The findings of the research published in the journal The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology revealed that women are 10 percent more likely to conceive if their vitamin D levels are sufficient, adding that they are also 15 percent more likely to have a live birth.
Lead author Dr Sunni Mumford, from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Maryland, said, “Our findings suggest that vitamin D may play a protective role in pregnancy.”
The results also revealed that for every 10ng/ml increase in vitamin D level before becoming pregnant, women are 12 percent less likely to miscarry.
They analysed around 1,200 pregnant women who had previously suffered a miscarriage. Blood samples were taken to determine the women’s vitamin D levels before they became pregnant and eight weeks into their gestation.
The researchers believe further studies are required to determine whether providing women who are at risk of miscarrying with vitamin D increases their chances of conceiving or having a live birth.
Vitamins play a very important important role in the growth, development and proper functioning of the body. Vitamins are of different types and some are water-soluble whiles others are fat-soluble. Vitamin D is an example of a fat-soluble vitamin whose major function is to enhance the intestinal absorbtion of calcium, manganese and phosphorus.
You can get vitamin D in three ways: through your skin, from your diet, and from supplements. Your body forms vitamin D naturally after exposure to sunlight. However, too much sun exposure can lead to skin aging and skin cancer. So, many people try to get their vitamin D from other sources.
Vitamin D-rich foods include egg yolks, saltwater fish, and liver. Some other foods, like milk and cereal, often have added vitamin D.
Other health benefits of vitamin D
For healthy bones
Vitamin D plays a substantial role in the regulation of calcium and maintenance of phosphorus levels in the blood, two factors that are extremely important for maintaining healthy bones.
Reduced risk of flu
Children given 1,200 International Units of vitamin D per day for 4 months during the winter reduced their risk of influenza A infection by over 40 percent.
Reduced risk of diabetes
Several observational studies have shown an inverse relationship between blood concentrations of vitamin D in the body and risk of type 2 diabetes. In people with type 2 diabetes, insufficient vitamin D levels may negatively effect insulin secretion and glucose tolerance. In one particular study, infants who received 2,000 International Units per day of vitamin D had an 88 percent lower risk of developing type 1 diabetes by the age of 32.
Children with normal blood pressure who were given 2,000 International Units (IU) per day had significantly lower arterial wall stiffness after 16 weeks compared with children who were given only 400 IU per day.
Low vitamin D status has also been associated with a higher risk and severity of atopic childhood diseases and allergic diseases, including asthma, atopic dermatitis, and eczema. Vitamin D may enhance the anti-inflammatory effects of glucocorticoids, making it potentially useful as a supportive therapy for people with steroid-resistant asthma.
Pregnant women who are deficient in vitamin D seem to be at greater risk of developing preeclampsia and needing a cesarean section. Poor vitamin D status is associated with gestational diabetes mellitus and bacterial vaginosis in pregnant women. It is also important to note that high vitamin D levels during pregnancy were associated with an increased risk of food allergy in the child during the first 2 years of life.
Vitamin D is extremely important for regulating cell growth and for cell-to-cell communication. Some studies have suggested that calcitriol (the hormonally active form of vitamin D) can reduce cancer progression by slowing the growth and development of new blood vessels in cancerous tissue, increasing cancer cell death, and reducing cell proliferation and metastases. Vitamin D influences more than 200 human genes, which could be impaired when we do not have enough vitamin D.