Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Expectant women who have low levels of manganese, an essential mineral which the body requires to function properly are likely to develop preeclampsia. This is according to a study published on Tuesday in the medical journal Epidemiology.
Researchers at John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health established the link between the mineral and the condition after analyzing data from 1,312 women whom they followed through pregnancy. The researchers divided the women into three equally sized groups according to their measured manganese levels categorizing them as low, medium, and high.
They found those in the high manganese group to have just half the risk of preeclampsia compared to those in the low-manganese group. 48 of the women involved in the study developed preeclampsia.
With these findings which come at a time of increasing rates of preeclampsia coupled with not many options for treatment especially in low-income countries, the researchers suggest a possibility that boosting manganese levels in women before and during pregnancy could potentially reduce the preeclampsia risk.
“If our findings are confirmed by other prospective pre-birth cohorts, then this association between low manganese and preeclampsia should be examined experimentally, first in mice and then in humans,” says study senior author Noel Mueller who recommends more studies to establish whether pregnant women should take more high manganese diets as a prevention measure.
However, many common foods are rich in manganese such as legumes, bread, rice, pineapples and leafy vegetables.
If this research is confirmed by further studies, recommending such would go a long way in saving women from preeclampsia which claims about 550 women in Uganda annually. Experts in Uganda say the condition that progresses into eclampsia characterized by seizures and organ dysfunction is currently the second leading cause of maternal death.
Preeclampsia claims an estimated 76,000 women globally every year. The condition is characterised by high blood pressure, swelling of the face, hands and feet, difficulty in breathing, loss of vision, chronic headache, nausea and excessive weight gain.