How the sunshine vitamin can help boost fertility
Couples trying for a baby should take a sunshine holiday – and not just because it may put them in a more romantic mood.
Sunlight boosts fertility in both men and women by increasing their levels of vitamin D, a study has found.
Known as the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D is also key to balancing sex hormones in women and improving sperm count in men, according to researchers.
The findings mean that some couples may be undergoing unnecessary and costly fertility treatment when spending time in the sun could be the answer.
For women, vitamin D helps boost levels of the female sex hormones progesterone and oestrogen by 13 per cent and 21 per cent respectively, regulating menstrual cycles and making conception more likely.
Fathers-to-be increase their fertility by going into the sun, too – because vitamin D is essential for the healthy development of each sperm’s nucleus.
It also increases levels of the male sex hormone testosterone, improving a man’s libido, according to the review of several studies, published this week in the European Journal of Endocrinology.
The vitamin’s effect on both male and female sex hormones may explain why conception rates fall in the winter and peak in the summer in Northern European countries, say the researchers at the Medical University of Graz in Austria.