Over the last decade we seem to hear so much about Vitamin D deficiency and infertility. In fact, it’s so spoken about that people are staring to disregard it as if it’s just an over-diagnosis.
When it comes to Vit D’s role in the body and its relation to infertility we need to understand how important and how much it actually does. The role it’s most known for is helping the body absorb calcium which keeps bones strong. However, new research shows us that a deficiency in Vit D can affect many other aspects of our health which may surprise you. Many chronic diseases such as, autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and even cancer can be associated with Vit D deficiency. You see, we knew that Vit D affected cells within the bones but now we know that it also affects cells within different organs of the body.
How does it do this?
Well, it is able to to turn a cell ‘on and off’ which means it can affect the way a cell operates, or carries out its function. So, that’s pretty huge that Vit D can totally control whether a cell continues to grow or die. This is why Vit D deficiency is said to increase the risk of some cancers, such as prostate, breast and colon cancers by between 30-50%. So, infertility is just one possible side affect to Vitamin D deficiency.
So, what about our fertility health?
A deficiency of Vit D can lead to underdevelopment of the uterus and an inability to form mature eggs. A study showed that mice with Vit D deficiency once pregnant had problems with the growth of their fetus. The good news in these studies is that with Vit D supplementation reproductive health was normalized in the mice.
Vit D is important in so many ways when we look at female reproduction.
Firstly, the active form of Vit D (calcitriol) is able to control the genes which make estrogen. Also, the role of Vit D, or calcitriol, plays a huge role in implantation because the lining of the uterus produces calcitriol once it realizes the embryo has entered the uterine cavity just before implantation is due to take place. Then once a woman is pregnant the placenta and the uterus continue to produce calcitriol to protect the fetus from infection.
A study was done with women undergoing IVF. It found that women with higher levels of Vit D significantly more likely to become pregnant compared to those with lower levels. Another study even showed that women who were undergoing embryo transfer with a donor egg were less likely to have a successful pregnancy result with Vit D deficiency. This shows us how ever important the role of Vit D is within the uterus.
So, do take Vit D seriously if your blood results are showing you may have a deficiency. Get sunshine in healthy doses (without getting burnt), because the majority of our Vit D is naturally made in the skin after UVB exposure. Even if you take a supplement (which you should if you have a deficiency) the body will still require UVB form. In fact, just increasing your supplement dosage can actually be harmful to your health. Remember to step outside, even if it’s cloudy, during your lunch break to support your fertility health. The team behind the Fertility Lifestyle Program go out daily for at least 20 minutes.
This blog post was originally posted on The Bump blog. Republished with permission from Dr. Julie Vecera.
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