A healthy body is a sum of the right habits, lifestyle and an adequate amount of essential nutrients in everyday life. Vitamin D is one such factor which people must be careful about. Health concerns such as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and endometriosis are becoming common among women, and vitamin D deficiency is one of the factors at play. While this sunshine vitamin is known for its crucial role in maintaining bone health and regulating calcium levels in the body. emerging evidence suggests a link between vitamin D and fertility.
Health Shots got in touch with Dr Ritu Sethi, the Aura Speciality Clinic, Gurugram and Senior Consultant- Cloud Nine Hospital, Gurugram, and Dr Manju Nair, Clinical-Director- Fertility, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, Bengaluru, Old Airport Road, to understand the role of vitamin D for fertility.
As per some studies, it is found that 30 ng/mL of vitamin D in blood levels is linked to higher pregnancy rates. People with good vitamin D levels were four times more likely to conceive in comparison to those who had low vitamin D levels. According to Dr Nair, low levels of vitamin D can affect the success rate of fertility treatments as well.
Here’s how sufficient levels of vitamin D is one of the ways to improve fertility as per the expert.
“Vitamin D receptors are commonly found in various reproductive tissues, including the placenta, uterus, and the ovaries. This suggests that vitamin D may have direct effects on reproductive function. Studies have shown that vitamin D deficiency is prevalent among women with infertility, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and endometriosis, which are common conditions associated with reproductive health issues,” says the expert.
Vitamin D is involved in the regulation of several hormones that are essential for reproductive health, such as follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), and anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH). These hormones play vital roles in ovarian follicular development, ovulation, and overall reproductive health. Adequate levels of vitamin D may help maintain the optimal balance of these hormones, thereby promoting fertility.
“Vitamin D supplementation has been shown to improve ovarian function in women with PCOS, resulting in better menstrual regularity and increased ovulation rates,” shares the expert.
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“The endometrium plays a crucial role in implantation and successful pregnancy. Vitamin D has been found to modulate endometrial receptivity by influencing gene expression, cellular proliferation, and immune system regulation. Adequate vitamin D levels may contribute in helping create a more advantageous endometrial environment that aids in embryo implantation,” tells the expert.
Maintaining optimal vitamin D levels is essential for reproductive health. However, many individuals especially those living in regions with limited sun exposure are at a risk of vitamin D deficiency. Regular sun exposure, dietary intake of vitamin D-rich foods like fatty fish, and fortified dairy products and supplementation are suggested strategies to ensure adequate vitamin D levels.
Dr Nair says, “The best way to make up for low vitamin D levels in the body is by exposing oneself to direct sunlight. Most of us have low exposure to sunlight which results in vitamin D deficiency. Alongside, foods like mushrooms and fish are considered to be rich in vitamin D. Further, the deficiency can also be rectified by taking supplements of vitamin D by taking the dosage reckoned by your physician”.
There are some other factors that affect vitamin D levels in the body too.
* If a person is overweight or has dark skin, that person has a higher risk of having low vitamin D.
* Vitamin D also improves the chances of having a healthy pregnancy throughout the duration. Studies have linked vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy with an increased risk of premature birth, development of gestational diabetes, hypertension and also certain forms of infection.
Vitamin D supplements may also ameliorate or even help curb pregnancy-related reversible bone loss in mothers. The best source is the most natural one – exposing oneself to direct sunlight and soaking up the goodness of sunshine vitamin during the early hours of the morning when the body is more efficient to receive the UVB rays.