Published on March 12, 2019
In September 2015, the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) initiated a new standard of care for pregnant women that included routine vitamin D testing and supplementation to reduce preterm birth. Results from year one were published in PLOS One in 2017. In this two-part blog series we are giving a three-year update about this exciting project. In part 1, we looked at the association between vitamin D level and preterm birth among all women. In this blog (part 2), we will take a look at this association among select subgroups of women.
Vitamin D Level and Preterm Birth by Race/Ethnicity
For both white and non-white women, preterm birth rates decreased as vitamin D levels increased. Among white women, those with vitamin D levels at or above 40 ng/ml closest to delivery had a 55% lower rate of preterm birth compared to those with vitamin D levels less than 20 ng/ml (p=0.001). Among non-white women, those with vitamin D levels at or above 40 ng/ml closest to delivery had a 42% lower rate of preterm birth compared to those with vitamin D levels less than 20 ng/ml (p=0.0002).
Vitamin D Level and Preterm Birth for Women with a History of Preterm Birth
Women with a history of preterm birth have a 2 to 3-fold increased risk of a recurrent premature delivery compared to women without a history of preterm birth. We looked at the association between vitamin D and preterm birth among this high risk population and found that those with vitamin D levels at or above 40 ng/ml closest to delivery had a 39% lower rate of preterm birth compared to those with vitamin D levels less than 20 ng/ml (p=0.01).
Vitamin D Level and Preterm Birth for Women with a First Test less than 40 ng/ml
To assess whether raising vitamin D levels to 40 ng/ml made an impact, we compared the preterm birth rates for women with low vitamin D levels (less than 40 ng/ml) on their first test by their achieved levels closest to delivery. We found that those who achieved at least 40 ng/ml had a 39% lower rate of preterm birth compared to those less than 20 ng/ml (p=0.02).
This three-year project update supports the previous clinical trial and field study findings that vitamin D levels at or above 40 ng/ml are associated with lower preterm birth rates. If you know any pregnant women or women who are planning to become pregnant, be sure to encourage them to check their vitamin D levels!
Test your vitamin D levels today!
In addition to preterm birth, there is overwhelming evidence about the association between vitamin D and many diseases including bone diseases (rickets, osteomalacia, and osteoporosis), multiple sclerosis, diabetes, cancer, and many others. Check your vitamin D levels today!
How can I track my vitamin D levels?
To help you track your nutrient levels, GrassrootsHealth has created an online tracking system called myData-myAnswers. For each nutrient you can track your intake and nutrient levels over time. This will help you know how your nutrient status impacts your health. Check it out today!
How Can You Use this Information for YOUR Health?
Having and maintaining healthy vitamin D and other nutrient levels can help improve your health now and for your future. Measuring is the only way to make sure you are getting enough!
STEP 1 Order your at-home blood spot test kit to measure vitamin D and other nutrients of concern to you, such as omega-3s, magnesium, essential and toxic elements (zinc, copper, selenium, lead, cadmium, mercury); include hsCRP as a marker of inflammation or HbA1c for blood sugar health
STEP 2 Answer the online questionnaire as part of the GrassrootsHealth study
STEP 3 Using our educational materials and tools (such as our dose calculators), assess your results to determine if you are in your desired target range or if actions should be taken to get there
STEP 4 After 3-6 months of implementing your changes, re-test to see if you have achieved your target level(s)