Women at risk of gestational diabetes can now find relief from a nutritional supplement called myo-inositol according to a new small study. The supplement has been previously known to restore fertility in the cases of polycystic ovary syndrome.
Lead author Dr. Rosario D’Anna of the Department of Obstetrics at University Hospital in Messina, Italy found that inositol reduces the number of gestational diabetes cases among pregnant women.
Women who are obese, overweight or have a family history of diabetes are known to suffer from high blood sugar levels during pregnancy. As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this affects 10 percent of pregnancies in the US.
Dr. D’Anna says, “Undiagnosed and untreated gestational diabetes can cause large for gestational age babies, which may lead to delivery complications.”
For the research 220 pregnant women were selected who had a family history of Type 2 Diabetes. It is a condition where sugar is not stored in the body cells properly leading to high sugar levels.
Half of these women who were at a risk of having gestational diabetes, were given the supplement myo-inositol to be taken twice a day along with the folic acid supplement required for prier development of the baby. The other half were given folic acid only.
Of the women who took myo-inositol, six percent developed gestational diabetes, compared to 15 percent of the women who only took folic acid. Also in the first group that had taken the additional supplement, none of the baby born was overweight, while in the second group seven babies weighed more than 8 pounds, 7 ounces.
Inositol is a compound found in many fruits, nuts and grains but not in large amounts. A bottle of 60 650-milligram myo-inositol supplements, available in the U.S. without a prescription, costs about $10.
However, the researchers are still not clear how inositol works in controlling gestational 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, who studies gestational diabetes at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, told Reuters Health.
She adds that women who do have gestational diabetes during pregnancy need to take proper care of their diet and weight as they are more at risk of getting Type 2 diabetes in the next five to ten years.
“Up to 50 percent of women in general who are diagnosed with gestational diabetes can develop type 2 diabetes in the next five to 10 years,” she said.
Dr. Donald Coustan of the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine at Women and Infants Hospital of Rhode Island in Providence says that currently there are no pills recommended for this kind of diabetes and the only precaution asked to be taken is for women to control their weights before pregnancy.
He adds that the number of cases were increasing though.
“There’s great concern that we’re going be inundated with patients with gestational diabetes,” Coustan said.
The research is published in the Journal Diabetes Care.