothers. It was noted that the majority of postnatal mothers had vitamin E and A value in the middle and top range, while the vitamin C was in lower range (table 1).
To our knowledge, this is by far the second report on the postnatal serum levels of antioxidant vitamins. Bolisetty et al (6) first reported the postnatal changes in maternal plasma antioxidant vitamins, where increase of plasma levels of vitamins E, A and β-carotene in postnatal mothers were documented. Our finding on the rise of postnatal serum vitamin C and A level is consistent with the report of Bolisetty et al (6), but decrease of vitamin E level is conflicting. It is not clear to us. Vitamin C, the most effective antioxidant in human plasma, provides major defense against the diseases caused by oxidative stress (3, 9). Therefore, the rise of postnatal serum antioxidant vitamins is suggested to be due to withdrawal of oxidative stress induced during pregnancy (6, 10). In conclusion, it was observed that compared to the prenatal vitamin level, serum vitamin C and A levels were observed increase, while vitamin E level was lowered significantly in postnatal mothers. This is by far the second report on the postnatal maternal serum antioxidant vitamins.
Sheikh Nazrul Islam, B.Pharm (Hons), M.Pharm, PhD (Immunol, Strath., Glasgow, UK) Professor, Institute of Nutrition and Food Science University of Dhaka, Dhaka-1000 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org