This is a guest blog written by Dr. Kim Garbedian
There’s been an increase in talk about the role vitamin D plays in our health. Vitamin D has been linked to a variety of autoimmune diseases and cancers (breast and colorectal).
Recent studies suggest that vitamin D may play a role in fertility. It may be important for egg quality or play a role in embryo implantation. Right now, we just don’t know how it impacts fertility and further studies are needed.
Infertility is a common problem affecting 10-15% of Canadian couples. In our study of 173 Canadian IVF patients, we found that women with higher vitamin D levels were more likely to achieve pregnancy following in vitro fertilization.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble prohormone that your body gets from exposure to sunlight, from foods rich in vitamin D or by taking supplements. People living in countries at higher latitudes, such as the US and Canada, are more prone to vitamin D insufficiency.
Women with higher body mass indexes (BMI), especially a BMI of 40 or higher, were more likely to have deficient levels of vitamin D.
We found a 55% prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency in their reproductive age infertility population. Clearly, women are not getting enough vitamin D from their diet, sunlight exposure or supplementation.
What we do know is that women with sufficient vitamin D levels had significantly higher pregnancy rates per cycle start (52.5%) compared with insufficient or deficient women (35%).
More studies are needed to find out whether vitamin D supplementation can improve pregnancy rates. Women experiencing infertility should speak with their healthcare provider for more information regarding the possible link between vitamin D and infertility.
Making sure you have all the vitamins and nutrients your body needs to function properly is an important part of taking care of your overall health!