Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Vitamin D and fertility

Dr. Kelton Tremellan from the University of South Australia has been working with infertile men for years. By-passing their poor sperm quality with IVF techniques such as ICSI was the impetus for Dr. Tremellan to use micronutrients in his infertility practice. He says the same applies to females, they need multiple micronutrients. Recently his work has focused on the importance of vitamin D in improving sperm profiles and fertility in both sexes. 

Dr. Tremellan suggests that only about one quarter to one third of the general population are replete in vitamin D. He says those skin-cancer/melanoma scare-campaigns, urging Australians to “slip, slop, slap” have made their mark!

For optimal male fertility, Tremellan identifies key micronutrients. Antioxidants, which prevent attack by free radicals include vitamins E and C, lycopene and selenium. Vitamin D is another contributing nutrient, with an insufficiency leading to testosterone deficiency and sperm that don’t swim well. These men, with low vitamin D levels may be lethargic and depressed. Sun exposure improves testosterone production. Seems to me that we have a generation of depressed young men, who spend hours in front of a computer screen when they used to be out in the sun riding ride surfboards?

Tremellan asserts that vitamin D therapy can do no harm, it has no side effects and it’s cheap, so why not use it? 

Vitamin D is also important for women. Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and insulin resistance (IR) are big contributing factors to female infertility. Both conditions drive testosterone production, which inhibits ovulation. Researchers think the receptor for insulin has a vitamin D response element, making low vitamin D levels linked to low ovulation rates. Poor vitamin D status is also linked to pre-eclampsia and pre-term birth. Maternal vitamin D deficiency is associated with increased rates of asthma, allergies, schizophrenia and other conditions. More to follow on how to improve your vitamin D status and what dose of supplement you need? 

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