Zinc and calcium for a healthy pregnancy! Zinc and calcium for a healthy pregnancy!

Zinc and calcium for a healthy pregnancy!

Zinc and calcium for a healthy pregnancy!

Researchers found that women who consumed high amounts of calcium and zinc in the three months before pregnancy were significantly less likely to suffer from high blood pressure disorders during pregnancy.

The findings highlight the importance of focusing on nutrition before pregnancy, not just during it, in order to promote a healthy pregnancy.

“Our findings underscore the importance of calcium and zinc intake in the diet before pregnancy in reducing the risk of hypertensive disorders during pregnancy,” said Dr. Liping Lu, an assistant professor at Ball State University. “High intakes of zinc and calcium before pregnancy, derived from diet and supplements, are associated with a lower risk of hypertensive disorders during pregnancy.”

Lu presented the findings at NUTRITION 2024, the annual meeting of the American Society for Nutrition, held June 29-July 2 in Chicago.

High blood pressure is one of the most common disorders of pregnancy and can harm both the mother and the fetus. Given the potential harmful effects of antihypertensive medications during pregnancy, researchers have focused on opportunities to prevent serious disorders associated with high blood pressure, such as preeclampsia, through modifiable factors such as nutrition.

While women begin to focus on nutrition after pregnancy, researchers said a woman's nutritional status before pregnancy is important because it takes the body a long time to correct deficiencies or imbalances.

“A woman’s health during the pre-pregnancy period is strongly linked to the outcome of pregnancy,” Lu explained. “Adequate nutrient or mineral stores in the body before pregnancy can ensure optimal nutritional status for pregnancy and support the early stages of fetal growth and development.”

The researchers conducted two separate studies using data from more than 7,700 pregnant women across the United States who provided information about their health and diet through the Nulliparous Pregnancy Outcomes Study: Monitoring Mothers-To-Be.

One study focused on calcium and the other on zinc. The researchers analyzed the relationship between pre-pregnancy intake of each mineral and rates of hypertensive disorders during pregnancy after accounting for demographic, lifestyle and health factors that are also linked to the risk of high blood pressure.

The results showed that women with the highest calcium intake before pregnancy were 24% less likely to develop hypertensive disorders during pregnancy compared to those who consumed the lowest amount of this mineral.

For zinc, participants with the highest pre-pregnancy zinc intake were 38% less likely to develop hypertensive disorders during pregnancy than those with the lowest zinc intake.

Lu noted that the findings do not necessarily prove causation, however, they are consistent with other studies that have linked higher intakes of both minerals to a lower risk of hypertension-related diseases outside of pregnancy.

In addition, calcium and zinc are known to play important roles in metabolic processes related to maintaining blood vessel health, providing a plausible biological explanation for the idea that these minerals could help prevent blood pressure disorders.

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