Nigerian Journal of Clinical Practice

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Copper and selenium status of healthy pregnant women in Enugu, southeastern Nigeria

UI Nwagha, SO Ogbodo, EE Nwogu-Ikojo, DM Ibegbu, FE Ejezie, TU Nwagha, CC Dim


Background: Copper and selenium are important trace elements in man. They function as antioxidants and play roles in oxido-reductase reactions. Several imported multivitamin preparations are given to our women during pregnancy and lactation to correct possible deficiencies.
Objective: The aim of the study is to determine the serum level of these micronutrients (selenium and copper) in a cross section of pregnant women in Enugu, southeastern Nigeria.
Materials and Methods: A cross section of 130 healthy pregnant women at different trimesters of pregnancy and 30 non-pregnant controls were selected from two health facilities in Enugu, southeastern Nigeria. Serum from the samples collected was assayed for copper and selenium using atomic absorption spectrophotometer.
Results: The mean copper level increased (P = 0.018), while the selenium level decreased (P < 0.0001) as pregnancy advanced.
Conclusion: High copper levels indicate that supplementation should not be undertaken during normal pregnancy. Dietary intake should be modified to ensure optimal selenium levels during pregnancy.
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