Vitamin D is an incredibly supportive fat-soluble vitamin for fertility — and beyond.
It’s considered a hormone when it is made by the body. Humans make vitamin D upon exposure to the sun, which is why many Canadians are deficient (less ultraviolet light and therefore less vitamin D production, especially during the winter months).
Vitamin D has several important functions in the body, including, but not limited to:
- Helping the body absorb and retain calcium and phosphorus, which is crucial for the strength of teeth and bones
- Reducing inflammation, which can prevent cardiovascular disease
- Reducing the growth of cancer cells
- Supporting immune function to prevent infections, like colds and flus, and reducing auto-immune diseases like multiple sclerosis
Vitamin D is important for fertility for several reasons:
- Improved pregnancy outcomes
- Improved sperm parameters
- Improved fetal health when taken during pregnancy
- Females with normal vitamin D are four times more likely to get pregnant through IVF versus those with low levels
It is common for vitamin D levels to be low because of:
- Lack of sunlight during the winter months
- Sunscreen usage
- Lack of time outdoors due to work/lifestyle
- Darker skin tones
- Poor absorption from inflammatory bowel disorders or gastric bypass
Vitamin D isn’t readily available from food sources. There are two forms of vitamin D: D2 and D3 forms. Vitamin D2 is found in plant sources and is often the prescription form, and vitamin D3 is found from animal sources and is made by the human body. Animal sources arguably provide a better-absorbed form of vitamin D. You can look for vitamin D in these natural sources:
- D2: mushrooms
- Fortified foods: dairy, orange juice and cereals
- D3: flesh of fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and sardines, as well as egg yolk and beef liver
Vitamin D supplements are also readily available. However, it’s really important to test for vitamin D levels — It is possible to have too much vitamin D. Vitamin D toxicity presents with weight loss and an irregular heartbeat.
Vitamin D is a key nutrient for optimizing your preconception health. Be sure to discuss it with your healthcare provider to see if it’s right for you, and how to use it appropriately.
To learn more about how you can support your fertility, or to book an appointment with Dr. Corradetti-Sargeant ND, contact us today.