Definition - What does Vitamin D mean?
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin obtained in the diet from milk, juice, fish oils, and dietary supplements. Vitamin D is also produced in the skin from direct sunlight. Vitamin D has an impact on many different biological functions including calcium absorption and normal bone health. Low vitamin D levels are linked to infertility, an increased risk of cancers, autoimmune disease, cardiovascular disease and insulin resistance. Achieving adequate vitamin D levels has been shown to improve outcomes during in vitro fertilization (IVF).
During pregnancy, Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with congenital rickets, bone growth dysfunction, and fractures in the newborn. Vitamin D level monitoring can be considered in women at increased risk of vitamin D deficiency. This includes vegetarians, women with limited sun exposure, and women with darker skin pigments.
FertilitySmarts explains Vitamin D
It has been hypothesized that vitamin D supports fertility by maintaining a healthy balance in the ovary, uterus, and placenta as well as supporting the production of estrogen. In a large scientific study, women undergoing IVF with a vitamin D level of at least 20 (ng/mL) was linked to having a greater chance of a successful embryo implantation when compared with lower vitamin D levels. The higher the level of vitamin D the better the outcomes; Women with a level of 30 (ng/mL) or more had twice the successful pregnancy rates than those with lower levels.
Low vitamin D levels in men have also been linked to infertility. It is just as important for men to consume the recommended vitamin D to promote overall wellbeing and fertility outcomes.
Vitamin D supplementation is also important in maintaining healthy bone development in the baby during pregnancy. The recommended daily amount is 600 international units (IU) for all reproductive-age women including those that are pregnant or lactating. It is important to know that most prenatal vitamins only contain 400 IU of vitamin D. Therefore, supplemental vitamin D is encouraged. Supplemental vitamin D is encouraged for all women due to the widespread of vitamin D deficiency in the general population.
For those that are considered deficient vitamin D supplementation of higher doses is recommended. Most experts agree up to 1000-2000 IU per day is considered safe. Some data shows safety at higher doses.