‘Super soup’ test in asthma trial
“Natural supplementation of vitamin in soup rather than a tablet based approach “
Scientists are to begin clinical trials to determine if eating more foods rich in vitamin E during pregnancy prevents childhood asthma.
Women will eat soups naturally high in the vitamin, which it is believed may promote lung growth in the developing foetus. Children born with good lung function are less likely to develop asthma.
"The current study adopts a novel approach by using natural supplementation in soup rather than a tablet based approach: it will be interesting to see if this proves more successful".
Avoiding potions and pills :
"People generally not use to take vitamin E tablets; normally most people get their vitamin E from food.
"Its matter of interest whether its other nutrients that go with vitamin E in food that may be responsible for the effect. There may be interactions between vitamin E and the other nutrients.
"So, scientists are very keen to do a dietary intervention rather than a pill or a potion."
But vitamin E was not the only thing that altered, as Prof Deveraux observed: "Lots of other things changed, like the fatty acids changed, the zinc changed, the selenium, the vitamin D - and all these are nutrients which we know have been associated during pregnancy with childhood asthma."
Super soups :
To overcome these problems, the team approached a commercial soup manufacturer to develop a range of enhanced soups. Each one is naturally rich in vitamin E - and other potentially important minerals - and for each there is a similarly tasting "normal" soup that could be used for the control group of pregnant women.
The team now plan to test the soups in a small pilot study involving 50 women. They will be enrolled during early pregnancy and asked to eat either enriched or normal soup three times a week.
The study will show whether the new dietary intervention is well tolerated by the women and - by carrying out blood measurements - if it has the desired effect on vitamin intake.
The overall approach has support from both nutritionists and asthma experts.
Prof Maijaliisa Erkkola, from the University of Helsinki, told BBC News: "Appropriate food-based strategies that could contribute to reducing low maternal intakes of vitamin E to prevent asthma in offspring and to improve health of children are welcome."
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