Vitamin D deficiency is one of the most prevalent vitamin deficiencies. Most of us are aware of the importance of Vitamin D in bone health to strengthen bones and prevent diseases like osteoporosis and rickets. However, there is Increased research which is now telling us about the importance of vitamin D in female fertility, pregnancy, and lactation.
Effects of Low levels of Vitamin D on Fertility
Vitamin D deficiency not just affects women’s fertility but has a negative impact during pregnancy and post pregnancy too.
- Low fertility: Low levels of vitamin D are associated with low levels of fertility. Research has suggested that low levels of Vitamin D affect ovulation. At the Yale University school of medicine, a study of 67 infertile women concluded that only 7 of them had adequate levels of Vitamin D. The rest of the infertile women who were having trouble conceiving were deficient in Vitamin D.
- Low levels of Vitamin D are also linked to problems during pregnancy. Pregnant women with insufficient Vitamin D levels had an increased incidence of Gestational Diabetes, preterm delivery, loss of pregnancy.
- Complications during delivery also increased in women with low levels of Vitamin D. Insufficient levels of Vitamin D increased complications during caesarean section.
- Low levels of vitamin D during pregnancy can result in poor bone health of the baby. There is also some research which links children’s bone health to the levels of Vitamin D of the mother while pregnant.
- Low levels of Vitamin D are also linked to post-partum depression which is very common in women who have recently had a baby.
Read Also: How Do Low Levels Of Vitamin D Affect Pregnancy?
Best Sources of Vitamin D
Sunlight: The best way to get sufficient vitamin D is by exposing bare skin to the sun. You need between 10-30 minutes of direct exposure to sunlight to get sufficient Vitamin D. Darker skinned people need more sunlight exposure than fair people as the melanin in Dark skin acts as a barrier to Vitamin D absorption.
Non-vegetarian sources of Vitamin D:
- Oily fish like cod, herring, swordfish
- Cod liver oil
- Egg yolks
Vegetarian sources of Vitamin D
- Mushrooms – portobello, Mitake or chanterelle
- Soy Milk fortified with Vitamin D
- Almond milk fortified with Vitamin D
- Fortified Orange Juice
- Cereal fortified with Vitamin D
Since there are very few sources of Vitamin D, it is not possible to get sufficient Vitamin D from food alone, especially when pregnant. Therefore, doctor approved Vitamin D supplements might be essential to get adequate Vitamin D.
Vitamin D and Calcium
For strong bones, calcium or Vitamin D alone is not sufficient. You need a combination of adequate calcium and Vitamin D since Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium. Include these foods to maintain sufficient calcium levels in your body
- Dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt
- Green or Leafy vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, and okra
- Soya Beans
- Fish where you eat the bones like sardines and pilchards
- Nuts like Almonds and Brazil nuts
Laboratory tests will help you determine if you have any Vitamin D deficiency. Any Vitamin D supplements should be taken on the advice of the doctor in the prescribed doses only.
Read Also: Why Do Babies Need Vitamin D?
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