Vitamin D is fat-soluble nutrition essential to maintain the body skeleton and bones. Vitamin D is the “sunshine vitamin,” and skin of humans prepare the vitamin with the help of sun’s ultraviolet rays. You can get from dietary supplements and foods as well. Low vitamin D levels are seen in women with impaired fertility, endometriosis, and polycystic ovary syndrome. Vitamin D is important for the regulation of calcium and phosphorus metabolism in our body. This vitamin is also precursor of hormone calcitriol which regulates a large number of genes in tissues for female reproduction. Pregnant women with vitamin D deficiency have more chances of high blood pressure, preterm delivery of baby, diabetes, and vaginal infections.
Why it is important to have exposure to sunlight?
95% of body vitamin D is due to exposure to sunlight and only 5% comes from the diet. Diet rich in vitamin D are milk, orange juice, fish like salmon, mackerel, herring and sardines etc. Our skin contains a provitamin D called 7dehydrocholesterol. This chemical forms active vitamin D by sunlight. Hence it is important to have sunlight exposure every day. The amount of direct sun exposure required for formation of vitamin D is not known but 2-3 hours should be enough. People with light skin require less time of exposure then people with dark skin. Excessive direct sun light may burn your skin. So, you should protect skin from sun light damage. Prolonged sunburn may lead to skin cancer.
Health Benefits of Vitamin D
The predominant function on vitamin D is to help transport of calcium or phosphorus from the small intestine. Calcium is required for bone mineralization for the hardening of bones. It helps cell functions, and nerve and muscle function. Calcitriol hormone comes from vitamin D which helps in calcium balance of the body.
People whosoever have vitamin D deficiency will have soft, weakened, then fragile bones. A health condition namely rickets occurs in teenagers. Beneficial roles for vitamin D are seen in diseases like autoimmunity, insulin resistance, cardiovascular disease, and cancer conditions. Vitamin D is present in reproductive tissues including ovary, uterus, placenta, testis linking vitamin D to reproductive health outcomes.
Infants, children, pregnant and postmenopausal women are at risk of developing vitamin D deficiency. Diseases such as rickets, osteoporosis, and osteomalacia affect bone health. Besides, vitamin D deficiency in women might be associated with lower fertility and an increased risk of pregnancy complications.
Does vitamin D affect fertility?
Vitamin D deficiency can decrease the enzyme aromatase in the ovary, testis and epididymis. These are organs for generating eggs and sperms required for fertility. Less vitamin D levels in early child hood can lead to maldevelopment of uterus, impaired growth of follicles in ovary. It can also cause decreased sperm counts, decreased sperm motility leading to male infertility.
Vitamin D if given to women undergoing IVF and embryo transfer have raised oestradiol levels during gonadotrophin-induced ovarian stimulation. Increase of serum 1,25(OH)2D3/ vitamin D regulates implantation, trophoblast invasion and implantation tolerance in women.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is very common nowadays. It is the most common hormone disorder in women of young age and is inherited in families. PCOS women have problems in ovarian function. Young women may present with obesity, increased insulin resistance and abnormal sugar levels. They have irregular menstrual cycles which may eventually lead to infertility.
Vitamin D levels in women with PCOS are often low and are related to metabolic risk factors. Insulin resistance, high BMI, altered waist-to-hip-ratio, increased triglycerides, total testosterone and DHEAS are common features in PCOS. Vitamin D supplementation in these women has positive effects on the disease.
Women of reproductive age have several extra sites for vitamin D synthesis. Cyclic and early pregnant endometrium is such a site of vitamin D synthesis and action. Endometriosis is a disease where extra endometrium is found outside uterus. It may be due to lowering of immunologic mechanism and inflammatory responses in the body. Vitamin D can influence the local activity of immune cells and halt the disease process.
High blood pressure of pregnancy can be related to Vitamin D deficiency
Pregnant women often show more chances of high blood pressure during winter months. This may be related to the lowering of vitamin D levels due to lack of sunlight. Pregnancy eclampsia is a disease of high blood pressure during pregnancy. This has serious consequences on the health of mother and baby. It suggests a role for vitamin D and sunlight, because of a higher incidence in winter and a lower incidence in summer. Women with pregnancy eclampsia are known to have lower levels of vitamin D than normal pregnant women. Early weeks of pregnancy are more important for baby growth. Hence pregnant women should start taking vitamin D from first trimester of pregnancy. Maternal vitamin D deficiency may lead to inflammatory response that causes endothelial dysfunction and increased blood pressure.
