Vitamin D may help boost women’s and men’s fertility

The results of several studies suggest that vitamin D may have a positive impact on women’s and men’s fertility. Vitamin D appears to be important for fertility because it aids the production of, and balance between, sex hormones in men and women. Drs. Lerchbaum and Obermayer-Pietsch of the Medical University of Graz conducted a review of the relevant literature exploring the association between vitamin D and fertility. Their review was published in the European Journal of Endocrinology. The findings of several studies suggest that among women, vitamin D appears to boost levels of progesterone and estrogen (sex hormones), which may help regulate women’s menstrual cycles and increase the chances of conception. Vitamin D deficiencies have also been linked to Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) – an endocrine system disorder that can negatively affect women’s fertility. For men, vitamin D has been found to increase testosterone levels and sperm counts, which may enhance men’s libido and fertility. There also appears to be a relationship between levels of Vitamin D and the healthy development of sperm.

Since vitamin D is found in sunshine, it is often dubbed “the sunshine vitamin”. Therefore, deficiencies in vitamin D may also help explain why rates of conception peak in the summer, and fall in the winter in countries affected by seasonal changes. The findings of a study presented at the 68th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Reproductive medicine suggest that the live birth rates (the success rates) resulting from assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs), and the use of donor eggs, were higher among US states with the highest UVB (sunshine) exposure.

However, since the available research on this topic has been either observational or conducted with animal subjects, it would appear that there is still more to learn about the role of vitamin D in women’s and men’s fertility. Nevertheless, some experts suggest that couples trying to get pregnant may want to consult with their physician about taking vitamin D supplements, increasing vitamin D consumption in their diet, and spending a safe amount of time in the sunshine.

To read more about this topic, click here.

To read more about PCOS, click here.

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