I got up this morning to a new report showing a significant association between vitamin D deficiency and Cesarean deliveries of children.
Vitamin D deficiency is common in pregnant women, and it may lead to an increased risk for cesarean delivery, early research suggests.
Vitamin D researcher Michael Holick, MD, PhD, and colleagues from the Boston Medical Center report that women in their study who were severely vitamin D deficient during childbirth were about four times more likely to deliver by cesarean section as women with higher vitamin D levels.
What’s interesting to me is to connect dots, so here we go. The first thing this report reminded me of is how Weston Price, in Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, frequently observed that many things go together, i.e., tooth decay, along with crowded teeth, along with susceptibility to tuberculosis and other diseases not encountered in primitives consuming their traditional diets, and on to heavily labored childbirth, among other afflictions.
As an aside, and I haven’t done any particular digging on this point (perhaps someone has who can lay down a comment and reference), but do wild animals existing in an environment adequate to their needs often experience undue problems birthing their offspring in the absence of veterinarians and animal hospitals? I would guess not. Biologically, humans are 100% animals. But, we’re domesticated. So where does that lead your thinking? As a final tidbit, Price also documents birthing problems as well as severe deformities in domestic animals.
Here’s an excerpt from Price specifically in regard to childbirth in primitives, contrasted with those who had taken on some measure of our Western diet.
One of the outstanding changes which I have found takes place in the primitive races at their point of contact with our modern civilization is a decrease in the ease and efficiency of the birth process. When I visited the Six Nation Reservation at Brantford, Ontario, I was told by the physician in charge that a change of this kind had occurred during the period of his administration, which had covered twenty-eight years and that the hospital was now used largely to care for young Indian women during abnormal childbirth (Chapter 6).
A similar impressive comment was made to me by Dr. Romig, the superintendent of the government hospital for Eskimos and Indians at Anchorage, Alaska. He stated that in his thirty-six years among the Eskimos, he had never been able to arrive in time to see a normal birth by a primitive Eskimo woman. But conditions have changed materially with the new generation of Eskimo girls, born after their parents began to use foods of modern civilization. Many of them are carried to his hospital after they had been in labour for several days. One Eskimo woman who had married twice, her last husband being a white man, reported to Dr. Romig and myself that she had given birth to twentysix children and that several of them had been born during the night and that she had not bothered to waken her husband, but had introduced him to the new baby in the morning.
Sherman, (10) who has made many important contributions to our knowledge of vitamin A, has shown in a recent communication that an amount of vitamin A sufficient to support normal growth and maintain every appearance of good health in animals, may still be insufficient to meet the added nutritive demands of successful reproduction and lactation. With the failure to reproduce successfully, there usually appears in early adult life an increased susceptibility to infection, and particularly a tendency to lung disease at an age corresponding to that at which pulmonary tuberculosis so often develops in young men and women. He states, further, that vitamin A must be supplied in liberal proportions not only during the growth period but during the adult period as well, if a good condition of nutrition and a high degree of health and vigor are to be maintained.
Price goes on at length about vitamin A, along with E — both fat soluble vitamins in combination with D and K2. But let’s connect more dots, OK? First, here’s a very interesting look by Stephan at Whole Health Source about how all these vitamins work in combination, specifically in the context of vitamin A toxicity.
The question of optimal intake is where opinions begin to diverge. Hunter-gatherers and healthy non-industrial cultures, who almost invariably had excellent dental and skeletal development and health, often had a very high intake of vitamin A (according to Dr. Weston Price and others). This is not surprising, considering their fondness for organ meats. A meager 2 ounces of beef liver contains about 9,500 IU, or almost 200% of your U.S. and Canadian recommended daily allowance (RDA). Kidney and eye are rich in vitamin A, as are many of the marine oils consumed by the Inuit and other arctic groups.
If we can extrapolate from historical hunter-gatherers, our ancestors didn’t waste organs. In fact, in times of plenty, some groups discarded the muscle tissue and ate the organs and fat. Carnivorous animals often eat the organs first, because they know exactly where the nutrients are. Zookeepers know that if you feed a lion nothing but muscle, it does not thrive.
