Does using vitamin D for fertility help in men?
It is known from animal studies that a deficiency in vitamin D impairs the fertility status. Specifically, a low level of vitamin D reduces sperm count and causes low sperm speed in rodents and mice.
Lab studies have shown that human sperm cells have receptors that bind and respond to the presence of vitamin D. Hence, researchers believe that the vitamin D can influence the development and action of the sperm cells.
But are there any scientific studies to actually show that a deficiency in this vitamin actually affect sperm quantity and quality?
Read on to find out what experts have discovered about the effects of vitamin D on sperm cells...
I found one study where researchers were looking for a link between how vitamin D levels might have an impact on fertility status in men.
The researchers selected men from the general Danish population, and not just those wanting to conceive a child.
There were able to enroll 308 men and the vitamin D levels were obtained from all of them. Tthe researchers were able to obtain semen samples from 40 of the participants. (Eight of the particpants were excluded from the final analysis.)
Here's what they discovered:
Of these 300 men who met the research criterions, 40% of them were deficient in vitamin D.
Blood levels of vitamin D were directly and significantly related to sperm motility.
Blood levels of vitamin D were also related to the quality of the sperm cells. (Scientists call that sperm morphology. In other words, are the sperm cells are of a normally shaped?)
Moreover, and perhaps as important, vitamin D seems to increase the sperm's ability to penetrate and fertilize the egg.
Vitamin D seems to increase the acrosome reaction, the tip of the sperm cell that starts a chemical reaction so that it can deposit the genetic material in the egg to fertilize it.
Other previous lab studies have suggested a relationship between poor sperm quality with a deficiency in vitamin D.This study provides compelling evidence that blood levels of vitamin D has a direct effect on the quality and quantity of human sperm cells.Here's the reference to this research study:
Vitamin D is positively associated with sperm motility
and increases intracellular calcium in human spermatozoa.
Blomberg Jensen M, Bjerrum PJ, Jessen TE, et al.
Hum Reprod. 2011 Jun;26(6):1307-17.
Should I consider taking vitamin D for fertility enhancement?
It's a good idea. There is very little risk in taking a vitamin D supplement. A low level of vitamin D is shown to reduce sperm motility. It also seems to impair the mechanism by which a sperm cell penetrates and fertilize the egg.
We suggest for men to take 1,000 IU daily of vitamin D for fertility enhancement and well as for general health. If you are very concerned about your vitamin D levels, you might want to get it measured.