Acupuncturist, Nutritionist and Traditional Chinese Medical Practitioner
View more about Julie via bumpcarlton.com.au website here
Vitamin D Deficiency & Fertility
Over the last decade, discussion about Vitamin D deficiency has increased. So much so, that people appear to be disregarding its importance as if it’s just an over-diagnosis.
When it comes to Vitamin D’s role in the body we need to understand how important and how much it actually does for our heath. The role it’s most known for is helping the body absorb calcium which keeps our bones strong. However, new research shows us that a deficiency in Vitamin D can affect many other aspects of our health; many of which may surprise you. Many chronic diseases such as, autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and even cancer can be associated with Vitamin D deficiency. We previously knew that Vitamin D affected cells within the bones but now we know it also affects cells within different organs of the body. How does it do this? Vitamin D is able to turn a cell ‘on and off’ which means it can affect the way a cell operates, or carries out its function.
It’s a pretty big deal that Vitamin D can totally control whether a cell continues to grow or die. This is why Vitamin D deficiency is said to increase the risk of some cancers, such as prostate, breast and colon cancers by between 30-50%.
So, what about our fertility health? A deficiency of Vitamin D can lead to underdevelopment of the uterus and an inability to form mature eggs. A study showed that mice with Vitamin D deficiency once pregnant had problems with the growth of their fetus. The good news in these studies is that with Vitamin D supplementation reproductive health was normalized in the mice.
Vitamin D is important in so many ways when we look at female reproduction. Firstly, the active form of Vitamin D (calcitriol) is able to control the genes which make estrogen. Also, the role of Vitamin D, or calcitriol, plays a huge role in implantation because the lining of the uterus produces calcitriol once it realizes the embryo has entered the uterine cavity just before implantation is due to take place. Then once a woman is pregnant the placenta and the uterus continue to produce calcitriol to protect the fetus from infection.
A study was done with women undergoing IVF and found that women with higher levels of Vitamin D were significantly more likely to become pregnant compared to those with lower levels. In addition, another study showed that women who were undergoing embryo transfer with a donor egg were less likely to have a successful pregnancy result with a Vitamin D deficiency. This shows us how ever important the role of Vitamin D is within the uterus.
So, do take Vitamin D seriously, particularly if your blood results are showing you may have a deficiency. Make sure you get sunshine in healthy doses (without getting burnt), because the majority of our Vitamin D is naturally made in the skin after UVB exposure. Even if you take a supplement (which you should if you have a deficiency) the body will still require the UBV form and increasing supplement dosage can actually be harmful to your health. Remember to step outside, even if it’s cloudy, during your lunch break to support your fertility health.
Dr Julie Rani Vecera is a Chinese Medical Practitioner, Nutritional Advisor and Acupuncturist. She is available for private consultations in various locations in Melbourne or via Skype. For more information please contact bumpcarlton.com.au or bumplusnutrition.com