July 27, 2016

Director's Letter
Carole Baggerly
Director, GrassrootsHealth

What's the cost of NO ACTION???

We still hear:

"Let's wait and see."

"Let's wait until we do more research.'"

If you had a young child who was about to run across the street without looking, would you 'wait' to see just how close a car was before quickly grabbing them? Or quickly getting them out of the street?  Don't we know enough about potential harm to get them out of it?  And, to help make the behavioral change too?

What does it take for action?  Of course, I'm speaking about action with vitamin D, getting the population serum levels to 40-60 ng/ml (100-150 nmol/L). 

Key considerations:
  1. Safety:  Many studies and life experience have shown that this level (40-60 ng/ml) is safe. HOW safe is it to WAIT???

  2. Cost: The cost of tests and supplements is quite small compared to the disease burden of the deficiency diseases. What's the COST of DISEASE due to deficiency?

  3. Time: How long does it take to implement testing/supplementation programs?  It has been demonstrated by GrassrootsHealth and others that a well defined public health program can be implemented with a massive group of people in a year's time. How much longer will it take with the status quo?  (The average wait time for new health discoveries to be implemented is 15-25 years!) 
Please see the articles below which give specifics about various health benefits and the costs, in terms of lives, of waiting.  I truly encourage you to help others 'take action' now!  Whether as individuals or as groups.  We Can't Wait!  We 
Shouldn't Wait!  Our lives are at stake.

As always, I believe 'it's up to us', we are the leaders.  Help us help you take action with larger groups.  Email us if there is anything you need to help spread the word or get more people involved.  


Carole Baggerly 
Director, GrassrootsHealth
A Public Health Promotion & Research Organization
Moving Research into Practice NOW!
The Evidence for Action

We can no longer wait to implement vitamin D programs in all walks of medicine - pregnancy, pediatrics, adult physicals, and disease treatment. Our disease incidence prevention chart gives a view of how much disease would be prevented if the population increased their serum 25(OH)D levels. The bars for each disease show the percent reduction in incidence at specific serum 25(OH)D levels compared to the reference serum level of 25 ng/ml (i.e.  83% fewer cases of breast cancer with a 25(OH)D level of at least 50 ng/ml vs. 25 ng/ml- pink bar).  

Click to Expand
Unfortunately cancer is so prevalent in our society that it got its own issue last week. Please read this newsletter - for a full summary of how vitamin D can reduce cancer. It is significant. Serum levels equal to or greater than 40 ng/ml are associated with > 65% lower risk of cancer.  


A birth cohort study was done in Finland, enrolling women who gave birth in 1966 and following their children to 1997. 12,055 women were enrolled and 10,366 children were included in the analysis.  Data was taken during the infants' first year of life about frequency of vitamin D supplementation and whether it was at, above or below the recommended dose of 2000 IU/day.  Children with regular supplementation, regardless of dose, had a lower rate of type 1 diabetes than those who did not.  Among those who received regular vitamin D supplementation, those receiving at least 2000 IU/day had an 80% reduced risk of type 1 diabetes compared to those who received smaller doses.

GrassrootsHealth did an analysis of type 2 diabetes, comparing GrassrootsHealth D*action participants with the NHANES cohort. GrassrootsHealth participants 20 years of age (N=4933) had a median serum level of 41 ng/ml and a type 2 diabetes incidence rate of 3.7 per 1000 population. In contrast, the NHANES cohort from 2005-6 (N=4078) had a median serum level of 22 ng/ml and a type 2 diabetes incidence rate of 9.3 per 1000 population. Participants in the GrassrootsHealth cohort had a 60% lower risk of type 2 diabetes compared to participants in the NHANES cohort after adjusting for age, gender, race, BMI and smoking status.

Falls in Elderly

A study at a nursing home facility in Boston was conducted to determine if vitamin D could help reduce the risk of falls. The study included 124 residents, with an average age of 89, randomly assigned to one of 5 groups: placebo, 200 IU/day, 400 IU/day, 600 IU/day, or 800 IU/day. This study found 72% lower risk of falls in the 800 IU/day group (30 ng/ml average) vs. the placebo (24 ng/ml average).

Multiple Sclerosis

A nested case-control study was done using stored serum samples of US military personnel. All multiple sclerosis (MS) cases diagnosed between 1992 - 2004 (N = 257) were matched with two similar controls. The researchers found a 62% lower risk of MS with serum levels greater than 40 ng/ml compared to <25 ng/ml.
For a more detailed look at latitude, vitamin D, and how to treat MS with vitamin D, please read our five March 2016 newsletters.

Heart Attack

This study used data from the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study (HPFS), which enlisted over 50,000 male health care professionals in a voluntary study to evaluate diet and chronic disease. The study administered a health and disease questionnaire every 2 years; a food frequency questionnaire every 4 years; and asked for a blood sample once.
At the time of analysis, 454 men had developed nonfatal myocardial infarction (MI) or fatal CVD and were matched to two controls each. (The full paper is available online and includes many charts which explain the characteristics of the cohort - looking at health markers such as age, BMI, smoking, cholesterol, etc.) They determined that those with 25(OH)D levels of 30 ng/ml or higher had a 52% lower risk of MI compared to those with levels less than or equal to 15 ng/ml, adjusting for many cofactors such as age, smoking status, family history and BMI.

