Last updated: May 1st, 2021 at 10:19 am
Vitamin D and Fertility
Author, Linda Ryan, BA, Lic TCM, CH
There are a lot of research studies about the relationship between low Vitamin D and Fertility. Vitamin D deficiency plays a role in both fertility and pregnancy. Vitamin D is essential to fertility and getting pregnant. This is because it is needed to help the body create reproductive hormones.
It is common to see a Vitamin D deficiency in women with ovulation problems such as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). Low Vitamin D levels have also been associated with the following:
- IVF failure (particularly at the implantation stage)
- Ovulation problems
- The pregnancy complication Pre-eclampsia
- Premature birth
In Zita West’s IVF Clinic, they identify a Vitamin D deficiency in over 50% of their UK clients who are tested. Of particular note, a deficiency of Vitamin D appears to be common among women of African and Asian origin. Various IVF clinics have started advising their patients take a Vitamin D3 supplement.
“Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin that is present in a variety of forms but has recently been recognized as playing a critical role in reproduction. It is essential in the production of sex hormones in the body. It is thought that a deficiency of Vitamin D may lead among other things to ovulation disorders.
It has been demonstrated that Vitamin D deficient rats had a 75% reduced fertility and a 50% smaller litter size that was corrected with Vitamin D treatment. In addition, sperm motility in males was reduced in the presence of a Vitamin D deficiency. A recent study at the Yale University School of Medicine revealed that only 7% of 67 infertile women studied had normal Vitamin D levels and not a single woman with an ovulatory disorder had normal levels. Nearly 40% of women with ovulatory dysfunction had a clinical deficiency of Vitamin D.
At the American Society of Reproductive Medicine conference this year, a study presented by Dr. Briana Rudick from USC showed that a deficiency of Vitamin D can also have a detrimental effect on pregnancy rates after IVF, possibly through an effect on the endometrial lining of the uterus. In her study only 42% of the infertile women going through IVF had normal Vitamin D levels. Vitamin D levels did not impact the number of ampules of gonadotropin utilized nor the number of eggs stimulated, embryos created nor embryo quality. However, Vitamin D levels did significantly effect pregnancy rates even when controlled for number of embryos transferred and embryo quality. In this study the pregnancy rate dropped from 51% in Caucasian women undergoing IVF who had normal Vitamin D levels to 44% in those with insufficient levels and 19% in those that were deficient.
Vitamin D deficiency has also been associated with poor pregnancy outcomes including preeclampsia and gestational diabetes.”
Vitamin D3 Fertility Boost:
The good news is that Vitamin D deficiency is relatively easy to correct. Your body can make its own Vitamin D when you’re exposed to sunlight. Some experts recommend exposing your arms and legs to the sun for 15 to 30 minutes at least twice a week. Vitamin D is also present in various foods such as oily fish and eggs, but it can be difficult to obtain sufficient amounts from diet. You can also take a vitamin D3 supplement. Do a Google search for a local retailer.
What Else Can You Do About a Deficiency in Vitamin D and Fertility?
The good news is that you don’ have to rely on taking yet another pill or making the time to sunbathe. There is a very natural alternative to sunlight exposure. You can get a Full Spectrum Lamp. These lamps contain Full Spectrum light bulbs which can ensure frequent opportunities to increase natural production of Vitamin D. Not only can these lamps boost your vitamin D level naturally, but studies show they can help relieve SAD symptoms during long dark winter days. You can easily do a search and find them online.
Psychiatrist, John M. Eagles notes that, without a doubt, women in their childbearing years are most often identified as experiencing symptoms of SAD. There is a connection with Vitamin D and fertility.
If you are having difficulty getting pregnant and live in an overcast location it may be well worth considering having your own Vitamin D level tested and if it’s low consider supplementing with Vitamin D3 and getting a full spectrum lamp. The lamps are simple to use as well as stylish (the photo on the left is an example of one of these lamps). One thing is for sure, we could all use a brighter day!
Always consult your doctor before taking any supplements, herbs or vitamins, especially if you are doing IVF.
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Hi, I’m Linda Ryan, Fertility Acupuncturist & mother of three: Having overcome my own fertility issues is what drives me to help women like you to achieve the results that