I sing the praises of vitamin D. You know that. So here’s one more reason to love vitamin D: It can greatly reduce risks associated with pregnancy.
Babies born with sufficient vitamin D blood levels are less likely to be premature, suffer from respiratory problems, and be considered “small” for their dates, get colds, or experience eczema. Expectant mothers with sufficient vitamin D blood levels are 30% less likely to suffer from diabetes, high-blood pressure, and pre-eclampsia.
The sad part is that most expectant mothers (at least here in the U.S) don’t have sufficient levels of vitamin D.
In the recent studies that revealed all these benefits of vitamin D, a couple of things are noteworthy. First, expectant mothers took a daily supplement of 4,000 IU of vitamin D — ten times the RDA of 400IU! Sadly, many of us need this kind of supplementation to elevate our serum vitamin D levels to high enough values. The studies show that the ideal blood level of 25 hydroxy D is between 50 and 70 ng/ml.
The second thing of note is just how effective elevated Vitamin D levels are:
- Risk of premature birth was reduced by half!
- Women taking high doses of vitamin D had a 25 % reduction in infections, particularly respiratory infections such as colds and flu as well as fewer infections of the vagina and the gum.
- Diabetes, high-blood pressure, and pre-eclampsia were reduced by 30% in women taking high doses of vitamin D.
- Babies getting the highest doses of vitamin D had fewer colds, less eczema, and were less likely to be considered “small.”
And the third thing of note is how few women actually have sufficient levels of vitamin D. One study found that over 87 percent of all newborns and over 67 percent of all mothers had vitamin D levels lower than 20 ng/ml, which is a severe deficiency state. As a result, the researchers recommended that all mothers optimize their vitamin D levels during pregnancy, especially in the winter months, to safeguard their babies’ health.
Supplementing with vitamin D
The best whole food supplement for increasing vitamin D is, of course, fermented cod liver oil. Why fermented cod liver oil? Well, it really concentrates the vitamin D in the cod liver oil, particularly in proportion to the vitamin A. So you can get the same amount of vitamin D from just 1 ml of fermented cod liver oil as from 2 tablespoons of straight cod liver oil. This makes the fermented cod liver oil much more cost-effective. To find online sources of fermented cod liver oil, check out the listings on my resources page.
Of course, there are also other ways to up your vitamin D:
- Drink only raw milk from grass-fed cows.
- Eat healthy eggs from hens raised out on pasture.
- Spend some quality time out in the sun, exposing as much of your skin as possible for at least 20 minutes per day if you’re fair and up to an hour a day if you’re very dark.
But most of us find that even doing all these things, we still lack sufficient vitamin D in the winter because of the limited and indirect sunshine. Plus we naturally spend a lot more time indoors when it’s cold out! So, why not give yourself a little present of fermented cod liver oil, just to be on the safe side? (I do!)
(photo by dawnzy58)