Thursday, November 17, 2016

Prematurity - a lifetime of consequences

According to World Health Organization (WHO) estimates, prematurity is the leading underlying cause of death in children under five years, with over one million babies dying each year worldwide due to complications of preterm birth. For those who survive, the consequences of being born too soon can continue throughout the life course, impacting individuals, families and communities.

In Australia, one baby in ten will be born before 37 weeks gestation. The cost of these preterm births not only in dollar, but in physical, mental and emotional terms is huge. It’s an enormous drain on the health care system with preterm babies suffering ongoing physical and mental health problems, the families of a preterm baby are denied the pleasure of bonding with and breastfeeding a normal, healthy full-term infant, with profound implications for that family’s longterm emotional health, there are ongoing educational challenges and much more …

The good news is, the incidence of prematurity could be halved (at the very least) by ensuring the Vitamin D status of pregnant mums. 

Check the graph - courtesy of the researchers at GrassRootsHealth, whose work now spans more than three decades. You can see that weeks of gestation (left vertical bar) keeps increasing until the serum level reaches about Serum 25(OH)D 40ng/mL (Serum 25(OH)D 100nmol/L). 

It’s really that easy - and  it’s a free vitamin! It’s manufactured in the body when you get unprotected exposure to sunlight during the peak hours of sunshine! 
  • Minimize UVA while allowing UVB
  • 10-15 minutes exposure/day between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm (between 11:00 am and 3:00 pm during daylight saving)
  • Expose 40 percent of skin area (wear shorts and tank top)
  • Ensure it’s a clear day without pollution

These guidelines apply to Australian latitudes. In colder climates (higher latitudes) supplementation is the only way to achieve appropriate status. Use oral D3 supplements to achieve 40-60ng/mL (100-150nMols/L) - remembering that these ideal levels require significantly more D3 than are found in most supplements. Look for the newer, high potency D3 (e.g. drops containing 1,000-2,000IU/drop and Softgels containing 5,000IU)

Vitamin D Recommendations Update for Preconception, Pregnancy & Breastfeeding
Dose for adults: I,000IU 1 to 2 times daily. 
Dose for preconception: 2,000 IU daily.
Dose for pregnancy: 4,000 IU daily
Dose for breastfeeding: 6,400IU daily
The only way to get Vitamin D3 in breast milk is by dosing daily - either by sun, diet or supplementation. Dr. Bruce Hollis, Professor of Pediatrics, College of Medicine, Medical University of South Carolina indicates that 6,400 IU/day is necessary for breast feeding mothers to attain sufficient vitamin D (to the value of 400 IU/day for the infant) in their breast milk.
Remember too that the very best time to ensure Mum's optimal Vitamin D status is before conception, while making sure of prospective Dad's status will positively impact his fertility. If you've missed the preconception period, it’s never too late to get your levels into the preferred zone. 

More on all of the above when you join my free webinar.

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