Vitamin D Benefits for Fertility & Pregnancy Before & After
Unless you live in the tropical region where sunlight is always intense or proactively take supplements, getting enough vitamin D is difficult. And despite educational campaigns to raise awareness; vitamin D deficiency still exists in many couples wanting to become parent. And especially for individuals over 30, supplementation is recommended.
But individuals should check their vitamin D levels frequently (e.g. every 6-8 months) and as early in adult life as possible. Reason is optimal vitamin D levels are crucial for nearly all body functions, including successful conception, for both men and women, and maintaining a healthy pregnancy. In addition, optimizing vitamin D levels sooner can prevent a host of modern chronic conditions from manifesting themselves later in life.
This article provides information on importance of vitamin D for fertility and pregnancy.
Vitamin D and Fertility
While research on vitamin D, fertility and conception is booming, the studies that have been conducted are promising. For example, it has been shown that vitamin D supplementation can increase a couple’s chances of conceiving when IVF is used, and recent research suggests that vitamin D supplements can increase fertility and sperm count in men.
In addition, to the health benefits of vitamin D for immunity, inflammatory levels, and overall health, you’ll see many more interesting studies published in the years to come. For now, it seems prudent for future parents (and your kids) to take vitamin D levels seriously in order to increase your chances of conception.
Forget about all vitamin D supplements containing less than 1000 IU per capsule. This is far from being enough to keep your eggs healthy in the long run. Practically, intake of 2000 IU per day for over several months, the vitamin D level increases and brings you into the recommended range of 30-40ng/ml.
Vitamin D and Pregnancy
While vitamin D benefits women at any time in their lives, it is absolutely essential that it be maintained at its peak levels before becoming pregnant (ideally) and definitely during and after pregnancy.
Significant evidence shows that vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy increases the risk of anemia, gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia, bacterial vaginosis, and unplanned cesarean section. For the baby, a variety of studies have shown that sub-optimal vitamin D levels can adversely affect an unborn child’s health in several ways, including low birth weight, tooth enamel defects, decreased cognitive function, and increased risk of obesity.
If that’s not enough to turn heads, studies show that you can reduce your baby’s risk of asthma by 40 percent by increasing vitamin D intake. Vitamin D also plays a key role in the nutritional quality of your breast milk. Therefore, if you are supplementing for two, a higher dose of supplements for breastfeeding mothers, often 5,000 IU per day or more is recommended. Talk to your doctor or healthcare provider about what is best for you.
However, there is no fixed number high vitamin D levels should be in women who want to have children.
About Vitamin D & Other Benefits
While the name is slightly misleading, vitamin D is both a vitamin and a hormone essential for healthy body function. Often dubbed “the sunshine vitamin,” vitamin D enters our bodies primarily through the sun, which is absorbed by our skin and converted to a usable form by cholesterol. You can get some vitamin D from specific foods, but most of it comes from good old-fashioned sunshine.
While all nutrients play a crucial and symbiotic role in the maintenance of health, vitamin D is especially important because it is essential for nearly all body systems and functions, including musculo-skeletal, gastrointestinal, renal, endocrine, and cardiovascular systems.
It is even essential for healthy genetics and gene expression. Vitamin D has been shown to be responsible for up to 3 percent of what is known as “gene transcription,” the process by which inherited genes are expressed or activated. In other words, vitamin D plays one of the most essential roles in nourishing your body, protecting your genes, preventing acute and chronic diseases, and maintaining your overall health.
This article has been written by Nilam Mehta and she is one of the owner of this site/blog.
Nilam has worked in Pharmaceutical industry and have studied – Lifestyle Medicine from Doane University; Science of Exercise from University of Colorado Boulder. She believes that many of health problems can be cured naturally.
You can reach her on [email protected]