November 12, 2015

Director's Letter 
Carole Baggerly 
Director, GrassrootsHealth 

Sometimes I just want to shout to the rooftops! "Hey! All of you pregnant women! Listen here! If you have enough vitamin D it could drastically change your children's lives!" But, then I imagine I would just be escorted from the building.... This week I am so honored to announce a new paper that clearly shows the >50% reduction in risk of preterm birth with a vitamin D serum level of at least 40 ng/mL from a randomized controlled trial done by Hollis and Wagner.

And, we are discussing two (2) NEW Protect our Children NOW! projects to start early next year.  Please let us know if your community is interested, we are eager to spread the word.

We are also announcing a new platform to discuss pregnancy and the change necessary to Protect our Children NOW! Anyone can join this vitamin D Forum, it is a venue for pregnant women, in any stage of their pregnancy, to ask questions about vitamin D and pregnancy and receive answers based on the studies and research that have been happening with patients in South Carolina as part of the Medical University of South Carolina.

We realize that many of you reading this are not pregnant. But... do you have children? Grandchildren? Think about the importance of this information. Could you help spread the word? Send a few emails? Post a sign at your church? Your work? Your gym? If you think you can reach a community of pregnant women we recommend posting this iceberg graphic.

Carole Baggerly
Director, GrassrootsHealth
A Public Health Promotion & Research Organization
Moving Research into Practice 
New Paper on Vitamin D and Pregnancy

Post-hoc analysis of vitamin D status and reduced risk of preterm birth in two vitamin D pregnancy cohorts compared with South Carolina March of Dimes 2009-2011 rates

Read Paper

This was presented by a team from the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) and GrassrootsHealth during the 17th annual Vitamin D Workshop held June 2014. It was published online in The Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology November 10, 2015 (open access version to follow).

Dr. Carol Wagner Lead author, Carol L. Wagner, MD, is a professor of medicine, neonatologist, associate director of the Neonatal-Perinatal Fellowship Program and the Clinical and Translational Research Center at the Medical University of South Carolina, and the principal investigator of the Protect Our Children NOW! campaign by GrassrootsHealth.

Why is preterm birth important?

The March of Dimes estimates that the annual cost of preterm births in the United States is $12 billion (for 455,918 children). If approximately 50% of preterm births could be prevented in the general population, as this analysis suggests is possible, there could be $6 billion available for other services and, more than 225,000 children and families spared this trauma. In light of this, practice guidelines at MUSC and other institutions are currently being changed to target 40 ng/mL for pregnant women with the goal of dramatically lowering preterm birth rates.

What does this paper report?

Two vitamin D pregnancy supplementation trials were run by Dr. Wagner at MUSC: The NICHD (n=346) and Thrasher Research Fund (TRF, n=163) studies. The findings suggest increased dosages of supplemental vitamin D were associated with improved health outcomes of both mother and newborn, including risk of preterm birth (<37 weeks gestation). The key finding reported in this analysis was done by the results achieved with a given serum level.

This post-hoc analysis highlights the relationship between 25(OH)D concentration and preterm birth rates in the NICHD and TRF studies (n=509) with comparison to Charleston County, South Carolina March of Dimes (CC-MOD, n=14,609) published rates of preterm birth.

What did this paper find?

As you can see from the graph below, a 46% lower preterm birth rate was observed among women with vitamin D levels ≥40 ng/mL compared to the CC-MOD (March of Dimes) reference group. It is also interesting to note that the findings were more robust in Hispanic and Black women. This is believed to be due in large part to the change in vitamin D level. Black women entering the studies had an average vitamin D level of 16 ng/mL, and increased to an average of 30 ng/mL. Hispanics started with an average vitamin D level of 24 ng/mL and increased to an average of 38 ng/mL.  (White women started with an average of 30 ng/mL, thus leaving less room for improvement).

Another key finding is that there was a steady increase of gestation time (how long the baby stayed in the womb) correlating to the rise of 25(OH)D - but then reaching a plateau around 40 ng/mL. This adds evidence to the effort to change the standard of practice for all OBs - with a goal of getting all pregnant women at or above 40 ng/mL.

