Vitamin D and Fertility
Vitamin D3, aka the sunshine vitamin, is an important vitamin for fertility health! While vitamin D3 has several important functions in the body, the focus of this article will be on its effects on female reproductive tissues (1).
In the ovaries, vitamin D3 has been shown to increase steroidogenesis and follicle maturation (1). Steroidogenesis is a fancy term for the process in which cholesterols are converted into biologically active steroid hormones (estrogens, progesterone).
Going back to the ovaries… each ovary contains a finite number of eggs that undergo maturation, and are released from the ovaries in the hopes of fertilization (2). This occurs each month. Follicle maturation is the process of events within the ovaries that leads to ovulation, and is necessary for conception/ fertility (2). Therefore, by increasing the production of important steroid hormones in the female reproductive system (such as estradiol, estrone, and progesterone), vitamin D3 promotes follicle maturation (1,2).
Common female reproductive disorders (such as polycystic ovarian syndrome, endometriosis, fibroids) are associated with a significant degree of inflammation (3). The inflammation further contributes to cellular damage, and poor egg quality. Vitamin D3 has been shown to combat the inflammation and improve antioxidant defence (3,4).
Supplementation of vitamin D3 at an appropriate dose can improve female reproductive health through its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, immune system, and hormonal regulation mechanisms (1-4).
Article written by: Dr. Cassandra. Piaino, ND
- Skowrońska P, Pastuszek E, Kuczyński W, Jaszczoł M, Kuć P, Jakiel G, Wocławek-Potocka I, Łukaszuk K. The role of vitamin D in reproductive dysfunction in women–a systematic review. Ann Agric Environ Med. 2016 Sep 27;23(4):671-6.
- Lerchbaum E, Obermayer-Pietsch B. Vitamin D and fertility: a systematic review. Eur J Endocrinol. 2012 May 1;166(5):765-78.
- Anagnostis P, Karras S, Goulis DG. Vitamin D in human reproduction: a narrative review. International journal of clinical practice. 2013 Mar;67(3):225-35.
- Lerchbaum E, Rabe T. Vitamin D and female fertility. Current Opinion in Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2014 Jun 1;26(3):145-50.