Vitamin D is a vital vitamin for health, and unfortunately it’s a vitamin that in the UK, we tend to be a little short of. Today is the first day of Spring and the bobbing heads of daffodils adorn fields, hills and gardens as far as the eye can see.
Where can I find Vitamin D?
The best source of vitamin D is from direct sunlight on the skin when outside. In a time when we are (rightly) concerned about sun exposure and skin cancer and the dreary days of autumn and winter, our ability to expose our bodies to the sun is limited. Research has identified that many children and adults living in the UK are deficient in Vitamin D, leading to bone deformities such as rickets in children and bone pain caused by a condition called Osteomalacia in adults. Not only that but we all need Vitamin D to keep teeth and muscles healthy.
Vitamin D is also found in a small number of foods.
• oily fish – such as salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel and fresh tuna
• red meat
• egg yolks
• fortified foods – such as most fat spreads and some breakfast cereals
Another source is via supplementation with a dietary supplement. NICE recommends that all adults living in the UK should take a daily supplement containing 400 IU (10mcgs) throughout the year. NICE makes special reference to the importance of Vitamin D during pregnancy and for breast feeding mothers but currently this does not include women who are trying to conceive.
Recent research has identified that many women suffering from infertility are found to be deficient in Vitamin D and this was especially noted in women with PCOS (Pal et al. 2012). Researchers in Austria conducted a systemic review and concluded that Vitamin D might be important for hormone disturbances including infertility in women as well as men (Lerchbaum and Obermayer-Pietsch 2012). However this study has been severely criticized as it was based on mainly animal studies and further human study is required to realise the impact that deficiency has on fertility.
A more recent study in to fertility outcomes during the winter season for couples undergoing assisted conception found no correlation between pregnancy outcomes and vitamin D status in either men or women (Neville et al. 2016).
So the jury is still out as to whether Vitamin D has any benefit to fertility and more research is desperately needed. However without doubt,it is a vitamin that we should all be taking routinely and one that I will continue to recommend to all my fertility patients, as a good dose of the sunshine Vitamin never did anyone any harm.
The vitamins and minerals essential for fertility are just one of the aspects covered in my best selling online programme – Boost Your Fertility in 30 Days. To celebrate Spring and the first sunshine days – I have reduced the price of my programme from £47.99 to £19.99 for a limited time only. You can find out more here.
Lerchbaum, E. and Obermayer-Pietsch, B. (2017). MECHANISMS IN ENDOCRINOLOGY: Vitamin D and fertility: a systematic review. [online] Available at: http://www.eje-online.org/content/early/2012/01/24/EJE-11-0984.abstract?sid=51cb625d-faa6-4807-99f0-96562fffaf82 [Accessed 15 Mar. 2017].
Neville, G., Martyn, F., Kilbane, M., O’Riordan, M., Wingfield, M., McKenna, M. and McAuliffe, F. (2016). Vitamin D status and fertility outcomes during winter among couples undergoing in vitro fertilization/intracytoplasmic sperm injection. International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics, 135(2), pp.172-176.
Pal, L., Berry, A., Coraluzzi, L., Kustan, E., Danton, C., Shaw, J. and Taylor, H. (2012). Therapeutic implications of vitamin D and calcium in overweight women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Gynecological Endocrinology, 28(12), pp.965-968.