Vitamin D may help couples conceive a study has found. Couples trying for a baby should take a sunshine holiday as sunlight boosts fertility in both men and women by increasing their levels of vitamin D. Known as the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D is also key to balancing sex hormones in women and improving sperm count in men, according to researchers.
For women, vitamin D helps boost levels of the female sex hormones progesterone and oestrogen by 13 per cent and 21 per cent respectively, regulating menstrual cycles and making conception more likely. Fathers-to-be increase their fertility by going into the sun, too – because vitamin D is essential for the healthy development of each sperm’s nucleus.
It also increases levels of the male sex hormone testosterone, improving a man’s libido, according to the review of several studies, published this week in the European Journal of Endocrinology. The vitamin’s effect on both male and female sex hormones may explain why conception rates fall in the winter and peak in the summer in Northern European countries, say the researchers at the Medical University of Graz in Austria.
In their own study of nearly 2,300 men, they also found that levels of testosterone and vitamin D peaked in August and were lowest in March, just after the winter. Women have been found to ovulate less – and their eggs have a reduced chance of implanting in the womb – in the winter months. The link between sunshine and fertility has also been found in animal studies, the review states. Female rodents kept in total darkness have been found to be less fertile and have more pregnancy complications. In male rats raised with no sunlight, the number of successful matings drops by 73 per cent.
Fertility problems affect one in seven couples in the UK. In four out of ten cases, the difficulty lies with the male partner. Although vitamin D can be obtained in small quantities by eating oily fish, eggs and liver, about 80 per cent of the amount the body needs is obtained via a chemical process that happens when the UVB rays in sunlight are absorbed by the skin.
So how is the best way of getting your optimum levels of Vitamin D? The first option should always be through nature, which as everyone knows is through the sun. However, we live in the UK where we do not get adequate sun light to obtain vitamin D. Even in the summer, most people seek to get their sun at the wrong time of day.
The 2 types of sun rays we are concerned about are UVA and UVB. UVA rays are the ones that are more likely to cause skin problems. UVB rays are strongest when the sun is highest in the sky, which is what we are looking for in order for our skin to produce vitamin D.
Never getting sunburn is the idea, as you should build up your tan and resistance gradually to fulfil your body’s vitamin D potential.
Clare and Donovan Blake from the Natural Fertility Program & Retreat, based in Essex say 'It is pretty hard to get adequate vitamin D levels living in the UK, and food sources do not provide high enough levels, therefore supplementation is required. As always, practitioner supplements are recommended to ensure good quality. You should always take Vitamin D with fat.'
Read more about fertility and Vitamin D or visit www.naturalfertilityprogram.co.uk for more ways to boost your fertility naturally.