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Vitamin D Deficiency May Diminish Your Fertility


a blog by David Kreiner, M.D., F.A.C.O.G., East Coast Fertility, December 2, 2010

Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin that is present in a variety of forms, but has recently been recognized as playing a critical role in reproduction. It is essential in the production of sex hormones in the body. It is thought that a deficiency of Vitamin D may lead to ovulation disorders, among other things.

Researchers have demonstrated that Vitamin D deficient rats had a 75 percent reduced fertility and a 50 percent smaller litter size, which was corrected with Vitamin D treatment. In addition, sperm motility in males was reduced in the presence of a Vitamin D deficiency.

A recent study at the Yale University School of Medicine revealed that only 7 percent of 67 infertile women studied had normal Vitamin D levels, and not a single woman with an ovulation disorder had normal levels. Nearly 40 percent of women with ovulatory dysfunction had a clinical deficiency of Vitamin D.

At the American Society of Reproductive Medicine conference this year, a study presented by Dr. Brianna Rudick from UCLA showed that a deficiency of Vitamin D can also have a detrimental effect on the endometrial lining of the uterus. In her study only 42 percent of the infertile women going through IVF had normal Vitamin D levels. Vitamin D levels did not impact the number of ampules of gonadotropin utilized nor the number of eggs stimulated, embryos created or embryo quality. However, Vitamin D levels did significantly affect pregnancy rates, even when controlled for number of embryos transferred and embryo quality. In this study the pregnancy rate dropped from 51 percent in Caucasian women undergoing IVF who had normal Vitamin D levels to 44 percent in those with insufficient levels and 19% in those that were deficient.

Vitamin D can be obtained for free by sitting out in the sun for 15-20 minutes per day. The sunlight helps the skin to create Vitamin D3, which is then transformed into the active form of Vitamin D by the kidneys and liver. An oral supplement also is available in the form of Vitamin D3. For those with clinical insufficiencies, a higher dose may be administered by injection.

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