VITAMIN D AND YOUR FERTILITY
Historically, vitamin D has received most attention due to its involvement in bone health and immunity. Although the studies are there to prove it, until more recently, not much attention is given to this hormone-like vitamin’s ability to influence male and female fertility.
Given what we know today, testing your vitamin D levels must not be overlooked and should routinely be part of your comprehensive preconception health care testing and assessments.
It is now well established that vitamin D plays an important role in both male and female reproductive function, for a healthy pregnancy and the health of your baby throughout their lifetime.
It’s the sunshine vitamin and has hormone like actions influencing virtually every cell in the body and particularly reproductive cells and tissue.
VITAMIN D IMPACTS YOUR FERTILITY ON MULTIPLE LEVELS –
- Regulates genetic material and the way cells divide
- Signalling & ‘communication’ between sperm and egg at conception
- Regulates male & female reproductive hormones
- Improves sperm survival normally as well as determining how well sperm freezes for IVF
- And improves IVF outcomes in general
- Influences implantation of the embryo into the uterine lining
- Ensures proper embryonic cell division
Research shows LOW vitamin D status is associated with impaired fertility and an increased incidence of conditions such as endometriosis & PCOS that can hinder conception.
A higher rate of pregnancy complications such as pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, preterm birth, low birth weight and intrauterine growth retardation are also associated with poor vitamin D status.
WHERE CAN YOU GET YOUR VITAMIN D? –
Some is absorbed via foods from the diet, particularly organic pasture fed animal products and organic plant foods i.e. anything that has grown in plenty of sunlight and not been contaminated with hormone disrupting chemicals.
But the vast majority is produced via photosynthesis in the skin through daily sunlight exposure.
Optimizing vitamin D levels for both partners with daily, short sunlight exposure and/or supplementation will help you not only conceive faster, but also have a healthier pregnancy and a healthier child.
HOW MUCH DO YOU NEED FOR OPTIMUM FERTILITY?
That will depend on what your present level is. It is important to know your current level and ensure it is optimized before trying to conceive.
The ideal level for fertility is between 110 – 120 nmol/L. If you have been trying to conceive for a long time or have known fertility problems, try to get you level closer to 150 nmol/L.Work with your practitioner to work out your specific requirements.
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