Maternal Vitamin E and Childhood Asthma: What’s the Link?

(HealthDay News) — Children born to mothers with low levels of vitamin E might be more likely to develop asthma, according to research presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, held from March 3 to 6 in Atlanta.

Cosby Stone, M.D., from the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn., and colleagues tracked the health of 652 children and their mothers for the children’s first two years of life. The researchers used post-pregnancy maternal samples to test mothers for two isoforms of vitamin E: α-tocopherol and γ-tocopherol. Mothers were asked specifically about whether their children had trouble breathing or used asthma medications.

The researchers found that children who wheezed or needed asthma medications were more likely to have mothers who had lower levels of vitamin E just after birth. Specifically, they had lower levels of α-tocopherol.

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“The major sources of vitamin E are oils. Sunflower and safflower oil are highest in the vitamin E isoform α-tocopherol, while corn, soy, and canola oil are higher in the vitamin E isoform γ-tocopherol,” Stone said in a news release from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

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