A build up of excess calcium in the womb has been found as a possible cause behind some pre-term births, according to Dr. Irina Buhimscho of Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. While it has long been blamed for causing kidney stones, as well as hardening arteries in older adults, tests involving 100 pregnant women, found that abnormal calcium deposits tended to make (normally) elastic amniotic sacs more prone to rupturing when clusters of multiprotein particles end up in the soft tissue rather than being deposited in the bones.
In fact, Buhimscho stated that she was inspired to conduct her study after she and her team noted that calcified plaques are frequently found in placentas after birth for unknown reasons, although they knew that amniotic fluid can produce the particles. At the same time, her team noted that the fluid surrounding preemies contained reduced levels of the fetuin-A protein meant to keep the calciprotein from traveling through the blood to the wrong place.
A birth is considered “preterm” when a child is born before 37 weeks of pregnancy have been completed and occurs in approximately 11%-13% of pregnancies in the US with nearly 60% of the cases involving twins, triplets, and other multiple deliveries, leaving them vulnerable to numerous life-long health problems. These can include RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) infection in their lungs; Intraventricular hemorrhage (bleeding in the brain); Patent ductus arterioles (caused when the connection between two major blood vessels near the heart don’t close properly resulting in breathing problems or heart failure); Necrotizing enterocolitis (a problem with a baby’s intestines); Retinopathy; Jaundice; Apnea; and Anemia, and so on.
Meanwhile, federal officials are warning doctors that they may be over-testing their patients regarding vitamin D deficiencies that generally don’t exist, yet are causing them to take too many supplements they don’t need. In fact, a new report just published in today’s New England Journal of Medicine notes that “less than 6% of people in this country, ages 1-70 have any Vitamin D deficiency, and only 13% are in danger of not getting enough.”
In addition, author Dr. JoAnn Manson of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston believes blood testing for Vitamin D deficiency should not be done at all unless there is evidence of bone loss. Yet despite this, Medicare reported an “83-fold”increase in Vitamin D testing from 2000-2010 to nearly 9 million in 2015, making it the 5th most common prescribed test just after cholesterol levels and ahead of blood sugar, urinary tract infections, and prostate screening, at a cost of $40 a piece.
Manson is one of the several advisors to the institute of Medicine, which set the Recommended dietary allowance for it, estimated to be between 400-600 international units daily.
Vitamin D is produced naturally by the body from sunlight and is needed to absorb calcium. While few foods contain Vitamin D naturally, many, including calcium-rich milk and other dairy products, as well as orange juice, tofu, breakfast cereals and bread are fortified with the nutrient. Meanwhile, other food sources of calcium include soybeans, figs, quinoa, okra; rutabaga; broccoli; dandelion leaves; spinach, chard, rhubarb and kale, as well as seaweeds such as kelp, wakame, and hijiki; almonds, hazelnuts, sesame, and pistachios;