Piloting a Dietary Vitamin E Intervention During Pregnancy


In the last forty years the prevalence of asthma has increased in westernised countries. We have hypothesised that this increase may be a consequence of changing diet. Several birth cohort studies have now reported an association between reduced maternal vitamin E intake during pregnancy and childhood asthma.

However, it remains to be seen whether increasing maternal vitamin E intake during pregnancy reduces the risk of childhood asthma. We are planning a large placebo controlled trial in pregnant women, to investigate whether optimisation of dietary vitamin E intake to the recommended 15mg/day reduces the likelihood of childhood asthma. We believe that a dietary intervention using vitamin E in its natural form of food is more likely to be successful and acceptable than a vitamin E supplement. We have previously demonstrated than pregnant women can optimise their vitamin E intake using a personalised dietary plan with the help of a dietitian however this intervention was complex and could not be translated into everyday use. With commercial support we have developed a range of soups containing foods naturally rich in vitamin E designed to optimise maternal vitamin E intake to 15mg/day. A range of similar tasting and looking placebo soups has also been developed. In this study we will pilot a randomised controlled trial of the active and placebo soups to ascertain whether pregnant women are willing and able to optimise their vitamin E intake during pregnancy using the soups in order to reduce the risk of their child developing asthma. optimising maternal vitamin E intake during pregnancy.

Full Title of Study: “A Double Blind Randomised Placebo Controlled Pilot Study of a Dietary Soup Intervention During Pregnancy to Optimise Dietary Vitamin E Intake in Relation to Childhood Asthma.”

Study Type

  • Study Type: Interventional
  • Study Design
    • Allocation: Randomized
    • Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
    • Primary Purpose: Prevention
    • Masking: Quadruple (Participant, Care Provider, Investigator, Outcomes Assessor)
  • Study Primary Completion Date: June 2013


  • Dietary Supplement: Vitamin E enhanced soup
    • vitamin E enhancement is by virtue of the natural vitamin E content of the food ingredients
  • Dietary Supplement: Non-enhanced soups
    • Similar looking and tasting soups with low vitamin E content by virtue of food ingredients

Arms, Groups and Cohorts

  • Experimental: Vitamin E enhanced diet
    • Range of three vitamin E enhanced soups (400g/tin) containing 18-20mg vitamin in natural food form. Three portions per week
  • Placebo Comparator: Non-enhanced dietary intervention
    • Range of three similar looking and tasting soups (400g/tin) with naturally low (<3mg) vitamin E content. Three portions per week

Clinical Trial Outcome Measures

Primary Measures

  • Participation of pregnant women in a randomised trial of enhanced and placebo soups from 12 weeks gestation until delivery.
    • Time Frame: 1 year

Secondary Measures

  • Dietary vitamin E intake during pregnancy.
    • Time Frame: 1 year
  • Lung function of new born infants.
    • Time Frame: 1 year

Participating in This Clinical Trial

Inclusion Criteria

  • 10-12 weeks pregnant.
  • Routine low risk antenatal care.
  • A personal or partner history of asthma at anytime.
  • Able and willing to give informed consent to participate
  • Able and willing to participate in the study procedures

Exclusion Criteria

  • Use of vitamin E supplements.
  • A history of diabetes, coagulopathies or use of anticoagulants, use of clopidogrel, cholestyramine, cyclosporin A, gemfibrozil, isoniazid, orlistat, anticonvulsants.
  • Any other significant disease or disorder which, in the opinion of the investigator, either puts the woman at risk because of participating in the study or may influence the results of the study, or the woman's ability to participate in the study.
  • Participating in another clinical study
  • Previous allocation of randomisation code in the study.

Gender Eligibility: Female

Minimum Age: 16 Years

Maximum Age: 50 Years

Are Healthy Volunteers Accepted: No

Investigator Details

  • Lead Sponsor
    • University of Aberdeen
  • Provider of Information About this Clinical Study
    • Sponsor
  • Overall Official(s)
    • Graham Devereux, MD, Principal Investigator, University of Aberdeen


Devereux G, Turner SW, Craig LC, McNeill G, Martindale S, Harbour PJ, Helms PJ, Seaton A. Low maternal vitamin E intake during pregnancy is associated with asthma in 5-year-old children. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2006 Sep 1;174(5):499-507. Epub 2006 Jun 8.

Litonjua AA, Rifas-Shiman SL, Ly NP, Tantisira KG, Rich-Edwards JW, Camargo CA Jr, Weiss ST, Gillman MW, Gold DR. Maternal antioxidant intake in pregnancy and wheezing illnesses in children at 2 y of age. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006 Oct;84(4):903-11.

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