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Vitamin D Found to Help Placental Health

By Greg Arnold, DC, CSCS, December 8, 2008, abstracted from “Vitamin D Induces Innate Antibacterial Responses in Human Trophoblasts via an Intracrine Pathway” printed online in Biology of Reproduction

There are a number of ways a mother’s diet can help protect both her health and her unborn baby. These include taking probiotics (1), a multivitamin (2), vitamin C (3), vitamin E (4), vitamin B-3 (5), calcium (6), and omega-3 fats (7) as well as decreasing pollution exposure (8). Now a new study (9) has found that vitamin D, shown previously to help with bone health during pregnancy (10), may also help with immunity during pregnancy and maintain the health of the placenta.

Research has shown that vitamin D can increase activity of an enzyme in the placenta (11) that can strengthen the body’s immune system (12). In the lab study, researchers exposed placental tissue samples obtained during the third trimester of pregnancy to doses of the active form of vitamin D (1,25 (OH)2D) ranging from 1 to 100 nanomoles. They found that as vitamin D doses increased, so did the production of an antimicrobial protein called cathelicidin (13) that helped stop the spread of of E. Coli bacteria. Production of cathelicidin in the placenta nearly doubled when doses went from 10 to 100 nanmoles of vitamin D.

These results support previous research showing the active form of vitamin D “to both enhance antimicrobial proteins and suppress…inflammation” (14). For the researchers, “data from this study suggest that…[vitamin D]…may play a key role in placental immunity.”

Greg Arnold is a Chiropractic Physician practicing in Danville, CA. You can contact Dr. Arnold directly by emailing him at mailto:PitchingDoc@msn.com or visiting his web site at www.CompleteChiropracticHealthcare.com

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