Vitamin D is available in a range of fortified food items such as dairy products (milk, cheese, butter, cream, etc.). However, the best source of this nutrient is considered to be the Sun. Sunlight is absorbed by the skin and Vitamin D is synthesized from the cholesterol present in it.
Amongst the most receptive organs of the body for Vitamin D are the uterus, ovaries and placenta formed during pregnancy. Furthermore, low levels or the deficiency of vitamin D has been associated with pregnancy-related issues such as gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia and intrauterine fetal growth retardation.
A considerable amount of Vitamin D in the body (including its active form calcitriol) helps in increasing the production of estrogen and assists in successful implantation of the embryo.
Moreover, several studies have proven that Vitamin D helps in the healthy progress of one’s pregnancy in several ways. These may include the successful development of the baby, healthy and sufficient uterine lining and more. An advantage to be noted is that this nutrient is not that hard to obtain. It is plausibly the cheapest and the most affordable vitamin available for humans to consume.
The best way to discover vitamin D deficiency is to take a blood test that will measure the level of the vitamin in your blood.
The frustrating part of being Vitamin D deficient is that there’re no clear symptoms. In fact, many people remain asymptomatic despite low levels. But here are some common symptoms.
- General muscle pain and weakness
- Muscle cramps
- Joint pain
- Chronic pain
- Weight gain
- High blood pressure
- Restless sleep
- Poor concentration
- Bladder problems
- Constipation or diarrhea
In the reproduction sphere, the importance of vitamin D initially manifested itself in experiments with mice. Mice who are either deficient in vitamin D or who lack the vitamin D receptor, demonstrate underdevelopment of the uterus and inability to form normal mature eggs, resulting in infertility. If pregnancy is achieved, the fetuses of these mice show impaired growth.
Women who are about to undergo In vitro fertilization (IVF) can provide valuable insight into the role of vitamin D, since it is possible to examine each aspect of reproduction, from egg development to implantation of the embryo. A recent study found that women with higher vitamin D levels are significantly more likely to achieve pregnancy from IVF compared to women with lower levels of vitamin D.