The role of vitamin D on fertility: Myths and Facts
According to the latest scientific data, in recent years there is an increased incidence of vitamin D deficiency, which has a negative impact on the general health of the body, as well as on individual systems and in particular on the reproductive system. A recent publication shows that during the decade 1994-2004, in the USA the incidence of vitamin D deficiency doubled. The role of vitamin D in bone protection is well known and widespread.
However, cell receptors for vitamin D are found in bone cells and many other cells and tissues in the body. Vitamin D has the ability to bind to these receptors and affect cell function by activating or deactivating specific cell functions. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to the development of diabetes, obesity, the development of autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. Finally, mortality rates are directly related to the levels of vitamin D in the blood. Especially in the field of reproduction, there are many research data that highlight the importance of vitamin D in the proper functioning of the reproductive system. Vitamin D receptors are found in the ovary, the uterus, and the placenta during pregnancy. It has been shown that with the beginning of the implantation of the fertilized egg, the endometrium synthesizes vitamin D to facilitate pregnancy and placental development.
In addition, vitamin D allows the uterus's immune cells to function effectively and protect the uterus from possible infections. Data on the effects of vitamin D deficiency on reproduction come from both experimental studies and recording complications in pregnancy. More specifically, studies in mice with congenital vitamin D deficiency, observed uterine hypoplasia, impaired egg maturation and generally difficulty in conception. Accordingly, from data in studies of complicated pregnancies by vitamin D deficiency, there is an increase in gestational hypertension and diabetes. The role of vitamin D in in-vitro fertilization therapy is also very interesting. Evidence from various studies confirm a negative correlation between vitamin D deficiency and the likelihood of pregnancy after embryo transfer. Similar results are seen in egg donation support programs, which shows that the benefit of vitamin D is mainly manifested at the endometrial level. However, there is still no data to confirm any benefit of vitamin D supplementation in women undergoing IVF. So before adopting such an approach we should evaluate the safety of these supplements in the fertilization process, taking into account the duration treatment, dosage and method of administration.
Assisted reproduction gynecologist, MD, MRCOG, DFFP
Embryolab Clinical Officer Founding member of Embryolab Academy
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