The findings come from a double-blind randomised controlled trial investigating the effects of EGCG supplementation on gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) – in terms of both maternal and neonatal treatment outcomes.
Published in the official journal of the British Dietetic Association (BDA), the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, the study found that mothers with GDM who were supplemented with ECGC during the third trimesters had significantly improved maternal diabetic parameters, and fewer cases of neonatal complications, compared to similar women given a placebo supplement.
GDM is a growing health risk for pregnant women around the world, with the team noting an increasing incidence every year. Clinical symptoms are similar to those in type 2 diabetes – including glucose intolerance and insulin resistance – however, pregnant women diagnosed with GDM often do not shown any diabetic symptoms before pregnancy, with symptoms only starting from the second trimester of pregnancy.
Alongside maternal symptoms, GDM increases the risk of abnormal foetal development, as well as neonatal complications, including low birth weight, hypoglycaemia, and respiratory distress, said the team.
“Our current clinical trial is the first to report the potential therapeutic value of the natural compound EGCG in GDM, which is able to both alleviate maternal diabetic symptoms and reduce the incidence of neonatal complications,” wrote the study authors, led by H Zang at the The Central Hospital of Zibo in Shandong, China.
“The administration of 500 mg of EGCG on a daily basis for GDM patients, starting from the beginning of their third trimester of pregnancy, could greatly improve treatment outcomes of both maternal symptoms and neonatal complications,” said the team, who noted that the daily dose of 500 mg of EGCG was well within the safety limit of consumption.
Zhang and colleagues recruited 472 pregnant women, all of whom were in their third trimester of pregnancy and were diagnosed with GDM, into the trial.
“After exclusion, 404 patients were randomly assigned into EGCG and placebo study groups and subsequently administered either 500 mg of EGCG or placebo, respectively, on a daily basis until full term,” said the team.
During the trial, the daily nutritional intake of all patients was monitored. Furthermore, maternal diabetic parameters at baseline and full term, including metabolism of glucose and insulin, as well as neonatal symptoms at birth, including birth weight, macrosomia, hypoglycaemia, respiratory distress and Apgar scores, were analysed.
In total, 176 and 150 patients from the EGCG and placebo study groups, respectively, completed the trial, they said.
“We have found that circulating glucose and insulin metabolisms of GDM-affected women are markedly improved by dietary EGCG intervention, as indicated by significantly reduced levels of plasma FPG and insulin levels,” wrote the authors.
Furthermore, scores of the diagnostic index QUICKI were found to be increased, while HOMA-IR and HOMA-β were decreased and QUICKI was increased in patients of the EGCG group – all of which signals a significantly improved insulin response according to the team.
“Taken together, these data strongly support the beneficial therapeutic effect of dietary EGCG intervention in alleviating maternal the diabetic symptoms of GDM patients,” they said.
Alongside maternal outcomes, the study also assessed the incidence rate of neonatal complications in pregnant women who were diagnosed with GDM. They found that GDM patients in the EGCG group gave birth to a significantly lower number of infants with low birth weight and hypoglycaemia compared to GDM patients in the placebo group. Furthermore, incidences of respiratory distress and macrosomia were also reduced slightly.
“These observations suggest that dietary EGCG supplementation for GDM women could also improve neonatal complications, at least in terms of low birth weight and hypoglycaemia,” they concluded.
Source: Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1111/jhn.12470
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