Researchers at the University of Granada (UGR) announced they have confirmed low levels of zinc and copper in pregnant women's plasma are associated with miscarriage, a complication that affects up to 15 percent of pregnant women, the scientists claimed.
In the study, 133 variables were assessed through blood tests, ultrasound and questionnaire responses for 265 pregnant women test subjects, including 132 who had suffered miscarriages (also known as spontaneous abortions) that year and 133 who attended birth control appointments during their normally progressing pregnancies, according to the UGR news service Canaluger.
Comparing the data from the two groups of women indicated lower plasma levels of zinc and copper in the women who had suffered spontaneous abortions, suggesting a deficiency of one or both trance elements could be involved, possibilities that should be researched further because this study was not designed to reveal why or how serum levels of copper and zinc factor into healthy pregnancies, or how best to remedy low levels of the two elements, according to the researchers.
The UGR study also added to the information available to researchers about many other factors affecting pregnancy that have been investigated for years, including the preconception and prenatal use of folate and iodine supplements, drug use in early pregnancy, homocysteine, caffeine consumption and thyroid function.
According to the scientists, over half of the abortions among the participants were planned, only 12 percent of the women who miscarried or aborted pregnancies had taken recommended doses of folate and iodine before pregnancy (interventions that have been shown to decrease miscarriages and birth defects), a third who miscarried self-reported they were regular smokers, over 16 percent reported they were heavy coffee drinkers, more than 80 percent reported they had taken a contraindicated drug and over 13 percent admitted they had consumed a drug considered potentially harmful to use during pregnancy.
Information about the roles of trace elements over the human lifespan and how the substances are usually consumed is available from the Office of Dietary Supplements of the National Institutes of Health: copper affects the body's use of iron, and small amounts are usually included in multiple vitamin dietary supplements; zinc, found in diverse foods, boosts the immune system and is a key component of genetic material in cells.