Vitamin D Supplementation May Improve Fertility

sunshine-at-beach-BertramNudelbach-flickr.jpg

Scientists continue to accumulate evidence substantiating a link between vitamin D levels and fertility.

Much of the research into the effects of vitamin D on fertility has been done by Dr. Elisabeth Lerchbaum and her team at the Medical University of Graz. Their work suggests vitamin D influences aspects of fertility in men and women, such as sperm cell production and maturation, and egg cell, and uterine lining maturation.

Vitamin D levels have also been correlated with in-vitro fertilization (IVF) results, some symptoms of PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) and endometriosis in women, and with semen quality and hormone levels in men.

Some of Lerchbaum’s research indicates vitamin D supplementation is beneficial during certain stages of egg cell maturation, and menstrual cycle regulation in women with PCOS. Evidence for vitamin D supplementation also exists for couples undergoing IVF, and for men hoping to improve semen quality, testosterone levels, and fertility outcomes.

Vitamin D is a hormone our body produces when exposed to sunlight, and is also acquired from foods such as egg yolk, and fatty fish. Deficiencies in vitamin D are increasingly associated with a variety of diseases including cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. At least half of U.S. adults are believed to have insufficient levels of this vitamin.

While evidence that vitamin D deficiency negatively impacts fertility is growing, more research is needed to determine whether the deficiency has a causal effect.

“High quality randomized controlled trials are needed to evaluate how vitamin D supplementation affects fertility and sex hormone production in men and women,” said Dr. Lechbaum. “There is also an ongoing debate about what the optimal dose of vitamin D levels and supplementation should be. Looking at the metabolism of vitamin D could open up new treatment methods. Vitamin D supplementation might be a safe and affordable treatment option in PCOS or might support couples who want to have children.”

Source: Science Daily; Mercola
Photo credit: Bertram Nudelbach


 
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