Vitamin D Levels Linked to Miscarriage
When most people think of their need for vitamin D, they tend to think about their bones and how a deficiency can negatively affect them.
Few others may even consider depression and mental health as possible side effects of low vitamin D. However, most people don’t know or realize that vitamin D deficiencies have been linked to numerous other problems such as inflammation, autoimmune disorders, cancers, and even heart disease.
Upon exposure to UV rays or via supplemental ingestion, several biochemical processes ensue which cause vitamin D to become a hormone called calcitriol. Calcitriol circulates through our bloodstream, with its main role as a regulator of the cellular concentrations of calcium and phosphate via intestinal absorption. The homeostasis of calcium heavily contributes to the healthy growth and remodeling of our bones. Moreover, calcitriol helps to reduce inflammation, promote cell growth, as well as act on our immunity and neuromuscular functions. Endless research is done in order to determine just how much of our biochemical functions it’s involved in.
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Of these studies, several have been done on the effects of vitamin D levels and pregnancy. Some studies have shown that low levels can lead to higher rates of gestational diabetes, preeclampsia and smaller babies. While other studies have shown that adequate levels of vitamin D show higher rates of successful natural and IVF conception. A recent cohort study done by NIH/Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, concluded that people who have already suffered miscarriage but had adequate levels of vitamin D, were at least 10-15% more likely to conceive and have a successful pregnancy compared to people who were considered to be deficient.
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In the above study, researchers analyzed the blood levels of 1,200 patients both before pregnancy and again at the eighth week of pregnancy. Patients who had sufficient preconception vitamin D were found to be 10% more likely to conceive and 15% more likely to sustain the pregnancy. Furthermore, amongst the patients who did become pregnant, each 10 nanogram per milliliter increase in preconception vitamin D levels was correlated with a 12% lower risk of miscarriage.
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The conclusions of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver study on vitamin D and miscarriage show that sufficient vitamin D is highly likely to play a protective role in pregnancy, yet another significant finding related to the importance of vitamin D. And, while causation isn’t always evident, researchers have been able to link deficiencies in vitamin D to hundreds of different medical conditions. Despite vitamin D actually being called a vitamin, it really is a type of hormone called a prohormone. The endless biological reach of many of our hormones aren’t entirely understood. But thankfully, on a regular basis, new information on the roles and importance of vitamin D is released and researchers are hopeful they will soon find concrete links.
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