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Sun and vitamin D, you allies for better fertility levels

You think you have tried out everything in order to maximize your chances of conceiving, right? But what about using the sun to boost your fertility levels? FYI, in Greece it is almost always sunny!

It is not 100% scientifically clear how sun and vitamin D positively affect your fertility, but recent research suggests it, so why not sit below the sun -don’t forget your sunscreen- and try it?

Before explaining how vitamin D affects male and female fertility let’s see its concentrations as stated by the National Institute of Health.

nmol/Lng/mLHealth Status
<30<12Associated with Vitamin D deficiency
30 – <5012 – <20Considered inadequate for overall health
≥50≥20Considered adequate for overall health
>125>50Linked to potential adverse effects

It is very common for the doctors to check vitamin intake in women during their fertility screening so no worries if your intake is lower than the average. There are ways to increase it and maximize your fertility levels too. 

The role of vitamin D in women

Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is the main form of vitamin D; it’s in the skin, and it can be found in some food and nutritional supplements. Vitamin D plays an important role in regulating calcium and phosphorus levels in the blood, keeping the bones healthy. Given enough time in the sun, most of us can make all the vitamin D we need. However, many women do not get enough sun exposure to maintain a normal vitamin D level throughout the year. Few foods are naturally rich in vitamin D, so it is also difficult to get enough vitamin D from your diet. 

Main benefits of its intake are:

– Strengthening bones and muscles

– Supporting the immune system

– Improving oral health

– Helping with weight loss

– Potentially reducing cancer risk

– Treating hypertension

– Possibly protecting from diabetes

– Supporting a healthy pregnancy

The data correlating vitamin D and natural fertility as well as success during fertility treatment -especially IVF-  are mixed. “There are some studies showing that being vitamin D replete improves success rates in both IVF as well as transfer of frozen donor egg embryos. Other studies have not demonstrated that connection.” according to Dr. Widra, Chief Medical Officer of Shady Grove Fertility.

Although the data for vitamin D and fertility are not conclusive, several studies have shown that vitamin D blood levels of 30 ng/mL or higher are associated with higher pregnancy rates. Two studies concluded that among populations of mostly Caucasian and non-Hispanic white women, those with a normal vitamin D level were four times more likely to get pregnant through IVF compared to those who had a low vitamin D level. Another study showed that donor egg recipients with a normal vitamin D level had higher pregnancy rates than those with a low vitamin D level. 

Not only does achieving a normal vitamin D level seem to positively impact fertility, it may also improve the odds of having a healthy pregnancy. Studies have linked vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy with an increased risk of preterm birth, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and bacterial vaginosis. 

So, continuing a vitamin D supplement once pregnant is good for both mom and baby. Research has shown that taking 2,000 – 4,000 IU of vitamin D is safe and effective in achieving a normal vitamin D level for pregnant women and preventing vitamin D deficiency in newborns. Another research on the role of the vitamin during pregnancy and lactation which was published in 2018 at the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health indicates that when a woman wants to ensure a sufficient vitamin D supply to their fetus or infant, an intake of a vitamin D supplement at a dose of 800 to 1000 IU per day during preconception or pregnancy is sufficient as recommended by vitamin D guidelines.

Vitamin D, male fertility, and sperm

High levels of Vitamin D and male fertility have been linked to improved semen quality and sperm motility. Research has shown that increased levels of it in men can raise the calcium levels of their sperm. The increased calcium levels in sperm then increases motility. Other studies have also shown that Vitamin D deficiencies in men can lower sperm motility and the total number of motile spermatozoa. So avoiding a Vitamin D deficiency can help to increase fertility in men. One way in which Vitamin D may support healthy sperm is through assisting in the production of testosterone and supporting healthy testosterone levels. In one study, men supplemented with Vitamin D or a placebo, and the placebo group saw no change in mean testosterone levels from their baseline measurement to their after-supplementation results.  On the other hand, the vitamin D supplementation group saw a significant increase in total testosterone levels.

Food rich in vitamin D.

Fatty fish and seafood, including salmon, tuna and mackerel

– Red meat

– Liver

– Egg yolks

– Foods that have been fortified

A toy red crab at the sea
Image by stevevaudry from Pixabay

There are also food supplements containing vitamin D but for that you should first consult your doctor and pharmacist in order to take the correct ones.

The evidence is there, although research is not totally conclusive yet. Sun and vitamin D may positively influence your fertility and pregnancy so why not visit a sunny place this summer? We are talking about Greece, of course! Select one of our numerous beaches, and absorb as much sun as you can! While here,  you can also explore your options on the available fertility treatments. The country has top-notch clinics, highly-experienced fertility doctors and lower prices than the rest of the European countries.  MEDIPASS will be by your side, making your fertility journey safer and smoother, supporting you through every step of the process.

Have you not booked your ticket yet? 🙂

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Sun and vitamin D, you allies for better fertility levels