The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog ran from 2006 to 2016 and was intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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    Avoid vitamin A deficiency during pregnancy

    Researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, in Baltimore, Maryland compare beta carotene to vitamin A.

    First, the details.

    • The population studied included rural Nepali children 9 to 13 years of age.
    • Theirs mothers had received vitamin A or beta-carotene supplementation between 1994 and 1997 as part of another study.

    And, the results.

    • Of 1894 children who were alive at the end of the original study, 88% were eligible to participate in the follow-up study.
    • Tests of lung function (spirometry) in children whose mothers had received vitamin A had a forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) and a forced vital capacity (FVC) that were significantly higher than those of children whose mothers had received placebo.
      • FEV1 (a measure of resistance to air movement out of the lung) was 46 mL higher with vitamin A.
      • FVC measures the amount of air you can exhale with force.
    • Children whose mothers received beta-carotene had FEV1 and FVC values similar to those of children whose mothers taking placebo.

    The bottom line?

    The authors concluded, “In a chronically undernourished population, maternal repletion with vitamin A at recommended dietary levels before, during, and after pregnancy improved lung function in offspring.”

    Others have reported benefits to the fetus from vitamin A supplementation during pregnancy.

    And in studies of animals, vitamin A has been shown to upregulate genes necessary for fetal lung growth and increase surfactant production.

    The differences between beta-carotene and vitamin A are discussed here.

    6/14/10 19:48 JR

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