December 31, 2008
Vitamin D and Cesarean Sections:
It has been know for decades that vitamin D deficiency has a negative effect on muscle strength. A study in the December issue of Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism reports it’s association with Cesarean Delivery.
25-hydroxyvitamin D levels were measured in 253 mothers at a Boston hospital. The rate of cesarean delivery was 14% in women with levels over 15 nanograms, and 28% in women with levels less than 15 nanograms (a very low level).
The normal 25-hydroxyvitamin D level is 32 to 100 ng. Fulltime male lifeguards have been shown to have levels of 150 ng. at the end of the summer. Out of 1300 untreated patients, I have seen one level at 105 ng. in a 45 year old woman who walked 6 miles a day all year round, and one level of 92 ng. obtained in August from a 60 year old man who fished every weekend in the summer and spent much time gardening. The next highest levels have been in the 50’s. The much talked about toxicity that is mentioned in practically every newspaper article about vitamin D only occurs at levels over 200 ng., which can only be reached by taking 75,000 units or more for an extended length of time.
The ideal level for maximum bone strength is 40 ng. Studies have shown that there is a maximal anti-breast cancer effect at 52 ng. Some vitamin D experts recommend an ideal level of 50 to 70 ng. Studies are needed in people with cancer, but some experts are recommending levels of 70 to 100 ng. in someone with cancer.
In regard to Cesarean sections, the economic cost and suffering of pregnant women could be greatly reduced if gynecologists ordered 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels for all their pregnant patients and treated any insufficiency to at least a level of 32 nanograms. (The ideal level of vitamin D is at least 50 to 70 ng.)