Vitamin D and Fertility: Things You Need To Know
Vitamin D and Fertility: Things You Need To Know Out of all the nutrients required by an individual, the role of vitamin D cannot be underestimated. The human body must have enough vitamin D to absorb calcium from the body and to sustain bone growth. This is the reason why it is not always okay to take calcium supplements, an individual also needs vitamin D to be able to utilize that calcium in the body.
Vitamin D plays a vital role in the human body, other than what is widely known. According to the Vitamin D Council, vitamin D treatment may help a wide range of individuals, including those with autism, cancer, hypertension, flu, neuromuscular diseases, depression, and chronic pain. Even though no definite clinical trials have been conducted to prove the same, there is a global consensus that vitamin D is able to affect different types of cells in the body and not just the cells in the bones.
Vitamin D deficiency is a common problem among people from all racial groups across the world. In fact, the deficiency rates doubled in the US between the years 1994 and 2004. This is a huge problem among people of reproductive age group. In the US, more than 40 percent of the women in the reproductive age group suffer from vitamin D deficiency.
This article talks about the connection between vitamin D and fertility. It explores some of the scientific evidence related to the subject and the amount of vitamin D that women should be getting during pregnancy.
Why Is Vitamin D Necessary For Female Fertility?
There is a definite connection between vitamin D levels and the fertility levels in females. In fact, specific studies conducted in the past have confirmed the presence of vitamin D receptors on testes, ovaries, uterus, and placenta, thus confirming its role in the conception and healthy pregnancy.
The active form of vitamin D, also known as calcitriol, plays a key role in female reproduction. It directly affects the genes that produce estrogen and the ones responsible for embryo implantation. Calcitriol is also produced by the uterus just before implantation. In fact, the uterus keeps on producing vitamin D throughout pregnancy to facilitate organization of immune cells. It has been observed that low vitamin D levels during pregnancy are directly related to complications such as gestational diabetes and hypertension.
The role of vitamin D in female fertility can also be assessed from the fact that people in high latitude countries show maximum conception rates in the summer months and decreased conception rates during winter months. It has also been scientifically analyzed that ovulation rates and the tendency of the uterus to receive a fertilized egg decreased during the winters. All these findings have been directly correlated with the amount of sunshine, which is a direct source of vitamin D.
Correlation Between Low Levels Of Vitamin D And PCOS Symptoms
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is one of the leading causes of female infertility. It has been scientifically proven that vitamin D deficiency in women with PCOS is related to obesity, inflammation, high levels of testosterone, and insulin resistance. All of them are classic symptoms of PCOS.
It is a known fact that vitamin D helps regulate hormones. That is, in the absence of sufficient vitamin D levels, the hormones are not able to function as they should. Thus, in the female reproductive system, the functioning of all the sex hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, luteinizing hormone, and follicle stimulating hormone is affected.
The hormones do not get utilized as they should in the absence of vitamin D and therefore, the menstrual cycle is affected. This paves way for PCOS and its classical symptoms, including irregular periods, facial hair, acne, low libido, and infertility.
Daily Requirement of Vitamin D
The requirement for vitamin D increases as the age of the woman increases. Women aged above 60 are mostly required to get more than 600 IU of vitamin D every day because they are at an increased risk of osteoporosis.
All women below that age group are required to get at least 600 IU of vitamin D every day. However, the recommendations vary from one expert to the other. The Linus Pauling Institute recommends all women to take at least 2000 IU of vitamin D in the form of supplements every day. On the other hand, The Endocrine Society suggests that while 600 IU is women for all women, those who are breastfeeding and are pregnant must get at least 15000 to 2000 IU vitamin D every day.
The need for vitamin D definitely increases during pregnancy because that’s when all the nutrients in the body of a woman are being used for the development of the baby. This is the reason why vitamin D deficiency is common during pregnancy.
Several studies have linked vitamin D deficiency to an increased risk of complications such as gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and low birth weight of the baby. Low levels of vitamin D during pregnancy may increase the risk of abnormal bone growth, fracture, and rickets in the baby.
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