Did you know that in northern countries, which have dark, cold winters, couples are less likely to conceive during the winter, whereas conception rates peak in the summer?
There are a number of reasons why this association exists, but new research highlights vitamin D as one of the most important variable.
Vitamin D, a steroid hormone that influences virtually every cell in your body and has been positively linked to health conditions ranging from cancer to heart disease, may significantly boost fertility in both men and women.
If You’re Struggling With Infertility, Get Your Vitamin D Levels Checked
Vitamin D is so crucial to health that I urge everyone to make sure their levels are optimized, but if you’ve been dealing with infertility, this is especially important.
A new report has shown that exposure to sunlight boosts fertility in both men and women by increasing their levels of vitamin D, a benefit that appears to work on multiple levels.
As the researchers reported in the European Journal of Endocrinology:
- Among women, vitamin D appears to impact in vitro fertilization (IVF) outcomes, endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), the most common female endocrine disorder, as well as boost levels of progesterone and oestrogen, which regulate menstrual cycles and improve the likelihood of successful conception
- In men, vitamin D is essential for the healthy development of the nucleus of the sperm cell, and helps maintain semen quality and sperm count. Vitamin D also increases levels of testosterone, which may boost libido
The researchers state: “Given the high prevalence of infertility as well as vitamin D insufficiency in otherwise healthy young women and men and the possible role of vitamin D in human reproduction, research might lead to new therapeutic approaches such as vitamin D supplementation in the treatment of female and male reproductive disorders.”
What Else Might be Impacting Your Fertility?
An estimated 1 in 6 American couples struggle with getting pregnant each year, and there’s compelling evidence that lifestyle, diet and environmental exposures are largely to blame. Not only are you exposed to hundreds (if not thousands) of toxins each and every day, but some of the most commonly prescribed drugs, poor diet, and common vitamin deficiencies have also been linked to reduced fertility, just to name a few.
Are You Ready to Optimize Your Vitamin D Levels?
This is an imperative step for anyone planning a pregnancy, not only for increasing the rate of conception but also for the benefits it offers during pregnancy. Vitamin D deficiency is currently at epidemic proportions in the United States and many other regions around the world, largely because people do not spend enough time in the sun to facilitate this important process of vitamin D production. So the first step to ensuring you are receiving all the benefits of vitamin D is to find out what your levels are using a 25(OH)D test, also called 25-hydroxyvitamin D. There are two vitamin D tests — 1,25(OH)D and 25(OH)D — but 25(OH)D is the better marker of overall D status. It is this marker that is most strongly associated with overall health, and it is the one you should ask your physician for.. The point of vitamin D testing is, of course, to be sure you are maintaining a therapeutic level of vitamin D in your blood. A few years back, the recommended level was between 40 to 60 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml), but more recently the optimal vitamin D level has been raised to 50-70 ng/ml.
To get your levels into the healthy range, sun exposure is the BEST way to optimize your vitamin D levels; exposing a large amount of your skin until it turns the lightest shade of pink, as near to solar noon as possible, is typically necessary to achieve adequate vitamin D production. If sun exposure is not an option, a safe tanning bed (with electronic ballasts rather than magnetic ballasts, to avoid unnecessary exposure to EMF fields) can be used. As a last resort, a vitamin D3 supplement can be taken orally, but research suggests the average adult needs to take 8,000 IU’s of vitamin D per day in order to elevate their levels above 40 ng/ml, which is the absolute minimum for disease prevention.
Infertility can be a challenging condition with multiple contributing factors, but you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by optimizing your vitamin D levels. It is free if you do it via sun exposure, and inexpensive if you use a safe tanning bed or vitamin D3 supplement. It’s a simple step that can have a profound impact on your health, even if trying to conceive naturally is not your primary goal.