Infertility has many causes, but one that is often overlooked is a vitamin D deficiency. Our bodies need ample amounts of this essential vitamin in order to produce estrogen (in both men and women) as well as for insulin production.
What is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin and exists in several forms. Some of these are basically inactive in the body and have limited ability to function.
Why is it important for fertility? Well, you need it in order for your body to produce sex hormones. And without the right amount of hormones in your system, you can suffer from pcos, PMS, and infertility. Vitamin D is also key in regulating cell growth and deciding how those cells grow.
A study was done by the Yale University School of Medicine (source) with 67 women suffering from infertility. Only 7 % of them had normal vitamin D levels! 7%. The rest had either insufficient levels or an actual clinical deficiency.
Dr Lubna Pal, from Yale, said: “Of note, not a single patient with either ovulatory disturbance or polycystic ovary syndrome demonstrated normal Vitamin D levels; 39 per cent of those with ovulatory disturbance and 38 per cent of those with PCOS had serum 25OHD levels consistent with deficiency.
“Given the pandemic of Vitamin D insufficiency, if indeed our observations are substantiated, aggressive repletion with Vitamin D may emerge as an alternative approach to facilitate ovulation resumption with minimal to no risk for ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome or multiple pregnancy.”
Those are some pretty large percentages too – almost 40% of the women with ovulation problems had clinical deficiencies. Obviously, vitamin D is important to our reproductive system.
Where to Find Vitamin D
Food is the best source of vitamin D, and the easiest way to consume it is to eat fatty fish, eggs, and grasssfed meat and dairy products. If you do have a hard time getting it in your diet (don’t have access to clean fish), supplementing with cod liver oil is also helpful in making sure you’re getting enough. (another great reason to take cod liver oil is the fact that it has the right ratios of vitamin A and D in it which help both nutrients absorb correctly) And just make sure if you buy supplements that the ones you buy contain vitamin D3 and not D2 which actually does not raise the blood levels of vitamin D.
And as most of you know, you can also get vitamin D from the sun. About 15-20 minutes of exposure (without sunblock as it blocks the ultraviolet light needed for vitamin D production) a day can be very beneficial. The sun actually causes your skin to produce vitamin D3 which is then converted by the liver and kidneys to the active hormone form of vitamin D. With proper sun exposure, your body can actually produce up to 10,000-25,000 IU of the vitamin.