Multivitamins to reduce Pre-eclampsia

Pre-eclampsia (PE) is a serious complication of pregnancy that currently affects 6-8% of all pregnancies in Australia. Griffith Health Institute (GHI) researchers have recently
found that multivitamin supplements, including those that contain selenium, can reduce the incidence of PE, especially for overweight mothers.

PE is the most common of the dangerous pregnancy complications and as well as saving lives, GHI’s discovery could save the health system around $280 million a year.

Dr Jessica Vanderlelie and Professor Tony Perkins from the Griffith Health Institute will discuss their work this week at the Gold Coast Health and Medical Research Conference.

Dr Vanderlelie and Professor Perkins’ research focuses on placental trophoblast cells, which are important in the creation of the placenta and rely on antioxidants.

Pre-eclampsia occurs when a woman does not have enough antioxidants in her system and the damaged trophoblast cells, which are shed naturally during pregnancy, create a reaction in the mother’s immune system that further damages the placenta. The end result can have detrimental effects on maternal health and may require premature delivery of the baby.

“Selenium is a mineral naturally present in our food, but which we believe is reducing in our soil (and thus our vegetables) due to farmers not using it in their fertilisers,” says Dr

“We know selenium plays an important role because we can actually induce PE in pregnant rats by removing selenium from their diet.

“Women who are planning to get pregnant, or find themselves pregnant, need to start using a multivitamin with selenium in it as soon as possible. Not all multivitamins contain
selenium so read the list of ingredients on the back.

A cruicial time to prevent PE

“The crucial time to prevent PE is at the very start, the first trimester.

“Obese and overweight women are also five times more likely to get PE and multivitamin use appears to bring this back to normal risk levels.”

Dr Vanderlelie and Professor Perkins’ research is part of the Environments for Healthy Living study being conducted as part of GHI’s Population and Social Research group based at Griffith’s Logan campus.

For more information on the program at the Gold Coast Health and Medical Research Conference, guest speakers or how to register, please visit the conference website:

WHAT: Gold Coast Health and Medical Research Conference 2013
WHEN: Thursday November 28 and Friday November 29.
Registration from 8am.
WHERE: QT Hotel, 7 Staghorn Avenue, Surfers Paradise.
CONTACT: Louise Durack, 0419 649 516 or email: [email protected]