Diabetes Mellitus in pregnancy
Severe vitamin D deficiency in pregnant women is seen more commonly in women with diabetes compared to normal pregnant women. After vitamin D supplementation sugar levels can come back to normal. Hence, vitamin D supplementation in early in pregnancy reduces the chances or severity of GDM.
Vitamin D and mode of delivery
In cases of severe deficiency of the vitamin, D women have high chances of cesarean delivery. Women taking regular calcium and vitamin D are better candidates for normal delivery.
Spontaneous preterm birth
Women with deficiency of vitamin D are often seen to break the waters early deliver prematurely. This may be due to repeated vaginal infections due to low immunologic response. Spontaneous preterm birth (SPB) can occur any time before 37 weeks pregnancy. Preterm birth has adverse effects on health of baby.
Should I take vitamin D when breastfeeding?
Breast milk is ideal for all newborn babies, but may not be sufficient for many. Newborn babies require vitamin D levels within a normal range for which supplements are given. Many nursing mothers and their babies require vitamin D supplementation for better health. Children of mothers with low vitamin D serum levels during pregnancy have more chances of diseases like wheezing and asthma, schizophrenia, diabetes mellitus. It happens due to genetic modifications during pregnancy. Vitamin D is helpful for more than 3,000 genes which have a role in the development of the baby.
What happens when your vitamin D is low?
Vitamin D deficiency in majority presents with bone and skeleton disorders. Vitamin D benefits can also encompass the following:
Supplementation together with 1,000 IU concerning vitamin D, then greater serum nutrition D levels, may additionally hold a barely lower chance about cardiovascular disorder or complications. Higher levels of vitamin D retards the process of atherosclerosis and heart disease.
According to observational research then preliminary lab studies, greater nutrition D yet calcium consumption and reputation may additionally keep combined according to lower most cancers hazard (especially colorectal cancer), though that is difficult to analyse the impact of the pair due to the fact on the course vitamin D impacts calcium levels. Vitamin D supplement can reduce chances of colorectal cancer if taken regularly.
Colds and Flu
The flu virus spreads mostly between the wintry weather months. Vitamin D deficiency is most observed during these months due to lack of sunlight in winter.
Vitamin D supplement in overweight women helps to reduce weight rapidly.
What foods are high in vitamin D?
Vitamin D is present in enough quantity in fish, certain namely herring, mackerel, salmon, tuna, and sardines. Egg yolks, cheese, and red meat also provide smaller amounts of vitamin D. Mushrooms provide lower amount of vitamin D. Milk and its products are good sources of vitamin D. Certain fortified food like morning cereals, soy milk, yogurt, orange and margarine also provide some quantities of this vitamin.
Benefits for women in menopause
If you are a woman of your 30s, 40s then 50s, it’s era to assume taking vitamin D. This vitamin plays a central function in many physical functions from adolescence through menopause. Vitamin D is helpful in preventing diseases like osteoporosis, diabetes, cancer, or weight gain. Calcium absorption declines with menopause, in addition, oestrogen increases the activity of the enzyme responsible for activating vitamin D. Weight gain, decreased lean body mass and increased visceral fat tissue affect most women after menopause.
The decrease in estrogens hormone after menopause results in a decrease in bone density and a higher risk of fracture. During menopausal years the quality of life is less due to musculoskeletal discomfort, frequent mood disturbances, and metabolic and cardiovascular diseases. Vitamin D supplementation, even in higher doses, may be necessary for postmenopausal women to overcome high parathyroid activity.
How to Maintain Your Vitamin D Levels?
Vitamin D comes from your diet, exposure to sunlight, or through a supplement.
Nutrition recommendations suggest an everyday consumption of 200 to 800 worldwide units (IUs) depending on your age. Taking milk every day helps to bring up the levels of vitamin D in young children. Sea fish also additionally furnish some vitamin D through diet.
Sunlight namely a source of vitamin D: Sunlight is an excellent source of vitamin D but is based on your geographic location. Overuse of sunscreen also prevents the formation of Vitamin D by skin.