Efficacy of L-arginine for preventing preeclampsia in high-risk pregnancies: A double-blind, randomized, clinical trial.
Reviewed by: Alan Gaby, MD
Author: Camarena Pulido EE, et al.
Reference: Efficacy of L-arginine for preventing preeclampsia in high-risk pregnancies: A double-blind, randomized, clinical trial. Hypertens Pregnancy 2016;35:217-225.
Design: Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.
Participants: One hundred pregnant women at increased risk of developing preeclampsia (nulliparous, chronic hypertension, and body mass index ≥ 30 kg/m2).
Study Medication and Dosage: L-arginine (3 g once a day) or placebo, from week 20 of gestation until delivery.
Primary Outcome Measure: Incidence of preeclampsia.
Key Findings: The incidence of preeclampsia was significantly lower in the L-arginine group than in the placebo group (6.1% vs. 23.4%; p < 0.02).
Practice Implications: Arginine is the precursor to nitric oxide, which functions as a vasodilator. Decreased nitric oxide levels have been found in the placenta of women with preeclampsia. The results of the present study indicate that L-arginine is useful for preventing preeclampsia in high-risk women. The L-arginine content of a typical Western diet is about 5.6 g per day. A high-protein diet, as might be consumed during pregnancy, would contain higher amounts of L-arginine. The decision whether or not to recommend L-arginine for women at risk of developing preeclampsia should depend in part on how much protein is being consumed.