It’s likely that you have heard of RSV and may even know someone who’s baby has had RSV. The illness itself, in conjunction with the treatment, can put infants at high risk of lifelong illness and complications. It’s nothing you want to mess with.
VITAMIN D BENEFITS
New findings on Vitamin D (which is technically a hormone) and newborns tell us that high levels of vitamin D at birth is very protective against wheezing and respiratory infections, which can include RSV and bronchitis. In fact, vitamin D deficient newborns (levels below 25 nmol/L) are twice as likely than their counterparts to develop infections. Average levels were 44 nmol/L, which is still considered low as many now consider levels as high as 100 nmol/L to be a healthy amount.
Just like all the myths surrounding soft cheese consumption during pregnancy, Vitamin D is a highly misunderstood, yet important. Vitamin D is essential to many functions in your body, including immunity, bone health and respiratory health. When a woman is pregnant, her levels of vitamin D determine her baby’s levels of vitamin D at birth.
Our modern sedentary lifestyle, poor nutrition, liberal sunscreen use and shunning of the sun leads to vitamin D deficiency, hence the increase in respiratory infections.
HOW MUCH VITAMIN D IS NECESSARY?
Pregnant women should definitely be getting at least 4000 IU’s of Vitamin D, although most experts agree that 10,000 IU per day is what we should be shooting for.
What’s the best way to get this amount? Ideally you should be getting 15-40 minutes of sun per day to get enough vitamin D.
Recommended time in the sun to produce about 10, 000 IU of vitamin D:
Light skin = 15-20 minutes daily Medium Skin = 25-30 minutes daily Dark Skin = 40-45 minutes daily
CAN YOU O.D. ON VITAMIN D?
Some people may worry that if they are in the sun a lot they will overdose on Vitamin D. However this doesn’t happen, and here’s why. When you’re exposed to the sun, the UVB rays creates vitamin D on your skin, while the UVA rays in the sunlight will tend to destroy excessive levels of vitamin D circulating in your body. That means that even “if” you are taking vitamin D and also getting it from the sun, the UVA rays in sunlight won’t allow you to have too much vitamin D.
And that sun exposure should be direct (meaning not through glass) on as much skin surface as possible without any sun glasses or sunscreen. The vitamins the sun provides cannot penetrate through glass, so getting rays through your car or home window will not do.
ADDITIONAL VITAMIN D SOURCES
But what if it’s winter, or you live where the sun is not out that often? Then, you need to make sure your diet is high in vitamin D and even consider taking cod liver oil supplements, preferably a fermented cod liver oil free of PBC’s and mercury, or organic.
Other naturally occurring sources of Vitamin D are mushrooms, wheat bran,eggs, fish, and raw milk. Pasteurized milk alters the levels of vitamin D, which is why they have to add synthetic vitamin D in the processed milk. While these foods are great, it is nearly impossible to get adequate amounts of vitamin D from supplementation or your diet alone – the sun is essential to build adequate vitamin D levels.
Most people think that Vitamin D3 is a great source of Vitamin D, but in fact, it is derived from sheep’s wool and isn’t all that assimilated once you take it.
GETTING THE MOST OUT OF YOUR SUN EXPOSURE
Even weak sunscreens (SPF=8) block your body’s ability to generate vitamin D by 95%. This is how sunscreen products actually cause disease — by creating a critical vitamin deficiency in the body.
Ideally exposure should be to prime midday sun (10:00 AM to 2:00 PM) when the UVB rays are strongest; UVB are the kind of sun rays that produce vitamin D on the skin.
Don’t shower after sun exposure. Natural skin oil is critical to the absorption process since vitamin D is only formed on skin that has enough natural oil formed on its surface and if it stays on the skin long enough after exposure to the sun.
OTHER BENEFITS OF VITAMIN D
Preterm Labor Mothers who took 4,000 IU of vitamin D daily cut their risk of premature delivery by half, in a study conducted by researchers from the Medical University of South Carolina and presented at the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies in Vancouver.
Pre-Eclampsia and Toxemia A study carried out by the University of Pittsburgh found that vitamin D deficiency early in gestation is associated with a five-fold increase risk of developing pre-eclampsia.
Diabetes Recent research has demonstrated that those who receive high amounts of vitamin D during childhood have a lower risk of developing type I diabetes later on in life
Flu A trial appeared in the March, 2010 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition(Am J Clin Nutr (March 10, 2010). doi:10.3945/ajcn.2009.29094) and the results from this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled (meeting the gold standard) study were that 31 of 167 children in the placebo group contracted influenza over the four month duration of the study, only 18 of 168 children in the vitamin D group did. This means vitamin D was responsible for an absolute reduction of nearly 8 percent. The study involved 334 children, half of which were given 1200 IUs per day of vitamin D3. 8% doesn’t sound like a lot, until you put things into perspective: Flu vaccines, according to the latest scientific evidence, achieve an only 1 percent reduction in influenza symptoms. This means vitamin D appears to be 800% more effective than vaccines at preventing influenza infections in children.
Cancer In breast, colon and prostate cancer, the sun-shine vitamin has been shown to suppress cancer growth and the formation of blood vessels that feed cancer cells. Furthermore, in a breast cancer study, 24 percent in the breast cancer study had adequate levels of the vitamin at the time of diagnosis. Those who were deficient were more likely to have the cancer metastasize or recur ten years later. Moreover, 73 percent of the deficient were more likely to die.
Brain Function Accompanied by an overactive parathyroid, low vitamin D levels have been implicated to increase depression in older adults, and in other mental disorders
Osteoporisis Sufficient levels of vitamin D are crucial for calcium absorption in your intestines. Without sufficient vitamin D, your body cannot absorb calcium, rendering calcium supplements useless.
HOW DO I KNOW IF I’M DEFICIENT?
If it hurts to press firmly on your sternum, you may be suffering from chronic vitamin D deficiency right now. You could also get your blood tested, but watch out – Vitamin D blood tests can be a tricky thing. make sure you know your stuff before having it done.