Click to Expand


In this post-hoc analysis, women who achieved a 25(OH)D serum concentration ≥40 ng/mL were observed to have a significantly lower risk of preterm birth compared to those who had concentrations of ≤20 ng/mL. These findings suggest the importance of raising 25(OH)D levels substantially above 20 ng/mL, the level currently considered sufficient by the Institute of Medicine (IOM).

Read Paper
Ready to Party?

YOU can help solve the vitamin D deficiency epidemic by throwing a D*party! 

Educate your friends, family, co-workers on the importance of vitamin D and testing.  The D*party is the perfect way to share this information and give the ones you care about an opportunity to know their vitamin D level.  

Already host a regular lunch meeting, mom's group, supper club or book club? Add vitamin D to the schedule by hosting a D*party!

What is involved in being a host?
  • Host a get-together 
  • Educate on the benefits of
    vitamin D 
  • Offer enrollment into our D*action Study 
PLUS, the host has the opportunity to earn a free gift from GrassrootsHealth, and one for each of the D*party attendees.

Editor's Letter 
Susan Siljander 
Marketing Director, GrassrootsHealth

I love working for GrassrootsHealth. It is nice to work for a non-profit that affects the health of so many people (everyone!) positively. Most people don't believe me when I first tell them... but I know that I am doing the right thing.

This week is no different. We have more information, a free trial, and free doctor's advice to pregnant women. The problem is - most of you who are reading this are not pregnant. How can we reach all those pregnant women to tell them this earth shattering news?

If you would like to reach out in your area, even to one doctor's office, one park, one day care center - then download and distribute this iceberg graphic. You might change the lives of 10 children - who would have a healthier start. These children might not get diabetes, autism, cancer, colds, or a host of other problems. What is there to lose? A little printer ink?

Thanks for your help and dedication,

Susan Siljander
Marketing Director, GrassrootsHealth
A Public Health Promotion & Research Organization  
Moving Research into Practice NOW!
Order Now
Your participation in this project funds all the GrassrootsHealth research and promotion.

Join the
Protect Our Children NOW!
Vitamin D Forum


Ask and browse questions about how vitamin D will protect your pregnancy and the future health of your child.

Join NOW! 

Open to any US woman, 18 years or older, at 12-17 weeks of pregnancy

November is Prematurity Awareness Month

The United States has one of the highest rates of preterm birth of any industrialized country.

Premature birth is the leading cause of newborn death.

Let's work together with the March of Dimes to spread the word about how vitamin D sufficiency can reduce the risk of preterm birth by almost 50%! In a very short time! 
Post-hoc analysis of vitamin D status and reduced risk of preterm birth in two vitamin D pregnancy cohorts compared with South Carolina March of Dimes 2009-2011 rates  

Carol L. Wagner, MD et al. 
November 10, 2015 
The Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

17 photos of adorable kids who were born prematurely, now holding their own baby pictures.
Click here for the answers to the questions you asked about vitamin D and the immune system.

Dr. Adrian Gombart, PhD
Principal Investigator, Associate Professor
Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics
Linus Pauling Institute  
is Vitamin D Awareness Month
"November is an important time for Canadians to examine their vitamin D levels because lack of this essential vitamin can have a negative impact on every Canadian's health - young or old, healthy or not,"
-- Dr. Reinhold Vieth.
Disease Incidence Prevention Chart 
A chart showing the required vitamin D serum levels for prevention of many diseases common to pregnancy and early childhood. 
View Chart

Maternal 25-Hydroxyvitamin D and Preterm Birth in Twin Gestations
Lisa M. Bodnar et al.
July 1, 2014
Read Paper

Vitamin D Supplementation during Pregnancy: Double-blind, RCT, of Safety and Effectiveness
Bruce W. Hollis et at.
June 10, 2011
Read Paper

Circulating 25-Hydroxyvitamin D Levels in Fully Breastfed Infants on Oral Vitamin D Supplementation
Carol L. Wagner et al.
August 23, 2009
Read Paper

High-Dose Vitamin D3 Supplementation in a Cohort of Breastfeeding Mothers and Their Infants: A 6-Month Follow-Up Pilot Study
Carol L. Wagner et al.
Summer 2006
Read Paper 

Click here to receive weekly news from GrassrootsHealth.
Share this Newsletter
Share this newsletter on Facebook!  

Click on the top left social share buttons
to share this entire newsletter.

Like us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter

View our videos on YouTube
Contact Us