How Vitamin D Can Impact Your Fertility
Even if you have a balanced diet and are taking a prenatal or multi-vitamin, chances are you are not getting enough Vitamin D. Sometimes nicknamed the “the sunshine vitamin,” Vitamin D predominantly enters our bodies via the sun, which is absorbed by our skin and converted to a usable form by cholesterol. Unfortunately, this route also poses risks in exposure to ultraviolet B (UVB) that can be harmful in large doses. That is why it is essential for men and women who may be deficient to get routinely screened for Vitamin D levels and take supplements as directed by a provider.
The Importance of Vitamin D
Extensive research has shown that Vitamin D is critical to the overall health and well being of our bodies. In addition to regulating calcium levels, it has been widely proven that Vitamin D plays a dramatic role in managing and even preventing some chronic diseases like diabetes, obesity, autoimmune disease, cardiovascular disease and cancer.
What Exactly is Vitamin D
The CDC defines Vitamin D as a group of fat-soluble seco-sterols found naturally only in a few foods, such as fish-liver oils, fatty fish, mushrooms, egg yolks, and liver. The benefits of Vitamin D are vast. It maintains healthy bones, supports healthy immune and nervous systems, regulates insulin levels, helps in diabetes management, and aids in cancer prevention. It can be easy to forget that our bodies need enough Vitamin D to function and work properly. When your body is not receiving enough Vitamin D, symptoms can include muscle weakness, hair loss, and fatigue, and can be caused by diet or not enough exposure to sun.
The connection to Vitamin D and Fertility
In a study from the University of Birmingham, researchers found that women with normal levels of Vitamin D were 34 percent more likely to have a positive pregnancy test, 46 percent more likely to achieve a clinical pregnancy and a third more likely to have a live birth than women with low levels of Vitamin D. Additionally, those who take Vitamin D may experience fewer conditions such as preeclampsia, postpartum bleeding and complications during labor.
Though the link between a woman’s Vitamin D level and fertility is not conclusive, studies have shown there may be benefits to elevating Vitamin D levels before trying to conceive. With any study, there are many factors that could impact the results and data can be subjective. But with the findings that Vitamin D could link to fertility and its overall health benefits, it is recommended to evaluate and see where there can be improvements.
And it doesn’t stop at women – Vitamin D deficiency is also linked with decreased fertility in men. Sperm motility has been shown to improve by taking Vitamin D supplements and is highly recommended to have levels checked if infertility is suspected.
Can I get Enough Vitamin D from Food?
Surprisingly, there are only a few foods that naturally contain any Vitamin D. They include fatty fish like salmon, foods fortified with Vitamin D, including some dairy products, orange juice, soy milk, and cereals, beef liver, cheese and egg yolks. It’s almost impossible to get the levels of Vitamin D that your body needs just from food sources alone, so supplements are always recommended.
With constant advancement and new studies emerging regularly, knowing what works for you can get overwhelming when it comes to the “dos and don’ts” of nutrition, diet and supplementation when trying to conceive. Be sure to consult a trusted provider before making any changes to your diet to determine what the best game plan is for your unique fertility journey.