Now We Know Vitamin D Reduces Risk of Preterm Birth, What Next?


The Organic & Natural Health Association (@OrgNatHealth) is committed to research, especially when it’s designed to demonstrate how the supplements we take favorably impact nutrient deficiency.  We also believe it’s essential this evidence gets into the hands of our health care practitioners. Why?

Moving research outcomes into the practitioner’s office can change how they deliver care, and this is how we change our disease-based healthcare system into one that values prevention and true health.

In 2014, our research partner GrassrootsHealth embarked on a new nutrient field trial study with the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) to define the impact of vitamin D on birth rates. At the time, MUSC was delivering one preterm baby every day. From September 2015 through December 2016, 1,064 pregnant women (90% of whom were deficient in vitamin D) received care, had their vitamin D levels monitored regularly and delivered their babies at MUSC. The result? Women who achieved a vitamin D level equal to or greater than 40ng/ml had a 62% reduced chance of delivering a preterm baby as compared to women whose vitamin D level was under 20 ng/ml.

Every day in North America, more than 1,000 babies are born prematurely at devastating financial and personal cost. The Journal of Children and Poverty states preterm births cost society more than $26 billion every year in medical care, though lost productivity, hospital costs, special education and early intervention services. The risk reaches far with 48.8% of preterm births delivered with Medicaid coverage, and 42.1% of preterm births covered by private insurance.

CDC reports women of Asian ethnic origin have the lowest rates of preterm births, at 8.6%, while African-American women experience the highest rates, at 13.75% of all births. CDC also reports we show no sign of improvement for infant mortality rates. According to Save The Children, the United States has the highest rate of babies who die the day they are born in the industrialized world.

We can change this forecast.

Before the GrassrootsHealth study, virtually every physician and practitioner working with the project tested deficient for vitamin D. Now MUSC monitors vitamin D levels for all their pregnant patients. Organic & Natural Health has submitted a petition to the FDA to approve a health claim for vitamin D that will raise awareness of the risks for pregnant women and empower them to take action and monitor their vitamin D levels. The petition urges the FDA to acknowledge the body of work demonstrating an association between higher serum vitamin D levels and a reduced risk of preterm birth.

Email me at to keep up-to-date with our vitamin D petition to FDA as we aim for a positive outcome that encourages women and their doctors to use vitamin D in the interest of the generational health of our babies, their parents, and our system of care.

Karen Howard, CEO and Executive Director of Organic & Natural Health Karen Howard Natural & Organic Health AssociationAssociation is a visionary and results-focused leader who has spent more than 30 years working with Congress, state legislatures and healthcare organizations to develop innovative healthcare policy and programs. She has held a variety of executive positions, including serving as professional staff for a Congressional committee, and has policy expertise in the diverse areas of integrative and complementary medicine, managed care, healthcare technology and mental health. An advocate at heart, she has worked to strategically advance the mission and vision of organizations through effective advocacy and strong collaboration. Prior to Organic & Natural Health, Howard served as executive director for both the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) and the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Schools. During her nearly 10-year tenure at AANP, she built a sustainable infrastructure, significantly improved financial performance, established a strong federal presence and supported multiple state association advocacy efforts for licensure. Also during this time, the naturopathic medicine profession established itself as a key component of comprehensive healthcare for the future.





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