Improving birth outcomes one amino acid at a time

ScienceDaily | 3/8/2018 | Staff
Night987 (Posted by) Level 3
In their paper entitled, "Malaria in pregnancy alters L-arginine bioavailability and placental vascular development," Science Translational Medicine, 7 March 2018, Toronto General Research Institute (TGRI) and University of Toronto researchers report that Malawian women with malaria in pregnancy had altered levels of L-arginine which were associated with poor birth outcomes. L-arginine is an amino acid that improves blood flow and circulation and that humans get from their diet, including eggs, meat and dairy.

In an experimental model of malaria in pregnancy, supplementing the diet of pregnant mice with L-arginine increased blood vessel development in the placenta and reduced low birth weight/preterm birth and stillbirth.

Preterm - Birth - Stillbirth - Causes - Childhood

Preterm birth and stillbirth are leading causes of childhood death accounting for an estimated 2 million deaths per year; however there are few safe and effective interventions. Globally many of these poor birth outcomes are associated with maternal infections such as malaria.

Led by Dr. Chloe McDonald and Dr. Kevin Kain at the Toronto General Hospital Research Institute, University Health Network (UHN), the scientists show that supplementing the diet with L-arginine prevented malaria from depleting the L-arginine-nitric oxide (NO) pathway.

Body - L-arginine - Oxide - Blood - Vessel

In the body, L-arginine is converted into nitric oxide, which is critical for normal placental blood vessel development and healthy birth outcomes. By the time a woman delivers, there are 250 kilometres...
(Excerpt) Read more at: ScienceDaily
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