When a woman or couple decides to seek pregnancy, they should know that there are some vitamins or foods that help improve fertility. Almost all patients are aware of the importance of vitamin B9 (folic acid) or vitamin C, while vitamin D has always been the forgotten vitamin.
In this article, we will outline the benefits of vitamin D for fertility and embryo implantation.
VITAMIN D AND FERTILITY
Vitamin D, colloquially known as the “sunshine vitamin”, is a very important steroid hormone for the proper development of bone metabolism and for the absorption of calcium and phosphorus at the intestinal level. Likewise, it acts on different organs, with anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory actions in the pancreas, the brain, the cardiovascular system, and the reproductive system.
A study carried out by researchers at the University of Birmingham (the UK, 2019) showed that the number of live births following assisted reproduction treatment is much lower in women with low plasma levels of vitamin D. The direct influence of vitamin D helps to improve the quality of ovarian and endometrial tissue, favouring the correct implantation of the embryo in the maternal uterus.
In regards to male fertility, optimal levels of vitamin D promote sperm morphology, increasing sperm numbers and improving sperm motility, while increasing testosterone levels.
Maintaining normal vitamin D levels – between 30-40 ng/ml – will help during the search for pregnancy, both naturally and in assisted reproduction. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to a loss of bone density, which can lead to osteoporosis and fractures (broken bones). However, an excess of vitamin D can be detrimental to health, because it accumulates in fatty tissue. In fact, when blood concentrations are too high, it can cause nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, constipation, weakness, and weight loss.
VITAMIN D BENEFITS
Women who have adequate vitamin D before and during pregnancy tend to have a lower risk of complications such as pre-eclampsia and preterm birth. In addition, it has also been observed that mothers-to-be with adequate vitamin D have a lower risk of developing gestational diabetes.
In countries such as Italy, France, and Spain, the sun can be a great ally in improving vitamin D levels if you are trying to get pregnant. On the other hand, eating foods such as oily fish, red meat and egg yolks will also help to achieve adequate levels.
At Ovoclinic, we ask all patients to undergo a battery of tests to check hormone and vitamin levels before starting the assisted reproduction process. More information? First visit free of charge.