This is the background against which we must consider the question of vitamin A toxicity. Claims of toxicity must be reconciled with the fact that healthy cultures often consumed large amounts of vitamin A without any ill effects. […]
The only problem is, this position ignores the interactions between fat-soluble vitamins. Vitamin D strongly protects agains vitamin A toxicity and vice versa. As a matter of fact, “vitamin A toxicity” is almost certainly a relative deficiency of vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency is also tightly correlated with low bone mineral density, osteoporosis and fracture risk. A high vitamin A intake requires vitamin D to balance it. The epidemiological studies showing an association between high-normal vitamin A intake and reduced bone health all sported populations that were moderately to severely vitamin D deficient on average. At optimal vitamin D levels, 40-70 ng/mL 25(OH)D, it would take a whopping dose of vitamin A to induce toxicity. You might get there if you eat nothing but beef liver for a week or two.
The experiment hasn’t been done under controlled conditions in humans, but if you believe the animal studies, the optimal intake for bone mineral density is a high intake of both vitamins A and D. And guess what? A high intake of vitamins A and D also increases the need for vitamin K2. That’s because they work together. For example, vitamin D3 increases the secretion of matrix Gla protein and vitamin K2 activates it. Is it any surprise that the optimal proportions of A, D and K occur effortlessly in a lifestyle that includes outdoor activity and whole, natural animal foods? This is the blind spot of the researchers who have warned of vitamin A toxicity: uncontrolled reductionism. Vitamins do not act in a vacuum; they interact with one another. If your theory doesn’t agree with empirical observations from healthy cultures, it’s back to the drawing board.
Now, here’s Chris Masterjohn on some of the other roles of K2.
Our understanding of the K vitamins is rapidly expanding and we are likely to discover many new roles for them as the twenty-first century progresses.
The highest concentration of vitamin K2 exists in the salivary glands and the pancreas. These organs exhibit an overwhelming preference for K2 over K1 and retain high amounts of the vitamin even when animals consume a vitamin K-deficient diet.(15) The high presence of the vitamin in both of these organs suggests a role in activating digestive enzymes, although its apparent role in the regulation of blood sugar could explain its presence in the pancreas.(76) The testes of male rats also exhibit a high preference for and retention of vitamin K2,(16) and human sperm possess a vitamin K-dependent protein with an unknown function.(77) The kidneys likewise accumulate large amounts of vitamin K2(69) and secrete vitamin K-dependent proteins that inhibit the formation of calcium salts. Patients with kidney stones secrete this protein in its inactive form, which is between four and twenty times less effective than its active form at inhibiting the growth of calcium oxalate crystals, suggesting that vitamin K2 deficiency is a major cause of kidney stones.(77)
The use of Warfarin during pregnancy produces developmental malformations of the face; as the nasal cartilage calcifies, growth of the nose comes to an early end, resulting in a stubby appearance.(78) Vitamin K2 therefore most certainly played a role in the development of beautiful faces with broad features that Price observed among primitive peoples.
So, my speculation is that this is what happens when you don’t heed Francis Bacon’s keen observation: “Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed.” While I am all for technology, advancement, science, and medical “miracles,” I believe that the downright obstinate arrogance today’s modern researchers and “health authorities” get away with is a direct consequence of the general populace buying into Hobbes’ fallacy, when he described man’s primitive life as “solitary, poore, nasty, brutish, and short.” Given that, what do you think of Carl P. Weiner, MD, and the other “experts?” To wit:
Not So Fast, Expert Says
But maternal-fetal medicine specialist Carl P. Weiner, MD, says more research is needed before such a recommendation would be justified. Weiner is chairman of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Kansas Medical Center.
“This is an interesting study, but very preliminary, and it should not be seen as the basis for a change in clinical practice,” Weiner tells WebMD. “We really can’t say if there is a downside or an upside to additional vitamin D.”
Do you see right through Dr. Weiner and his brand of “expertise” like I do? I’ll speculate and psychoanalyze: I think Dr. Weiner is very enamored of being considered an “expert” and being called upon to render “expert” opinion. Of course, that requires rendering opinion fully in accordance with the doctrines espoused by the “authorities.”
Me, and others? We just care about health. The very well established record with respect to healthy hunter-gatherers proves beyond any shadow of any doubt that we have gone far astray of a healthful diet. People like Dr. Weiner have been contributing to that state of affairs for decades. Where once that may have been motivated more by a bright eyed but ultimately ignorant confidence in “modern science,” we have come to the point where “authorities” and “experts” are simply standing in the way of proven wisdom for the sake of their fraudulent reputations.
Later: Stephan reminded me of and posted a link to an August post of his dealing with a lot of this very same issue (childbirth), with lots of archeological background. Having just re-reviewed it myself I’m putting up a link here for those who may not see the comments.