As a holistic health practitioner who works often with women before/during pregnancy, I have seen firsthand that one of the most important things a mother can do is ensure that nutritional deficiencies are corrected before, or at least during, pregnancy in order to give her baby the best health possible.
There is a common denominator in most respiratory illnesses in babies, and that is Vitamin D deficiency.
Research Demonstrating Respiratory Illness to Vitamin D Deficiency
Several recent epidemiology studies have observed the association between inadequate vitamin D concentrations and hospitalization and/or respiratory infection among children.1
Check out some research demonstrating various respiratory illnesses and Vitamin D deficiency:
RSV (respiratory syncytial virus)
Vitamin D deficiency in healthy neonates is associated with increased risk of RSV in the first year of life. Intensified routine vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy may be a useful strategy to prevent RSV during infancy.2
Muhe et al. examined the risk for developing pneumonia among Ethiopian children with nutritional rickets. This case-control study found a strong positive correlation between vitamin D deficiency and respiratory compromise.3
Cystic Fibrosis (I did have some research links for some info on Vitamin D deficiency in those with cystic fibrosis but for some reason, received a lot of criticism for this info so I have since deleted it.)
Prevalence and Overlooked Causes of Vitamin D Deficiency
Estimates suggest that 1 billion people around the world may be vitamin D insufficient/deficient.1
But for many women (and men) today, Vitamin D deficiency isn't as simple as being out in the sun more or taking more Vitamin D supplements. The most common, and yet dangerously overlooked, reason for Vitamin D deficiency today is poor liver function.
It is the liver's job to convert 25-OH vitamin D, also known as calcidiol, to the metabolically active 1,25 dihydroxyvitamin D 1-25 vitamin D, also known as calcitriol.
Nowadays, poor liver health isn't just caused by alcohol consumption anymore. More common culprits include:
- Foods and drinks containing high-fructose corn syrup
- Prescription medications (esp. pain meds, SSRI's, headache meds, etc.)
- OTC pain relievers
- Low stomach acid
- Poor gallbladder health
- Poor diet
- Poor digestive health
Things that support liver health (in addition to avoidance of the things mentioned above) include:
- Organic beets (roots and greens)
- Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, etc.)
- Milk Thistle
- Lemon vitality essential oil
- JuvaCleanse Vitality essential oil
- JuvaTone Tablets
And just as anything we do holistically (treating the WHOLE body), when you support your liver health, you don't just support your body's ability to convert Vitamin D properly; you support it so that it can properly convert many other things too such as Vitamin A, sex hormones, thyroid hormones, and much more!
It's very important to support liver health whenever Vitamin D deficiency is present.
Vitamin D Testing & Supplementing
It is my professional opinion that all women should have their Vitamin D level tested during pregnancy and optimize it (preferably with supporting liver health, sun exposure, and foods/supplements with naturally-occurring Vitamin D-see below) before baby is born.
A simple serum Vitamin D test can be done through most healthcare practitioners. For those who want the convenience of being able to do it at home, you can order a blood spot home test kit from my store. Blood spot tests do not require a full blood draw and are easy to do by anyone. (Click here for a video demonstration of how blood spot test samples are collected.)
Infants, especially those born to mothers who are deficient, should be supplemented in order to prevent respiratory illnesses. Some argue with the risks of supplementing a fat-soluble Vitamin such as Vitamin D with infants but the risks of not supplementing clearly outweigh the risks of supplementing for those who are deficient.
When selecting a supplemental Vitamin D, choose a D3 that does not contain any vegetable oil filler (like soybean or corn oil) or any other undesirable ingredients. For babies, choose a liquid that does not contain any synthetic preservatives. Stay tuned for HFFG's Vitamin D3 available in the Store soon!
To ensure the body utilizes the Vitamin D properly, Vitamin K2 should be taken with D3. Click here for HFFG's K2.
So What Is A Good Dosage?
I am not comfortable providing general dosage instructions for either babies or mothers. It is preferable for the serum Vitamin D level to be tested and overall health be assessed to properly calculate dosage. For those who purchase the Vitamin D test through my website, I am happy to calculate dosage accordingly from the results.
Keep in mind that damage to an infant's immune system via the gut can also significantly increase a baby's risk of respiratory and other illnesses. Some of the most common factors in damage to an infant's gut that increase illness are vaccinations, antibiotics (directly or prenatally), c-section, rice cereal, infant formula, and acetaminophen. To support a baby's gut health (and thereby their immune health), being careful to avoid those things as much as possible and supplementing with a high-quality allergen-free infant probiotic is important.
In summary, Vitamin D supplementation should always be considered as a part of any therapy for infants dealing with respiratory illness. Vitamin D deficiency should always be considered in infants who get respiratory illnesses.
And ideally, women should optimize their Vitamin D levels and liver health before/during pregnancy for their baby's best health possible! Proper Vitamin D levels in mom can really have a fabulous impact on baby's health!
Blessings of good health,
~Sara Jo Poff
Holistic Health Practitioner