Optimizing Vitamin D During Pregnancy May Reduce Asthma in Your Child
by Dr. Mercola
Vitamin D Plays a Role in Prenatal Asthma Prevention
Bisgaard performed a study using Vitamin D supplementation in pregnant women and found a slight improvement in the number of children who developed asthma after birth. Mothers whose Vitamin D levels were low and supplemented during pregnancy had children who had a slightly lower risk of developing asthma by the age of 3.40
Dr. Max Gomez discusses how low Vitamin D levels may also trigger asthma attacks in children and adults. Although Bisgaard's study showed a small reduction in numbers of children who experienced asthma by age 3, the researchers are continuing to follow the children until age 6. One theory is that VitaminD may help reduce the inflammation in the airways caused by asthma.41
Many people in the U.S. are deficient in Vitamin D as your body manufacturers it in response to sun exposure. Obesity, living in northern climates and dark skin all predispose you to VitaminD insufficiency. Vitamin D may make your airway and the airways of your unborn child healthier, improving your day-to-day symptoms and decreasing your risk for an asthma attack.42
A number of other studies have linked Vitamin D deficiency to a higher risk of childhood asthma, allergic diseases and severe asthma in adults.43 In a recent study of more than 25,000 people, Vitamin D insufficiency increased the risk for children being diagnosed with asthma and for adults to experience recent episodes of wheezing.44 Another study is currently underway in which children with asthma are using a daily supplement of Vitamin D to determine if it reduces the number of attacks or hospital visits.45
Research published in 2010 also found that asthmatic children with low blood Vitamin D levels may have a greater risk of suffering severe asthma attacks. According to this study, Vitamin D insufficiency itself was linked to a 50 percent increase in the risk of severe asthma attacks. According to Dr. Ronit Confino-Cohen, a senior lecturer at Meir Medical Center in Kfar Saba, Israel:46
"I think that if a patient has had good treatment for asthma and is still not controlled, maybe he should be checked for his VitaminD levels before adding on more medications. Maybe supplementation would do the job."
Vitamin D — a Simple, Inexpensive Way to Improve Your and Your Child's Health
Glen Depke interviews Dr. Carol Wagner, a neonatologist and lead principal investigator for Protect Our Children NOW!, a public health campaign aimed at raising global awareness about the importance of optimal Vitamin D levels for women's and children's health. In it, Wagner cites research done by her team showing that 4,000 international units (IUs) of Vitamin D3 per day appears to be an ideal amount for pregnant women.
That said, your requirement may be higher or lower depending on your current status, so please make sure you get your Vitamin D level tested — ideally before you get pregnant and routinely during pregnancy and breastfeeding — and take whatever amount of Vitamin D3 you need to reach and maintain a level of 40 to 60 ng/mL. Certainly, it should be no lower than 40 ng/mL.
I strongly suggest taking this information to heart, and to share it with anyone that might benefit. Optimizing your Vitamin D is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to reduce your risk of pregnancy complications and premature birth. It can also significantly reduce your child's risk of chronic health conditions such as asthma and many others.
The Vitamin D test you're looking for is called 25(OH)D or 25-hydroxy Vitamin D. This is the officially recognized marker of overall D status, and is most strongly associated with overall health. The other Vitamin D test available, called 1,25-dihydroxy Vitamin D (1,25(OH)D), is not very useful for determining Vitamin D sufficiency.
While sunlight is the ideal way to optimize your Vitamin D, winter and work prevent more than 90 percent of those reading this article from achieving ideal levels without supplementation. Also remember to optimize your omega-3 intake during pregnancy and breastfeeding. These two nutrients — omega-3 and Vitamin D — are among the more important ones for your child's development and long-term health.
The Role of VitaminD in Disease Prevention
A growing body of evidence shows that Vitamin D plays a crucial role in disease prevention and maintaining optimal health. There are about 30,000 genes in your body, and Vitamin D affects nearly 3,000 of them, as well as Vitamin D receptors located throughout your body.
According to one large-scale study, optimal Vitamin D levels can slash your risk of cancer by as much as 60 percent. Keeping your levels optimized can help prevent at least 16 different types of cancer, including pancreatic, lung, ovarian, prostate and skin cancers.
How VitaminD Performance Testing Can Help Optimize Your Health
Is it any wonder then that no matter what disease or condition is investigated, Vitamin D appears to play a crucial role? This is why I am so excited about the D*Action Project by GrassrootsHealth. Dr. Robert Heaney is the research director of GrassrootsHealth and is part of the design of the D*action Project as well as analysis of the research findings.
GrassrootsHealth shows how you can take action today on known science with a consensus of experts without waiting for institutional lethargy. It has shown how by combining the science of measurement (of Vitamin D levels) with the personal choice of taking action and, the value of education about individual measures that one can truly be in charge of their own health.
In order to spread this health movement to more communities, the project needs your involvement. To participate, simply purchase the D*Action Measurement Kit and follow the registration instructions included. (Please note that 100 percent of the proceeds from the kits go to fund the research project. I do not charge a single dime as a distributor of the test kits.)
As a participant, you agree to test your Vitamin D levels twice a year during a five-year study, and share your health status to demonstrate the public health impact of this nutrient. There is a $65 fee every six months for your sponsorship of this research project, which includes a test kit to be used at home, and electronic reports on your ongoing progress. You will get a follow up email every six months reminding you "it's time for your next test and health survey."
- Flexable Health