Insufficient vitamin D levels linked to infertility
Infertility has many causes but one that has been overlooked for a so long is Vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that exists in variety of forms, although most of these forms are inactive in the body. It is produced in the skin as a consequence to sun exposure and by eating certain foods.
Vitamin D deficiency is a common problem among women. Perhaps, this may be due to the fact that they do not get enough sun exposure due to the risk of skin hyper-pigmentation or skin cancer. Vitamin D deficiency may also be as a result of poor nutrition. In addition, problems in the digestive tract can also cause inadequate absorption of Vitamin D. Lastly, being overweight or obese can also cause Vitamin D deficiency.
Vitamin D plays a very important role in disease prevention and for maintaining optimal health. Most people have always known that Vitamin D is important for bone formation and for bone health. Well, In addition to bone health, Vitamin D aids in the prevention of various health conditions including heart-related diseases, cancer, and depression, while in recent years, it has been shown to have a positive effect on fertility for both men and women.
The reason Vitamin D is so important for fertility and in getting pregnant is because it is needed to help the body produce sex hormones. These sex hormones are very important for overall wellbeing and for reproductive health. For instance, those who suffer from hormonal imbalances such as those with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) would most likely suffer from infertility due to inadequate Vitamin D levels. Studies have shown that Vitamin D levels are higher in a healthy woman than in patients suffering from PCOS. It is also worth mentioning that Vitamin D supplementation improves the effects of infertility treatment in people with PCOS.
Vitamin D also stimulates Anti Mullerian hormone (AMH) production. AMH is a hormone secreted by cells in developing ovarian follicles and its level in a woman’s blood is generally a good indicator of her ovarian reserve.
According to a study published by the Journal of Epidemiology, people with Vitamin D deficiency also have an increased risk of uterine fibroids.
Studies have also shown that women with sufficient levels of Vitamin D are twice more likely to conceive than those that are deficient. This is because Vitamin D helps in boosting production of good quality eggs in the ovaries therefore improving the chances of successful embryo implantation in the womb.
Among women, Vitamin D helps to improve IVF outcomes. It also helps improve other reproductive health conditions such as PCOS and Endometriosis, and boosts progesterone and oestrogen hormones. These hormones help to regulate menstrual cycles and improve the likelihood of successful conception.
In men, Vitamin D is essential for healthy sperm development and helps to improve sperm count and quality. It also increases testosterone levels which help boost libido. All these functions just go to show how sufficient levels of Vitamin D would have a positive effect on reproductive health.
So, how can one identify Vitamin D deficiency?
Different people have different symptoms that manifest as a result of Vitamin D deficiency. These include joint pain, fatigue, headaches, poor concentration, and muscle cramps, but the best way to confirm Vitamin D deficiency would be to take a simple blood test to measure its levels in the blood.
How can one increase their Vitamin D levels?
The easiest and cheapest way would be to sit out in the sun for about 30 minutes a day. Skin exposure to sunlight without the use of sunscreen has been shown to moderately increase Vitamin D levels. Sunscreen lotions block the ultraviolet rays that are needed to produce this vitamin.
Another way to increase Vitamin D levels would be to increase the intake of Vitamin D rich foods such as eggs, fatty fish, and dairy, as well as Vitamin D supplements.
It takes nothing to visit your doctor to make sure your Vitamin D levels are intact, but the best part is it’s free to increase Vitamin D to optimal levels by taking a walk outside every afternoon to get adequate sun exposure. It is a simple step that can have a profound effect on one’s reproductive health, whether you are trying to conceive naturally or plan to undergo InVitroFertilization (IVF).
Disclaimer: The medical information provided on here by Dr. Nini Iyizoba is provided as an information resource only. This information does not create any patient-physician relationship and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.