Alpha-Tocopherol Concentration in Colostrum and Serum of Women With Premature Labor

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The aim of the study was to evaluate and compare the levels of alpha-tocopherol in colostrum milk and serum of mothers with premature birth, classified as severe prematurity and moderate prematurity.


Cross-sectional study with 65 women, 18 births classified as severe prematurity (<32 weeks of gestation) and 47 as moderate prematurity (≥32 weeks of gestation). The study only included mothers without any conditions associated with pregnancy and who had a single conception without any malformation. Samples of serum and colostrum were collected during fasting in the immediate postpartum, and alpha-tocopherol was analyzed by high-performance liquid chromatography. To determine the biochemical nutritional status of vitamin E, a serum cutoff (11.6 μmol/L) was adopted. The Student t test for independent variables compared the average concentrations of alpha-tocopherol in serum and colostrum among prematurity groups. Differences were considered significant when P < 0.05.


The alpha-tocopherol concentrations in colostrum were similar in both groups, being 34.5 ± 20.2 μmol/L for women with severe prematurity and 35.1 ± 16.3 μmol/L for moderate prematurity. For the serum of puerperal women with severe prematurity, alpha-tocopherol concentration was, however, lower than in women with moderate prematurity, 22.2 ± 4.4 μmol/L versus 27.1 ± 8.6 μmol/L (P < 0.05). The serum levels of alpha-tocopherol indicated nutritional risk at 5.6% (n = 1) of women with severe prematurity and 4.3% (n = 2) for those with moderate prematurity.


Severe prematurity affected the levels of alpha-tocopherol in maternal serum; however, the level of prematurity did not change the concentration of vitamin E in colostrum.

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