Dietary consumption and plasma concentrations of vitamin E in pregnancies complicated by preeclampsia

E. Schiff, S. A. Friedman, M. Stampfer, L. Kao, P. H. Barrett, B. M. Sibai*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE: Vitamin E, a potent antioxidant, has been suggested to play a role in preventing preeclampsia. Our aim was to determine whether consumption and plasma levels of vitamin E are lower in preeclamptic than in normal women. STUDY DESIGN: A case-control study design was used. We identified 48 women with preeclampsia (late-pregnancy hypertension, proteinuria, and hyperuricemia). Ninety normal women served as the control group. Vitamin E consumption was estimated by use of a previously validated dietary recall questionnaire administered by a single trained research nurse to 42 of the preeclamptic women and all 90 of the control women. Blood was drawn from all women and stored until assayed at -70° C. Plasma vitamin E concentrations were determined by use of high-pressure liquid chromatography. RESULTS: The mean dietary vitamin E consumption was similar for both the preeclamptic and control groups (11.74 ± 9.39 vs 11.34 ± 7.51 mg/24 hr, p = 0.73). When the analysis also included estimations of vitamin E supplements, the total consumption was found to be higher in those who had preeclampsia than in controls (37.20 ± 20.54 vs 22.3 ± 27.24 mg/24 hr, p = 0.003). The mean plasma vitamin E concentration was significantly higher in preeclamptic than in control patients (1.41 ± 0.39 vs 1.15 ± 0.32 mg/dl, p < 0.001). Among the preeclamptic patients, those with severe disease associated with HELLP (hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, and low platelets) syndrome (n = 11) had the highest plasma vitamin E concentrations. CONCLUSIONS: We found no evidence that low vitamin E consumption is related to the development of preeclampsia. Higher plasma vitamin E concentrations in preeclamptic patients are speculated to represent a response to oxidative stress.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1024-1028
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number4 I
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Lipid peroxidation
  • preeclampsia
  • vitamin E


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