Have you tried everything under the sun but are still having problems conceiving? If so, a simple vitamin D deficiency could be to blame. In fact, restoring your body’s vitamin D to optimal levels may naturally lead to normal ovulation. Also referred to as “the sunshine vitamin,” vitamin D is known to be extremely deficient in the northern US and areas with diminished sunlight, causing a bevy of problems, including infertility. Let’s examine the relationship between vitamin D and our reproductive systems further to better understand its effect on fertility.
The Vitamin D Deficiency Problem
With sunblock usage at all-time highs and more and more of our time spent indoors, our vitamin D production has become greatly diminished in recent years. When exposed to plentiful sunlight without the use of sunscreen, our bodies produce vitamin D3, which is the biologically active form of the vitamin. Unfortunately, we’re simply not getting enough.
Vitamin D and Its Link to Infertility
According to a Yale University study, a staggering 93 percent of women suffering from infertility also suffer from vitamin D deficiency. Furthermore, none of the women studied with ovulatory disorders had sufficient vitamin D levels. In a separate study released in the Endocrine Society’s Journal for Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, women with sufficient vitamin D levels are twice as likely to conceive a child through in vitro fertilization, making it clear that vitamin D deficiency and infertility go hand in hand.
Testing for Vitamin D Deficiency
The only way to check your Vitamin D levels is with a blood test. Thanks to recent widespread vitamin D deficiency, your physician should be adept at vitamin D testing, but you may still have to request a test and ensure the proper type of test is performed. The best type of vitamin D test is the 25-hydroxy-vitamin D test, also known as the 25(OH)D test. This rather effective test measures the body’s active vitamin D3 levels, which is the type of vitamin D a woman’s ovaries are particularly sensitive to. Most experts agree that a person’s optimum vitamin D levels should be between 50-70 ng/ml. Knowing this, you should have your vitamin D levels checked if you are having difficulty conceiving. What do you have to lose?
Treating Vitamin D Deficiency
Adequate vitamin D levels are essential in optimal fertility, contraception and overall wellness during pregnancy. If your vitamin D levels are low, your doctor will likely provide you with a vitamin D3 prescription and ask you to come back to check your progress. If you forego a prescription and decide to self-supplement, it’s important to supplement with vitamin D3 and not vitamin D2. Experts also recommend not exceeding 4000 IUs of vitamin D3 on a daily basis, especially when pregnant. It’s also important to check your levels during both the winter and summer months as you may need less vitamin D3 in the summer and more in the winter. Naturally, you can also increase your vitamin D production simply by sitting outside in the sun without sunblock and experiencing UV exposure for 15 minutes each day during peak daylight hours. The sunlight will spur your skin’s development of vitamin D3, which is turned into its active form by your liver and kidneys.
Vitamin D Deficiency, Infertility and Overall Health
Recent research has shown that vitamin D not only plays a role in fertility but in a person’s overall health as well. However, before instituting broad changes in treating vitamin D deficiency, you should perform individual research and ask your physician about the other potential health benefits associated with taking a vitamin D supplement. From improved fertility and bone health to pregnancy health and disease risk reduction, sufficient vitamin D levels have been proven to provide a wealth of benefits for men and women alike.