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Vitamins C and E and other antioxidants in pregnancy and breastfeeding 

Vitamins C and E and other antioxidants in pregnancy and breastfeeding
Vitamins C and E and other antioxidants in pregnancy and breastfeeding

Sir Peter Gluckman

, Mark Hanson

, Chong Yap Seng

, and Anne Bardsley

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date: 01 March 2021

Pregnancy is characterized by oxidative stress, wherein high metabolic demands are accompanied by heightened oxygen requirements in tissues. Additionally, a number of disorders of pregnancy are characterized by a reduction in antioxidant activity. Consequently, it has been hypothesized that maternal supplementation with antioxidants, particularly vitamins C and E, may be beneficial in preventing the occurrence of these disorders. Other important dietary antioxidants include carotenoids, and polyphenols (flavonoids). In general, studies of the effect of providing supplementary vitamin C and E to improve pregnancy outcomes have been inconsistent or have shown no positive effect; some evidence suggests high-dose vitamin E may be harmful. These and other antioxidants are necessary in pregnancy but should ideally be obtained from food sources.

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