Vitamin D may substantially raise fertility levelNote from Carolyn:
This explains my problems with infertillity in the past. Now that I have cleaned up my life it does make me a little concerned. I don't think my thirty something kids would like a new sibling.
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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
If You’re Struggling With Infertility, Get Your Vitamin D Levels
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
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
- 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 estrogen,
which regulate menstrual cycles and improve the likelihood of successful
- 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
Low Vitamin D Levels Previously Linked to Infertility
This is not the first time the “sunshine vitamin” has been linked to
infertility. In 2008, Australian fertility specialist Dr. Anne Clark found
almost one-third of the 800 infertile men included in her study had lower than
normal levels of vitamin D, (bear in mind here that "normal" does not equal
"optimal" -- so by optimal standards, the rate of vitamin D deficiency was
likely far higher than one-third) stating that:1
"Vitamin D and folate deficiency are known to be associated with
infertility in women, but the outcomes of the screening among men in our study
group came as a complete surprise. Men in the study group who agreed to make
lifestyle changes and take dietary supplements had surprisingly good fertility
In fact, of the 100 men who agreed to make and maintain certain lifestyle
changes (quitting smoking, minimizing intake of caffeine and alcohol, weight
reduction, along with a course of vitamins and antioxidants) for three months
prior to fertility treatment, 11 of them went on to achieve pregnancy naturally,
without IVF treatment
Previous studies, such as one published in The Journal of Nutrition,
also found that although vitamin-D-deficient female rats were capable of
reproduction, it reduced fertility by an astounding 75 percent, diminished
litter sizes by 30 percent, and impaired neonatal growth.2
Interestingly, another study published in November 2009 confirmed that human
sperm does in fact have a vitamin D receptor.3
Analysis indicated that vitamin D is produced locally in the sperm, which
suggests that vitamin D may be involved in the signaling between cells in the
reproductive system. According to the authors, the study revealed "an unexpected
significance of this hormone [vitamin D] in the acquisition of fertilizing
ability," and the results imply that vitamin D is involved in a variety of sperm
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.
As Iva Keene, author of the Natural Fertility Prescription, stated:
“Conventional IVF and other assisted reproductive technology (ART)
treatments don’t address root causes of infertility. These root causes include:
nutritional deficiencies, toxin exposure, stress, food intolerances, allergies
and immune deficiencies. These subtle but critical factors interact
synergistically to impact the quality of your eggs and sperm, affecting your
ability to conceive and the health of your embryo.
… during the generation and maturation of gamete cells -- sperm and ovum
-- that form an embryo [a period of 120 days], everything that you and your
partner ingest, inhale or are exposed to will influence the health of your eggs
and sperm for better or worse, and the ultimate quality of the genetic building
blocks you pass onto your child. This is why it’s crucial to follow a good
preconception plan for a minimum of 4 months before conception. A baby is a
50-50 product of his or her parents -- therefore optimizing the quality of eggs
and sperm is of paramount importance.”
You can find 10 tips that may help resolve
infertility naturally in her past article, but here are a few initial
strategies to consider:
- Genetically modified food (GM), especially corn and soy, contain significant
concentrations of the herbicide glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup),
which has been linked to infertility in a number of studies.
- Avoid chemicals as much as possible. Bisphenol-A (BPA), phthalates, fluoride
(in drinking water), MSG, and many, many others have shown negative impacts on
your reproductive health.
- Consume a healthy diet, rich in healthy
fats and antioxidants, and low in sugar and grains. Insulin resistance is an
underlying factor responsible for most chronic disease, and it should come as no
surprise that it plays a role in fertility as well. The treatment strategy is to
reduce or eliminate grains along with sugars, especially fructose.
- Identify potential gluten intolerance. Celiac disease (gluten intolerance)
has been linked to fertility problems in both sexes. In men, it's associated
with abnormal sperm, such as lower sperm numbers, altered shape, and reduced
function. Men with untreated celiac disease may also have lower testosterone
- Be aware of electromagnetic fields, as research suggests cell phones may
impact sperm quality as well. One study found men who talked on a cell phone for
more than four hours a day had the lowest average sperm counts (50 million per
milliliter) and the least healthy sperm.4
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
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
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.
For more details, be sure to read How to Get Your Vitamin D Within
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.
Disclaimer: The entire contents of this website are based upon the opinions of the author(s). Individual articles are based upon the opinions of the respective author. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of the authors. You are encouraged to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional.