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A recent study published in Environmental Health Perspectives found that children who were exposed to higher levels of manganese and selenium in utero were less likely to have childhood high blood pressure. The findings were derived from a trace mineral analysis of red blood cells from 1,194 women in the Boston area who gave birth between 2002 and 2013. The blood was collected 24 to 72 hours after delivery, and the children’s blood pressure readings were taken at clinic visits 3 to 15 years later.
For every doubling of selenium levels in the mothers, the children’s systolic blood pressure averaged 6.23 points lower. Doubling of maternal manganese levels was associated with an average systolic blood pressure 2.62 points lower. In addition, the findings suggest that manganese may provide protection against the hypertensive-promoting effects of cadmium, a toxic heavy metal.
Senior author of the study, Noel Mueller, PhD, stated: “This work highlights the importance of nutrition and environmental exposures in the womb for a child’s cardiovascular health.” Common food sources of manganese and selenium include nuts, grains, fish, shellfish, and leafy vegetables.
Sources: Higher selenium and manganese levels during pregnancy may protect babies from future high blood pressure. Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. June 23, 2021. jhsph.edu/news/news-releases/2021/higher-selenium-and-manganese-levels-during-pregnancy-may-protect-babies-from-future-high-blood-pressure.html.
Zhang M, Liu T, Wang G, et al. In utero exposure to heavy metals and trace elements and childhood blood pressure in a U.S. urban, low-income, minority birth cohort. Environmental Health Perspectives, 2021; 129(6). DOI: 10.1289/EHP8325.
Published in the Price-Pottenger Journal of Health and Healing
Summer 2021 | Volume 45, Number 2
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