Vitamin D and fertility. Why women in the UK are at higher risk of miscarriage.
Successful blogger and self confessed “Man Repeller” Leandra Medine, announced yesterday that she is pregnant with twins but is struggling to feel happy after a 3 year battle with infertility and miscarriage. A study published this year in Reviews in Endocrine and Metabolic Disorders shows that vitamin D plays a significant role in female fertility. In fact, it concluded that a deficiency may increase the risk of infertility. Vitamin D deficiency has reached epidemic proportions around the world. Could this be the reason behind her miscarriage and the infertility issues experienced by so many other women?
"It’s a particular concern for women in the UK. We just don’t get enough sunlight."
It’s a particular concern for women in the UK. We just don’t get enough sunlight, which is the best source of vitamin D. For every client I’ve seen their test always comes back deficient. It’s important for women who are family planning to get their levels checked with a Registered Nutritional Therapist or their GP and bring their levels up to scratch before trying to conceive to lower risks of miscarriage. In fact, even women that are already pregnant in the UK, like the Dutchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton, Abbey Clancy and Coleen Rooney should do the same to ensure they maintain a healthy pregnancy. Vitamin D plays such an important role in female health.
Pregnant woman. Photograph by Kewei Hu.
Here are 6 reasons why us women need healthy levels
1. Vitamin D makes our sex organs work. Our ovaries, uterus, placenta, pituitary and hypothalamus, contain vitamin D receptors and the all important enzyme 1α-hydroxylase, that’s responsible for activating vitamin D. In other words, our female reproductive tissues need and use active vitamin D to work optimally.
2. Vitamin D regulates hormone production in our sex organs. It influences the genetic expression and activity of enzymes that produce estrogen and progesterone. Basically, without enough of it your hormones become imbalanced.
3. Vitamin D improves ovarian reserve. It also improves the ovary's ability to produce healthy egg cells capable of being fertilized, by stimulating the activity of anti-Mullerian hormone. Put simply, if you’re worried about the impact of your age on your egg quality, vitamin D might help.
4. You need vitamin D to get pregnant. Animal studies have shown that vitamin D deficiency prevents endometrial cell differentiation, preventing successful implantation of a fertilized egg into the uterine wall. A.K.A a pregnancy.
5. It supports PCOS. A high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency has been observed in women with PCOS, a primary cause of infertility.
6. It lowers risk of infertility with other hormonal conditions like endometriosis. Vitamin D deficiency may increase the risk of endometriosis, which can cause infertility if left untreated. In animal studies, restoration of vitamin D levels inhibited the progression of endometriosis.
The role of vitamin D in promoting fertility and maintaining a healthy pregnancy is astonishing. If you’re struggling with getting pregnant, go to your GP and ask for your vitamin D levels to be checked. Even better, work with a Registered Nutritional Therapist too, to cover all aspects of your health that could be undermining your chances of getting pregnant.
Kay Ali, Registered Nutritional Therapist & Co Founder of You Need A Nutritional Therapist.
We collaborate with all our client’s GPs to enhance patient healthcare. Arrange a chat with Kay and book your consultation here.
Ref: Muscogiuri G, Altieri B, de Angelis C, et al. Shedding new light on female fertility: The role of vitamin D. Rev Endocr Metab Disord . 2017