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Reduction in IVF Pregnancies Due to a Vitamin D Deficiency
- Updated: August 18, 2014
While most women understand the value of vitamin D as it relates to bone health, many are unaware that this vitamin is also critical for a strong heart and fertility. As a steroid hormone, vitamin D is actually produced in the skin from sun exposure but also absorbed by consuming certain fortified foods. However, according to several laboratory studies involving mammals, vitamin D also has a direct effect on fertility.
To examine the way this vitamin affects fertility, researchers from Italy created a study involving women undergoing the assisted reproductive technology known as In Vitro Fertilization or IVF. According to the United States Centers for Disease Control, more than 1% of babies born in the US are conceived in this manner. For this reason, American researchers took interest in the study.
To date, the Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico Italian study is the largest of its kind pertaining to vitamin D and IVF. As shared by one of the authors, researchers found women with adequate levels of vitamin D had a better chance of producing healthy embryos and therefore had increased opportunity of becoming pregnant naturally than women with a vitamin D deficiency.
In 2012, women referred to the Infertility Unit of the Fondazione Ca’ Granda were targeted for this cross-sectional study. The success of IVF procedures was examined in 181 women with adequate levels of vitamin D (at least 20 ng/ml in the bloodstream) and 154 women who had a deficiency. Those with sufficient levels were almost twice as likely to conceive opposed to women with inadequate levels.
The theory – vitamin D plays a key role in the production of high quality eggs but also successful implantation within the uterus. Another new study was published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, which supported the Italian study’s findings. Obviously, additional research and clinical trials are needed to confirm the findings but experts strongly believe bringing levels of vitamin D to a normal range helps contribute to the success of IVF.