When you’re trying to conceive, you want to do everything you can to support your fertility and help achieve your dream of growing your family. Sometimes, that may include incorporating certain fertility-focused nutrients into your daily routine. Many fertility professionals have vitamin D and fertility on their radar – and for good reason.
While healthy vitamin D levels are important for your overall health, vitamin D is also deeply connected to fertility. In this article, explore 5 critical things you need to know about vitamin D and fertility.
1. If you’re trying to conceive, have your vitamin D level checked.
Most people aren’t sure what their vitamin D level is. Although the optimal blood level of vitamin D for overall health is still up for debate, most fertility experts agree that a vitamin D level of 30 ng/ml is a good target. If you’re trying to conceive, ask your healthcare professional to test your vitamin D levels to find out if you may benefit from a vitamin D supplement.
2. Vitamin D and fertility for women.
Research suggests that vitamin D plays a significant role in female fertility. Healthy vitamin D levels are associated with higher odds of conception and may also help support women going through fertility treatments.
Your vitamin D levels remain important throughout pregnancy, too. Most reproductive health experts believe that maintaining a healthy vitamin D level during pregnancy is critical and can help support healthy pregnancy outcomes.
Most prenatal vitamins contain 10-25 mcg (400-1,000 IU) of vitamin D. However, some women may require higher doses to support a healthy vitamin D level. Research shows that vitamin D doses between 50-100 mcg (2,000-4,000 IU) per day are both safe and effective in achieving a healthy vitamin D level to support a healthy pregnancy.
3. Vitamin D and fertility for men.
Maintaining a healthy vitamin D level is not only important for women trying to conceive. It can benefit the male partner as well. Studies have found a relationship between healthy vitamin D and healthy sperm motility, or how well sperm can move.
4. You can get vitamin D from the sun, but it’s not so easy.
Many people call vitamin D the “sunshine vitamin.” And it’s true – your skin can synthesize vitamin D from sunlight. But it’s not as easy as it sounds.
People with darker pigmented skin may require longer sun exposure than those with lighter pigmented skin to synthesize the same amount of vitamin D.
Geographic location also plays a huge role in how much vitamin D you can get from the sun. For example, people who live in northern latitudes may have difficulty synthesizing vitamin D from the sun during the winter months. So, check out the UV index in your area – the lower the UV index, the lower your ability to make vitamin D from sunlight.
5. Consider a high-quality vitamin D supplement.
While you can get vitamin D from a few foods, like fatty fish, egg yolks, liver, and fortified milk, many people struggle to get enough from diet alone. And the sun is powerful, but you can’t always rely on it for vitamin D synthesis, either. That’s where a high-quality vitamin D supplement can step in.
Unfortunately, not all vitamin D supplements are created equal. Vitamin D3, or cholecalciferol, is the type of vitamin D your body produces after exposure to sunlight, and it’s the type that you metabolize most effectively, so it makes sense to choose a vitamin D3 supplement.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, so be sure to take your vitamin D supplement with a meal that contains healthy fats to maximize absorption. For example, if you take your supplement with breakfast, the fat from an egg (including the yolk), nuts, nut butter, seeds, or cheese will help your body absorb vitamin D.
Healthy vitamin D levels are essential in your fertility journey. If you’re curious about your own vitamin D level, or if you’re concerned that you may not be getting enough vitamin D on a daily basis, talk with your healthcare provider for individualized recommendations.