Myo-inositol may reduce risk of gestational diabetes

A small pilot study in Italy suggests that myo-inositol supplements may help reduce a woman's risk for developing diabetes during pregnancy.

About 5 percent of women with no history of diabetes can develop high blood sugar while pregnant, increasing the odds for health complications in both mother and child.

Additionally, about 50 percent of women who develop gestational diabetes can end up with type 2 diabetes within five to 10 years.

Pregnant women with history of type 2 diabetes studied

The study, published online in Diabetes Care, included 220 pregnant women who all had a family history of type 2 diabetes. Half the women were given two grams of myo-inositol supplements twice a day, along with the recommended amount of folic acid for pregnant women. The other half were given just folic acid at the end of the first trimester and throughout the pregnancy.

Only 6 percent of the women taking myo-inositol supplements developed gestational diabetes, while 15 percent of the folic acid group did.

Additionally, seven babies in the folic acid group met the criteria for being overweight, while none of the babies in the myo-inositol group met this criteria.

How does it work?

Myo-inositol is a substance considered to be part of the B-vitamin group that is produced in human tissues and can also be found in foods like fruits, nuts, beans and grains. It has been shown to help women become more fertile, increase uterine contractions and has even been linked to weight loss. But researchers aren't sure just how the supplement works in pregnant mothers--or how it might prevent diabetes.

"The results are promising, but we would need a larger trial and a broader group of women before we could recommend this supplement," Dr. Wanda Nicholson, of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, told Reuters Health.

Other experts note that there is no tried-and-true way to prevent diabetes during pregnancy, other than following a sensible diet and reaching a healthy weight before getting pregnant.

Source: Reuters Health

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