November 18, 2015

Director's Letter 
Carole Baggerly 
Director, GrassrootsHealth 

Did you know that yesterday, November 17, was prematurity awareness day? Well, if you had any Facebook posts or news articles sent to you, I hope you responded with our newsletter from last week - How to prevent preterm births NOW!. I am always shocked, and I notice it as I travel, how few people know the research that is out there on vitamin D. But, it is equally amazing that those medical institutions that have learned the science have made the change - to monitor and supplement pregnant women -- supporting a healthier pregnancy and a healthier child.

I wish Dr. May Mellanby was still alive today, so she could be on the GrassrootsHealth panel of scientists. Like our 48 scientists, she was dedicated to the science of vitamin D and diet - and to making changes in the standard of care to improve children's lives. It is interesting to read research that has been around so long, but is still relevant.

Dr. Cedric Garland, researcher at University of San Diego School of Medicine, worked with us recently to test the blood levels of San Diego lifeguards at the end of the summer. We are pleased to share these results with you and hope you find them interesting.

Carole Baggerly
Director, GrassrootsHealth
A Public Health Promotion & Research Organization
Moving Research into Practice NOW!
Vitamin D Improves Oral Health

It has long been understood that vitamin D is good for the skeletal system - our bones and teeth. But, did you know that adequate vitamin D can not only support good oral hygiene but also heal existing cavities? And would it surprise you to learn that the vitamin D level of a mother will affect the oral health of her children?

Let's examine some studies that give us more reason to monitor and keep our vitamin D levels between 40-60 ng/ml year-round.

Did we have the answer in the 1930's?

Yes! And it was not grandma's chicken soup. Dr. May Mellanby, who interestingly enough lived until she was 96, spent decades researching diet, vitamin D and their relation to tooth decay.
Dr. Mellanby conducted dietary trials in the 1920's and 1930's in England, using children living in institutions where she could control their diet and monitor their progress. She wanted to find the role of diet and vitamin D in preventing and healing cavities (in her papers they are called 'caries').

The most famous study, which is referenced and has made the rounds of the Internet, shows that with a diet high in vitamin D and calcium,  tooth decay is not only prevented, it is reversed.

In a study published in March, 1932, The Influence of a Cereal-free Diet Rich in Vitamin D and Calcium on Dental Caries in Children, she found that a diet high in vitamin D (approximately 2,000 IU/day), high in calcium, higher in fats, and lower in carbohydrates - was the optimal condition not only to arrest cavity development, but to heal existing cavities. She studied children of about 5 years old for 6 months, giving them this highly specialized diet. After 6 months there were no new cavities and none of the old ones had spread.

Interestingly enough in this same paper she mentioned a hypothesis that vitamin D levels during pregnancy could have significant impact on the future health of the child's teeth. She states:

"it would seem that one method of reducing the incidence of dental caries should be the production of teeth of good structure by suitable diets, both for mothers during pregnancy and lactation, and for their offspring during the period of tooth calcification."

Is it your Mom's fault you have bad teeth?

If we fast forward to the modern day, Robert J. Schroth, DMD, MSc, PhD, led a team to study just that. They were seeking to find out if the vitamin D level of the mother affected the dental health of the child in the first year of life, measuring tooth calcification and early childhood caries (ECC). In his paper, Prenatal Caries and Vitamin D in Infants, Dr. Schroth et al. concluded that yes, it did indeed matter. He found that the children with ECC came from mothers with the lowest levels of vitamin D (the average vitamin D level was 19 ng/ml, but the average from mothers of children with ECC was 16 ng/ml).

Recommend 40 ng/ml or higher for pregnant women

This is just another study that confirms that vitamin D in pregnancy affects the health outcomes of children. Check out our Disease incidence prevention chart to see other conditions that are positively affected by having a sufficient mother.
What is the vitamin D level of a lifeguard at the end of the summer?

As we get ready for winter it is a good time to look back and see what our vitamin D levels were at their peak.

We did this recently with a group of lifeguards from the San Diego area. In conjunction with Dr. Cedric Garland of USCD School of Medicine, we recruited 13 lifeguards to test their vitamin D levels at the end of summer.

As you can see, not all of the lifeguards were within our recommended 40 - 60 ng/ml range. None of these lifeguards took supplements, the average vitamin D level for the group was 44 ng/ml, the average age 25.

Not all of the participants fully completed the survey, but of the nine who answered, two participants used sunscreen less than half the time and 7 used it more than half the time (SPF 30 average), as they were strongly encouraged to do by their employers. The average time out in the sun between 10am and 2pm was 3.3 hours.

What did they wear? Just what you imagine... 8 out of 9 wore shorts and no shirt.

What can we surmise from this information? Plenty of sunshine does not guarantee reaching an optimal blood level of 25(OH)D especially when sunscreen is used. However, the levels reached by the lifeguards was within the range (40-60 ng/ml) suggested by prior research as being the 'physiological level'.  Achieving it can be done with sun alone, but it takes a lot of sun exposure (time) to get there.
Editor's Letter 
Susan Siljander 
Marketing Director, GrassrootsHealth

If you had asked me whether vitamin D was good for your teeth I would have stated - Yes! But, I had never read this research before and I found it fascinating. Dr. Mellanby's entire paper is a fun read -- to see what kids ate in the 1930's - and how she modified their diets to be even healthier (less carbs, more good fats, plenty of protein, D, and calcium). I wonder what she would say today of our children's typical diets? Oh, I wouldn't want her to find out...

For me, this is just another reason to tell the world about the benefits of vitamin D. Would this be a good topic for a D*party in your house? Maybe your dentist would want to read this newsletter? Or you could print it out for their waiting room. Every time you spread the word, through social media, word of mouth or paper, you are helping people make informed decisions about improving their health.

Have a great week.

Susan Siljander
Marketing Director, GrassrootsHealth
A Public Health Promotion & Research Organization  
Moving Research into Practice NOW!
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GrassrootsHealth Research Paper Determines Vitamin D Level Necessary to Help Reduce Risk of Preterm Births
Press Release 
November 18, 2015 
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.  

YOU can help solve the vitamin D deficiency epidemic by throwing 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.

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.
Prenatal Vitamin D and Dental Caries in Infants
Robert J. Schroth et al.
April 2014
Read Paper
Read Summary Article

Description of Dr. Mellanby's work 
Whole Health Source
Stephan Guyenet
Read Web Page 

The Influence of a Cereal-free Diet Rich in Vitamin D and Calcium on Dental Caries in Children
May Mellanby et al.
The British Medical Journal
March, 1932
Read Paper

Sunshine Exposure and Vitamin D Could be Just as Important as Brushing and Flossing for Children, According to GrassrootsHealth

Press Release
February 2012
Read Press Release

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 

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