In the 20th century this super nutrient was only considered to be important for healthy bones and rickets prevention but then the scientists discovered receptors for this nutrient on over 30 organs including skin, kidneys, liver, bones, lungs, muscles, and you may have guessed it - male and female reproductive organs! Meet Fertility Super Nutrient Vitamin D
Five Fascinating Facts About Vitamin D For Fertility
- It's made from steroids, which gives it a vitamin-hormone name.
- It's fat soluble and stored in fat and skin.
- It can be synthesized by our skin when it's exposed to sunlight.
- Scientists still don't know how much of it we need. There are suggested adequate intakes and toxicity levels but the exact numbers are still unknown.
- You can't overdose on vitamin D from the sun but you can reach toxic levels of vitamin D from food. That's because the vitamin D from the sun is a precursor our body converts to vitamin D when needed.
How Vitamin D Can Improve Your Fertility
In Women, Vitamin D...
- Stimulates progesterone production in the ovaries by 13%.
- Stimulates production of two main estrogens in the ovaries; estrone by 21% and estradiol by 9%.
- Regulates HCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin expression - HCG is the pregnancy hormone measured in urine with a pregnancy test.
- Increases steroid (sex hormone) production in the placenta.
- Plays a key role in the endometrial development and implantation of the fertilized egg.
- Crucial for calcium transport in the placenta.
- Can influence IVF outcomes and pregnancy rates.
- Deficiency predisposes to PCOS and Endometriosis.
- Deficiency can result in lower quality embryos.
- Regulates menstrual cycles.
- Prevents breast cancer by over 70%.
In Men, Vitamin D...
- Regulates energy production in the Sertoli cells - where sperm are 'nursed' to adulthood.
- Needed for optimal testosterone levels and Leydig cell function - that's where testosterone is made in the testes.
- Important for optimal sperm count.
- Needed for calcium transport in the testes which is important for sperm production.
- Required for amino acid accumulation in the testes needed for sperm production.
- Has been linked in studies to increased sperm survival.
- Improves fertilizing ability of the sperm.
- Supports the sperm during it's final stage of development - capacitation by releasing energy for this crucial step to take place.
Get Your Vitamin D Levels CheckedUse a 25(OH)D test sometimes called 25-hydroxyvitamin D. Optimal levels of Vitamin D are estimated to be around 50-70 ng/ml. Anything below 40 ng/ml is predisposing you to a lot of health problems including infertility.
Vitamin D Deficient?You can get Vitamin D from dairy, meat and some oily fish. You can supplement with vitamin D3, but the best source of Vitamin D is sunshine! Expose a large surface of your skin - without sun screen - to the sun around noon for long enough for your skin to go slightly pink but not long enough for it to burn.
What are your thoughts on this amazing vitamin - hormone which is so important mother nature made sure you got it from sunshine! I look forward to your comments!
Lerchbaum, E., & Obermayer-Pietsch, B. (2012). Vitamin D and fertility: a systematic review. Eur J Endocrinol, 166(5), 765-778. Retrieved from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22275473/