Preterm Birth

Bruce W. Hollis and Carol L. Wagner at the Medical University of South Carolina, conducted two double-blind placebo controlled trials to study the safety and effectiveness of supplementing pregnant women with vitamin D. In one trial (NICHD), participants were randomized into three groups: 400 IU/day, 2000 IU/day, 4000 IU/day. The second trial (Thrasher) had two groups: 2000 IU/day and 4000 IU/day. Recently, GrassrootsHealth analyzed the data from these trials by achieved serum 25(OH)D level and found maternal vitamin D serum levels 40 ng/ml were associated with a 59% lower risk of preterm birth compared to levels ≤20 ng/ml.

Postpartum Depression

A cohort study at a hospital in Turkey tested pregnant women for serum 25(OH)D levels mid-pregnancy and 6 months post-partum (N=179). The women were screened for post partum depression after 1 week, 6 weeks, and 6 months. There were 71% fewer women with post-partum depression among those who had serum levels 20 ng/ml compared to those with serum levels < 10 ng/ml.
Childhood Asthma

The Vitamin D Antenatal Asthma Reduction Trial (VDAART) was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in three centers across the US. 881 pregnant women in their first trimester were randomized into two groups - 4000 IU/day + prenatal vitamin (with 400 IU) or placebo + prenatal vitamin. Measurements were taken of the mother in their third trimester and of the child at three years old. Supplementing pregnant mothers with 4400 IU/day (vs. 400 IU/day) lowered the incidence of asthma and recurrent wheezing in children (through 3 years of age) by 20%. 

We Can't Wait! The Risk of NOT Taking Action

An analysis by William B. Grant concludes that if the US population were to increase their vitamin D serum levels from an average of 16 ng/ml in black Americans and 25 ng/ml in white Americans to 45 ng/ml for all groups, 400,000 lives would be saved each year, mostly from cancer and cardiovascular disease. 

Grant's analysis shows that sunlight could be used to raise vitamin D serum levels without having to increase the current public health recommendation from the Institute of Medicine. With the necessary increase in exposure to sunlight, he calculates that the death rate from melanoma or other skin cancer would increase by at most 12,000/year.

Raising serum level to 45 ng/ml...

Saves 388,000 lives per year in the US

Editor's Letter
Susan Siljander
Marketing Director, GrassrootsHealth

Susan Siljander
Marketing Director, GrassrootsHealth
A Public Health Promotion & Research Organization
Moving Research Into Practice NOW!
Order Now
Your participation in this project provides information for your answers to D questions and helps fund the GrassrootsHealth projects.

In the UK - Vitamin D Supplements Advised for Everyone

The good news: new public health advice for the UK recommends that everyone take a vitamin D supplement to protect bone and muscle health, and will supply it free to qualifying pregnant women and babies!

The not-so-good news: they are targeting a serum level of 25 nmol/L (10 ng/ml!) - less than the IOM goal of 50 nmol/L (20 ng/ml) that many vitamin D researchers said was too low to adequately protect bone health.

Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D Concentrations ≥40 ng/ml are Associated with >65% Lower Cancer Risk: Pooled Analysis of Randomized Trial and Prospective Cohort Study
Sharon L. McDonnell et al.
April 2016

Intake of vitamin D and risk of type 1 diabetes: a birth-cohort study.
Elina Hyppönen et al.
Institute of Child Health, London
November 2001

Incidence rate of type 2 diabetes is >50% lower in GrassrootsHealth cohort with median serum 25-hydroxy D of 41 ng/ml than in NHANES cohort with median of 22 ng/ml
Sharon L. McDonnell et al.
The Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
July, 2015

A higher dose of vitamin D reduces the risk of falls in nursing home residents: a randomized, multiple-dose study
Kerry E. Broe et al.
Institute for Aging Research, Boston
Journal of American Geriatrics
February 2007

Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D Levels and Risk of Multiple Sclerosis

Kassandra L. Munger et al.

Kassandra L. Munger et al. Harvard School of Public Health
December 2006

A Prospective Study of 25-Hydroxy-Vitamin D and Risk of Myocardial Infarction in Men
Edward Giovannucci et al.
Harvard School of Public Health
JAMA Internal Medicine
June 2008

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 et al.
Journal of Steroid Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
January 2016

The effect of vitamin D level in pregnancy on postpartum depression
Esra B. Gur et al.
Sifa University Izmir, Turkey
European Journal of Gynecology and Reproductive Biology
August 2014
Read Paper

Effect of Prenatal Supplementation With Vitamin D on Asthma or Recurrent Wheezing in Offspring by Age 3 Years
Augusto A. Litonjua et al.
January 26, 2016

In defense of the sun
An estimate of changes in mortality rates in the United States if mean serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D
levels were raised to 45 ng/mL by solar ultraviolet-B irradiance
William B. Grant
Sunlight, Nutrition and Health Research Center
August 2009

Cost/Benefit of Optimal Health with Sunshine, Vitamin D
William B. Grant, PhD

What would our world be like if everyone was sufficient? 

A reduction of 250,000 new diabetes cases per year.


Vitamin D can help prevent cancer, but has more impact in preventing death from cancer 


Vitamin D prevents 19 out of the top 30 diseases including: cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer's, falls and fractures.

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