Vitamin D deficiency, as studies have shown, is one of the leading dietary deficiencies worldwide. It is especially predominate among women and children. Deficiency of vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is especially important in this regard. Through conversion to its active form 1, 25 dihydroxycholecalciferol, it helps to regulate calcium and phosphate metabolisms in the body. Vitamin D is of special importance in women of reproductive age and in pregnant ladies. Let us see how.
Vitamin D deficiency affects every 1 out of 4 women in the reproductive years of 19 to 45. Vitamin D3 is imperative for a healthy pregnancy and for normal development of the fetus. Vitamin D maintains normal serum levels of Calcium and phosphate, which are essential for
- Maintenance of normal bone density
- Normal muscle activity
- Cardiac contractility
- Gastrointestinal motility
- Neuronal activity
- Vascular functions
- Cellular growth and proliferation
- Immune responses
In addition to these, a myriad of other activities are dependent upon normal calcium metabolism by vitamin D along with calcitonin and Parathyroid Hormone (PTH). In women, vitamin D deficiency can lead to multiple disorders like
- Insulin resistance
- Gravitational diabetes (pregnancy induced)
- Bacterial vaginosis
- Increased in the risk of C-sectional delivery
- Depressive disorders
- Increased risk of fractures, particularly hip fracture
- Increased risk of infections due to depressed immune system
- Hormonal irregularities
HOW VITAMIN D IMRPOVES INFERTILITY?
Vitamin D receptors have been found in human sperms, ovaries and placenta. Vitamin D, therefore, affects sperm motility and implantation. It also needed for normal ovulation. It also enhances the receptivity of uterus for implantation. Normal levels of vitamin D are essential for successful conception and implantation via in vitro fertilization.
Another process through which vitamin D aids fertilization is by lowering the levels of estradiol and progesterone as high levels of estrogen have been related to infertility. By strengthening the immune system, vitamin D also improves infertility cases due to auto-immune disorders. It also protects the body against Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), which is one of the leading causes of infertility in women.
Thus normal serum concentration of vitamin D helps women in getting pregnant. Statistics have shown that 93% of the women with infertility issues suffer from vitamin D deficiency.
OTHER BENEFITS OF VITAMIN D IN WOMEN
- Vitamin D also protects against the breast cancer by causing down regulation of genes involved in carcinogenesis. It causes apoptosis of cancerous cells and thus, is an important part of anti-cancer regimes.
- By strengthening the bones, vitamin D significantly lowers the risk of bone fractures.
- Vitamin D boosts the immunity and thus, protects against infections and prevents inflammatory disorders.
- By regulating the levels of hormones in the body, vitamin D prevents insulin resistance and gestational diabetes.
Vitamin D supplementation and sunlight exposure are recommended in such women as vitamin D helps regulate calcium levels not only in women but also in the developing fetus. In the babies, it helps in normal development of skeleton and teeth. A dietary intake of 1000 IU per 25 pounds of body weight is, therefore, recommended to protect against the adverse effects of vitamin D deficiency, especially in women of reproductive age.
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