What’s this essential fertility nutrient? It’s Vitamin D - which is actually a hormone made from your skin’s exposure to the sun. Most foods, fortified or not, do not have therapeutic levels of this nutrient and most women are massively deficient in Vit D3.
Studies have shown that 93% of women dealing with infertility issues are vitamin D3 deficient. We also know that most women suffering with PCOS have this deficiency. Scientists have discovered that women with higher vitamin D3 levels are 4 times more likely to conceive via IVF than women with low levels.
The core issue here, from a hormonal health standpoint, is that a low concentration of vitamin D3 causes estrogen dominance. This hormonal imbalance contributes to a whole range of reproductive health problems for women (like endometriosis, for example) as well as the development of common estrogen-sensitive cancers.
When working with women here at Flo Living, I spend a lot of time helping them figure out if they are experiencing a deficiency and developing strategies to boost their levels. I know that because of where and how we obtain our D3, it can often be the most neglected of the vitamins, even for women who are otherwise fastidious about their healthy diet and lifestyle.
Vitamin D3 deficiency has actually reached epidemic levels in recent years and I believe this to be one of roots of many women’s struggles with fertility and fertile health.
The 5 ways vitamin D3 supports your fertility
- Higher D3 levels help the body regulate blood sugar levels. Imbalanced blood sugar impacts whether you ovulate or not every cycle.
- D3 supports the body’s immune response. Most infertility has autoimmune disturbances at it’s core. Vit D3 tells your body not to attack itself.
- D3 supports a healthy gut microbiome and vaginal microbiome which improves your chance of conceiving and maintaining a pregnancy.
- There are vitamin D3 receptors in all of your female reproductive organs - showing that the entire reproductive system requires D3 to function healthily.
- D3 boosts progesterone levels which helps you to get and stay pregnant.
PLUS - for your partner - D3 is absolutely vital for maintaining his high sperm count and sperm motility. It takes two to make a baby so it’s always important for your man to keep an eye on his health too!
The early sign of vitamin D3 deficiency many don’t spot
As I mentioned already, if you struggle with infertility or PCOS, it is likely that you are D3 deficient. Other signs include a diabetes diagnosis and any gut troubles from IBS or Crohn’s Disease. However, there’s one early sign of a growing deficiency that is actually used by medical professionals to diagnose this problem in babies, that is:
Excessive head sweating! Seems strange, but it’s true. So if you or your child wake up each morning with a soaked pillow, it might be time to take a vitamin D3 test and work on increasing your levels.
How to test for vitamin D3 deficiency
Ask your doctor to give you a 25(OH)D test (aka a 25-hydroxyvitamin D test). The optimal level for vitamin D3 in your blood is now considered to be between 50 and 70 ng/ml. If you find you have a deficiency, don’t panic, you can change this number quite simply with modifications to your diet and lifestyle. The Flo Living way of life can boost, protect and maintain your vitamin D3 levels.
The best way to get your vitamin D3
The Sun! Lots and lots of sunshine is key. That’s why vitamin D3 is often called the “sunshine vitamin” - it is truly the best way for your body to raise your levels of this vital nutrient. In fact, I was so aware of this factor in my own fertility that during the winter I was hoping to conceive I booked myself and my husband a special romantic break in the sun, away from the New York City snowstorms and grey skies. We arrived at our destination on the last day of my period and spent my follicular week soaking in the sunshine. We conceived just after we returned home, by which time I was ovulating.
I recently wrote about the dangers of sunscreen and how to safely protect yourself in the sun - click here to read more.
Why D3 supplements aren’t good enough
Unfortunately, it’s really very hard to get enough vitamin D3 with supplements alone. You would need to be taking in 8,000 IUs per day to be making a real difference to your health. As I don’t live in a very sunny area of the country and I am breastfeeding, I currently take 5,000 IUs per day, but I also try to get outside as much as I can for walks in the park with my husband and baby girl without wearing sunscreen.
Getting plenty of sun, along with avoiding nutrient-zapping diet and lifestyle choices like too much coffee, alcohol or processed foods (as I recommend to my Flo Living ladies), should be sufficient action to get your vitamin D3 levels in the healthy zone.
Always remember, that once you have the right information about how your body really works, you can start making health choices that finally start to work for you! You can do this - the science of your body is on your side!
to your FLO,
Good things come in threes:
I want to hear from you
First, do you think you have vitamin D3 deficiency?
Second, in what ways have you tried to increase your vitamin D3 levels?
Third, you know every one you know is hormonal – spread a little good ovary karma and share this article on social! ?
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