Jamie Schneider is the Beauty & Wellness Editor at mindbodygreen, covering beauty and wellness. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare.
Vitamin D affects an array of functions in the body—immunity, neurological function, cardiometabolic health, and more.* It only makes sense that this essential, multitasking micronutrient would have a stake in fertility as well. And not just for women—male fertility is becoming a hot discussion, after all (we even wrote a whole Wellness Trend about it!), and vitamin D supplementation can play a large role in men's reproductive function.*
Just take it from mbg's director of scientific affairs, Ashley Jordan Ferira, Ph.D., RDN: On the mindbodygreen podcast, she calls vitamin D and fertility a very leading-edge (and promising) area of research.
How your vitamin D status can affect fertility.
The field is still growing, says Ferira, but the available research we do have looks pretty compelling. In terms of male fertility: "It turns out the quality of semen and the ability of sperm to swim is dependent on vitamin D status,"* she notes. "There was a 2021 study in the 1World Journal of Men's Health1 that discusses how even erectile function relies directly on vitamin D," and another 2017 study showed that vitamin D was positively associated with sperm motility2 (or the ability for sperm to swim).*
As for women, research shows vitamin D deficiency may impact fertility outcomes in women3 (and for what it's worth, almost half the population4 of the U.S. is insufficient and almost one-third are deficient). Plus, vitamin D status is important during pregnancy: Healthy levels are linked to babies' birth weight, healthy teeth, and cognition5.*
Can supplements help?
Vitamin D insufficiency and deficiency are pretty common in this country (and worldwide), and you can always test your own blood levels with a 25(OH)D lab (if it reads less than 30 ng/ml, that means you're clinically insufficient). Meanwhile, the solution to correct inadequate vitamin D status in this nation (and globally) is not elusive.
Science and clinical expertise indicate that a 25(OH)D level of 50 ng/ml plus is the optimal goal for sufficiency, which is difficult to achieve through food and sunshine alone—that's where high-quality vitamin D3 supplements come into play; specifically, the latest research suggests 5,000 IU of D3 per day is the most effective supplement dose.*
But you don't just want healthy vitamin D levels during conception, pregnancy, or any other specific time frame to bump you back up to the sufficient range (a concept Ferira calls "yo-yoing"); you want to maintain healthy vitamin D status for life, and a targeted daily supplement can make that goal a reality.*
As Ferira declares, "Vitamin D sufficiency doesn't just mean you're meeting a 25(OH)D level or cutoff. It means your bones, muscles, immune cells, brain, heart, liver, gut, reproductive organs, and many more cells, tissues, and organs have this critical nutrient available in adequate quantities to bind to vitamin D receptors and promote calcium and phosphorus balance, bone mineralization, muscle strength, immune function, cardiometabolic health, and more."*
This fat-soluble vitamin is that whole-body relevant and important on the daily.* The link between vitamin D and fertility is a growing one, but vitamin D is crucial for so many functions in the body—including, yes, your reproductive organs.* That said, a healthy vitamin D status can support key aspects of both female and male fertility, and we believe the most effective way to reach that goal is with a daily supplement.*
Jamie Schneider is the Beauty & Wellness Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare. In her role at mbg, she reports on everything from the top beauty industry trends, to the gut-skin connection and the microbiome, to the latest expert makeup hacks. She currently lives in New York City.