18-28 Segment 2: Vitamin D and Preterm Births

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Over 1,000 babies are born prematurely every day in the United States, costing us 12 billion dollars a year. Karen Howard, Executive Director of the Organic and Natural Health Association, says that an adequate level of vitamin D in the mother’s bloodstream could help solve this problem. She points to a study done by the Medical University of South Carolina that, according to Howard, validates her claim, and she explains what we should be doing to get enough vitamin D.

According to the study, the risk of preterm birth in women with a vitamin D deficiency was reduced by 50%, simply by gaining an appropriate level of the vitamin. Howard says that this finding needs to be widely advertised, because many people and doctors are misinformed. Many studies have focused on dosage amounts of vitamin D, but Howard says what really matters is the amount that gets into our bloodstreams. Furthermore, the amount of vitamin D that we need is often much higher than generally believed.

The best way to get vitamin D is to spend time in the sun without sunscreen. While many dermatologists encourage the use of sunscreen to prevent skin cancer, Howard says it is the enemy of vitamin D. Also, people with darker skin colors have the added challenge of needing to spend more time in the sun in order to get an appropriate level of vitamin D. For a person with white skin, being in the sun three times a week for 20 minutes without sunscreen is sufficient. But, for those who can’t do this or need to spend much longer in the sun, dietary supplements can help. Howard encourages everyone to spread the word about the connection between vitamin D and reduced risks of preterm birth and, of course, to ensure they get their vitamin D.

For more information about vitamin D and preterm birth or about our guest, visit the links below.

Guest:

  • Karen Howard, Executive Director of the Organic and Natural Health Association

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Coming Up On Radio Health Journal Show 18-28

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Is Sex Addiction Real?

The authoritative DSM-5 manual used by psychiatrists does not accept sex addiction as a real addiction, yet many doctors insist it’s as real as any other compulsion. Experts and an admitted former sex addict discuss the disorder, its treatment, and the wreckage it leaves behind.

Vitamin D and Preterm Births

Premature births are increasing in the US, but a new study shows they could be cut drastically if pregnant women increased blood levels of vitamin D. An expert discusses misconceptions about the vitamin, how it works and how it could be used to reduce infant mortality.  

Medical Notes 17-22

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Medical Notes this week…

A lot of people take low-dose aspirin for heart health but a new study shows it may also protect women against breast cancer. The study in the journal Breast Cancer Research shows that a regular dose of baby aspirin cuts breast cancer overall by 16% and reduces “hormone-receptor positive, HER2 negative” breast cancers by 20%. Those are the most common form of breast cancer. Higher aspirin doses taken less often were not protective, nor were other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen.

Vitamin D is known as “the sunshine vitamin” because the skin produces it when exposed to the sun. But a new study shows that sunscreen is getting in the way of vitamin D. The study in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association shows that sunscreen has contributed to nearly a million cases of vitamin D deficiency around the world. Scientists suggest that people should spend between five and thirty minutes twice a week out in the midday sun before they put on sunscreen.

And finally, extra testosterone makes men go with their gut, and they’re often wrong. A study in the journal Psychological Science shows that men who’d been given a dose of testosterone gel performed 20% worse than a control group on brain teasers where a person’s initial guess is usually wrong. Researchers believe the testosterone produced overconfidence so they never thought twice about their answers.

And that’s Medical Notes this week.

Medical Notes 17-11

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Medical Notes this week…

Government statistics are now quantifying the huge increase in drug overdose deaths. A report from the National Center for Health Statistics shows that the drug death rate in 2015 was between two and three times what it was in 1999. During those 16 years, overdose deaths rose an average of 5.5 percent per year. Researchers say heroin deaths tripled and now make up a quarter of the total, while deaths from prescription pain medications declined slightly.

Millions of people take vitamin C to ward off colds and infections, but a new study finds that vitamin D is also important. The study in the journal BMJ shows that getting enough vitamin D cuts the proportion of people who get an acute respiratory infection by about 12 percent. Researchers say the study supports public health measures such as fortifying foods to increase vitamin D at least in locations where deficiency is common.

And finally, are pharmaceutical companies “getting away with murder” in relation to high drug prices? The president thinks so and about 75 percent of people agree. The Zogby poll for the organization Prescription Justice shows that 45 percent of people think the prescription drug supply system needs a major overhaul to reduce prices. About 30 percent of respondents say they’ve failed to get a prescription filled at some time in their life because it cost too much.

And that’s Medical Notes this week.