Over 1,000 babies are born prematurely every day in the United States, costing $12 billion a year. Karen Howard, Executive Director of the Organic and Natural Health Association, says that an adequate level of vitamin D in the mother’s bloodstream could help solve this problem. She points to a study done by the Medical University of South Carolina that, according to Howard, validates her claim, and she explains what we should be doing to get enough vitamin D.
According to the study, the risk of preterm birth in women with a vitamin D deficiency was reduced by 50%, simply by gaining an appropriate level of the vitamin. Howard says that this finding needs to be widely advertised, because many people and doctors are misinformed. Many studies have focused on dosage amounts of vitamin D, but Howard says what really matters is the amount that gets into our bloodstreams. Furthermore, the amount of vitamin D that we need is often much higher than generally believed.
The best way to get vitamin D is to spend time in the sun without sunscreen. While many dermatologists encourage the use of sunscreen to prevent skin cancer, Howard says it is the enemy of vitamin D. Also, people with darker skin colors have the added challenge of needing to spend more time in the sun in order to get an appropriate level of vitamin D. For a person with white skin, being in the sun three times a week for 20 minutes without sunscreen is sufficient. But, for those who can’t do this or need to spend much longer in the sun, dietary supplements can help. Howard encourages everyone to spread the word about the connection between vitamin D and reduced risks of preterm birth and, of course, to ensure they get their vitamin D.
For more information about vitamin D and preterm birth or about our guest, visit the links below.
- Karen Howard, Executive Director of the Organic and Natural Health Association