Feeling tired all the time, no time for that walk in the park on a bright sunny day, are you going around several IVF Centres, without success ? “Vitamin D " might be the answer to all your above problems. Right, it sounds simple and irrelevant, but vitamin D deficiency is so common that, upto 80% of the population is affected.
Some studies even show that it can cause depression and increase the chance for schizophrenia. Our body requires Vitamin D to absorb calcium and a deficiency of Vitamin D will eventually lead to calcium deficiency and further complications. Vitamin D is a steroid hormone that is produced in the skin as a consequence of exposure to the sun, and it is also absorbed from certain foods.
A new study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM) found that women who are deficient in vitamin D are half as likely to conceive with IVF compared to women without vitamin D deficiency. So if you are trying for a kid or planning for IVF, it’s a good idea to get yourself tested.
Vitamin D status is measured by a 25(OH)D blood test (25-hydroxyvitamin D), also known as calcidiol test. Optimal serum vitamin D is considered to be at least 75 nmol/L (30 ng/mL).
Vitamin D helps in production of good-quality eggs in the ovaries and improve the chances of successful embryo implantation in the uterus.
Among women, vitamin D appears to impact in vitro fertilization (IVF) outcomes, endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). It also boost levels of progesterone and estrogen, which regulate menstrual cycles and improve the likelihood of successful conception.
PCOS and Vitamin D
Vitamin D deficiency is common in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), with the 67–85% of women with PCOS having the problem. Vitamin D deficiency may worsen symptoms of PCOS, observational studies reveal that lower 25OHD levels were correlated with insulin resistance, ovulatory and menstrual disturbances, reduced pregnancy success, hirsutism, hyperandrogenism, obesity and increased cardiovascular disease risks.
Male infertility and Vitamin D
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.
Methods to improve vitamin D
The most natural and inexpensive way to get vitamin D is by exposing your bare skin to sunlight (ultraviolet B rays). Of course there are some regions in Europe and arctic where sunlight is a luxury, but even after living in a sunny zone lot of people does not expose their body to sunlight resulting in Vitamin D deficiency. These people have to go for vitamin D supplements. Vitamin D3 is a good way to get vitamin D if you can’t get enough sunlight, or if you’re worried about tanning your skin.
Our body gets most of the vitamins and minerals from the food that we eat. However, there are few food items which naturally contain vitamin D. Even if it is present in the food, the amount is negligible, so it’s almost impossible to get your body requirement just from food.
Sources for vitamin D are -
Fortified milk and orange juice
Recommended daily intakes from various organizations:
Vitamin D Council 5,000 IU/day.
Endocrine Society 1,500-2,000 IU/day.
Food and Nutrition Board 600 IU/day, 800 IU/day for seniors
Dr. Anita Mani
Infertility& Surrogacy Specialist at Gift IVF Centre
Dr. Anita Mani is a renowned infertility specialist in south India with 15 years experience in ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology). Dr. Anita has successfully set up ART hospitals in Cochin and Bangalore, along with her spouse Dr. S Mani, who specialises in surrogacy. She completed MRCOG, from Royal College of Obstetrician and Gynaecologist London, DFFP from ART Warwick university and worked in UK for 5 years. Dr. Anitha believes in scientific and ethical practice and is currently the director of Gift Gyno IVF centre Cochin and Bangalore. Apart from advanced laparoscopic surgeries, she is also an expert in various ART techniques including IVF, IUI, ICSI , donor egg / sperm and surrogacy . Her proficiency is in genetic abnormalities and high risk pregnancies.
Reference - Vitamin D Deficiency and Infertility: Insights From in vitro Fertilization Cycles. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 2014; jc.2014-1802 DOI: 10.1210/jc.2014-1802