Sex differences in the effects of maternal vitamin supplements on mortality and morbidity among children born to HIV-infected women in Tanzania
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CitationKawai, Kosuke, Gernard Msamanga, Karim Manji, Eduardo Villamor, Ronald J. Bosch, Ellen Hertzmark, and Wafaie W. Fawzi. 2010. “Sex Differences in the Effects of Maternal Vitamin Supplements on Mortality and Morbidity Among Children Born to HIV-Infected Women in Tanzania.” Br J Nutr 103 (12) (March 9): 1784–1791. doi:10.1017/s0007114509993862.
AbstractWe examined whether there are sex differences in the effect of vitamin supplements on birth outcomes, mortality, and morbidity by two years of age among children born to HIV-infected women in Tanzania. A randomized placebo-controlled trial was conducted among 959 mother-infant pairs. HIV-infected pregnant women were randomly assigned to receive a daily oral dose of one of four regimens: multivitamins (vitamins B-complex, C, and E), vitamin A plus β-carotene, multivitamins including vitamin A plus β-carotene, or placebo. Supplements were administered during pregnancy and continued after delivery. The beneficial effect of multivitamins on decreasing the risk of low birth weight was stronger among girls (RR = 0.39, 95% CI 0.22 – 0.67) compared to boys (RR = 0.81, 95% CI 0.44 – 1.49; p for interaction = 0.08). Maternal multivitamin supplements resulted in 32% reduction in mortality among girls (RR = 0.68, 95% CI 0.47 – 0.97), whereas no effect was found among boys (RR = 1.20, 95% CI 0.80 –1.78; p for interaction = 0.04). Multivitamins had beneficial effects on the overall risks of diarrhea that did not differ by sex. Vitamin A plus β-carotene alone increased the risk of HIV transmission, but had no effect on mortality, and we found no sex differences in these effects. Sex differential effects of multivitamins on mortality may be due to sex related differences in the immunological or genetic factors. More research is warranted to examine the effect of vitamins by sex and better understand biological mechanisms mediating such effects.
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