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Why Vitamin D is crucial for your wellbeing and fertility

October 30 2020

Why Vitamin D is crucial for your wellbeing and fertility

Why Vitamin D is crucial for your wellbeing and fertility

WINTER is coming ❄️!  And daylight savings is around the corner....🍂 

There is no more critical time to make sure you have enough Vitamin D (the 🌞vitamin) in your body than NOW ‼️.   

During the winter months, if you are anywhere above the 37th parallel (that’s anything north of Nashville) your skin will make very little vitamin D from the ☀️ if at all, regardless of how much time is spent outside, says Harvard Health.  Studies have shown that 40% of Canadians are deficient in vitamin D... 

 

UV exposure as it declines in the winter months, as shown here in an epa.gov map can be directly correlated to decreased Vitamin D synthesis. 

Vitamin D synthesis in November US map

This seasonal vitamin D deficiency is linked to many health issues. Vitamin D is critical in proper immune function (1) and crucial for fighting off respiratory infections (2), which is so much on our minds right now.... 🦠.   

Vitamin D deficiency is often overlooked as the symptoms are subtle and non-specific. Common symptoms are fatigue, muscle aches, low mood, bone pain, hair loss, and hormone imbalance. 

HOW VITAMIN D WORKS ▶️: 

Your body makes it from CHOLESTEROL when your skin is exposed to sunlight 🔆.  If you are vegan or vegetarian you may be especially at risk for deficiency, as you have lower amounts of cholesterol in your diet.   

Vitamin D3, or cholecalciferol, is the form that our bodies produce after exposure to sunlight, and it’s the type that we metabolize most effectively 💃🏽. 

The structure of vitamin D and the way it acts throughout the body makes it function more like a hormone than a vitamin. 🤯.   

Nearly every cell and organ in the body has Vitamin D receptorstherefore influencing many biological pathways.  This may explain the association of vitamin D deficiency (and living at higher latitudes) with an increased risk for many chronic diseases including autoimmune diseases, some cancers, cardiovascular disease, infectious disease, schizophrenia, depression and type 2 diabetes. 

 

 

BUT HOW ABOUT VITAMIN D & FERTILITY...🤰🏽 

Vitamin D supplementation is particularly important for your fertility as many studies have shown that a deficiency is associated with: 

    • Gestational diabetes (3) 

    • Pre-eclampsia (3) 

    • Low birthweight (3)  

    • Preterm birth (4) 

    • Increased risk for recurrent pregnancy loss (5) 

    Supplementation has reduced risk of all of these obstetric complications and has shown to prevent low birthweight and increase live birth rates (6).  Vitamin D is essential for proper ovarian functioning, egg maturation and quality – and plays a crucial role in AMH expression (7).  It also helps regulate androgens and is key in the treatment of PCOS. 

    In a recent study of women undergoing IVF, those who were Vitamin D deficient has a lower live birth rate than those who were not (8).

    IVF patients with adequate levels of vitamin D had 4 times the pregnancy rate (9).

    Luckily, Vitamin D deficiency is a relatively easy thing to correct.  The Endocrine Society recommends adults supplement with 1500-2000 IU/day (10). 

    Long story short....Get some Vitamin D in the routine NOW – your whole body will appreciate it! 

     

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    REFERNCES: 

    1) Schwalfenberg GK. A review of the critical role of vitamin D in the functioning of the immune system and the clinical implications of vitamin D deficiency. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2011 Jan;55(1):96-108. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201000174. Epub 2010 Sep 7. PMID: 20824663. 

    2) Pletz MW, Terkamp C, Schumacher U, Rohde G, Schütte H, Welte T, Bals R; CAPNETZ-Study Group. Vitamin D deficiency in community-acquired pneumonia: low levels of 1,25(OH)2 D are associated with disease severity. Respir Res. 2014 Apr 27;15(1):53. doi: 10.1186/1465-9921-15-53. PMID: 24766747; PMCID: PMC4046524. 

    3) Aghajafari F, Nagulesapillai T, Ronksley PE, Tough SC, O'Beirne M, Rabi DM. Association between maternal serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D level and pregnancy and neonatal outcomes: systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies. BMJ. 2013 Mar 26;346:f1169. doi: 10.1136/bmj.f1169. PMID: 23533188. 

    4) De-Regil LM, Palacios C, Lombardo LK, Peña-Rosas JP. Vitamin D supplementation for women during pregnancy. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016 Jan 14;(1):CD008873. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD008873.pub3. Update in: Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2019 Jul 26;7:CD008873. PMID: 26765344. 

    5) Ota K, Dambaeva S, Han AR, Beaman K, Gilman-Sachs A, Kwak-Kim J. Vitamin D deficiency may be a risk factor for recurrent pregnancy losses by increasing cellular immunity and autoimmunity. Hum Reprod. 2014 Feb;29(2):208-19. doi: 10.1093/humrep/det424. Epub 2013 Nov 24. PMID: 24277747. 

    6) Fung JL, Hartman TJ, Schleicher RL, Goldman MB. Association of vitamin D intake and serum levels with fertility: results from the Lifestyle and Fertility Study. Fertil Steril. 2017;108(2):302-311. doi:10.1016/j.fertnstert.2017.05.037 

    7Irani M, Merhi Z. Role of vitamin D in ovarian physiology and its implication in reproduction: a systematic review. Fertil Steril. 2014 Aug;102(2):460-468.e3. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2014.04.046. Epub 2014 Jun 3. PMID: 24933120. 

    8) Zhao J, Huang X, Xu B, Yan Y, Zhang Q, Li Y. Whether vitamin D was associated with clinical outcome after IVF/ICSI: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2018 Feb 9;16(1):13. doi: 10.1186/s12958-018-0324-3. PMID: 29426322; PMCID: PMC5807754. 

    9) Garbedian K, Boggild M, Moody J, Liu KE. Effect of vitamin D status on clinical pregnancy rates following in vitro fertilization. CMAJ Open. 2013;1(2):E77-E82. Published 2013 Jun 28. doi:10.9778/cmajo.20120032 

    10) MF, Binkley NC, Bischoff-Ferrari HA, Gordon CM, Hanley DA, Heaney RP, et al. Evaluation, treatment, and prevention of vitamin D deficiency: an Endocrine Society Clinical Practice Guideline. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2011;96:1911-30.