Vitamin D and its Potential Role in Regulating Ovarian Reserve
Vitamin D has some very well established roles in the human body to support optimal health. For Canadians in particular, where a vast majority of the population becomes Vitamin D deficient during the winter months, supplementation with Vitamin D can be used to help support the immune system, boost your mood, and help with energy/fatigue.
But when it comes to fertility, the role of Vitamin D to help support IVF success and regulate the production of sex hormones (steroidogenesis) in the adrenal gland, the research is ongoing. A recent study evaluated the effect of Vitamin D supplementation on Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH).
AMH is used as an indicator of Ovarian Reserve. As age increases, the concentration of AMH in the blood and in the ovary decreases. This leads to accelerated development of more follicles and depletion of the ovary's reserve of eggs. AMH has a modulatory effect on follicle development, while its role is complex, it appears that it slows down the development of follicles and helps to maintain ovarian reserve.
In the study, participants took a very high single dose of Vitamin D (50, 000 IU) in the first week of the menstrual cycle, and the blood was monitored for changes in the concentration of AMH. After 7 days of taking the Vitamin D there was an average increase in the concentration of AMH by about 12.9%. Those with a lower baseline AMH before taking the Vitamin D seemed to have the biggest increases in AMH, while those who already had normal levels of AMH did not appear to have as much of an increase in AMH levels.
While AMH is used as a predictor for Ovarian Reserve, it is not always 100% accurate. It still is not clear if increasing AMH with Vitamin D supplementation directly leads to improved egg quality or the rate of depletion of ovarian reserve.
There were no reports of negative adverse effects from the Vitamin D supplementation in the patient group.
This article is in no way a replacement for medical advice or medical care, it is advised that anyone concerned about their Health should speak with their Naturopathic Doctor or Primary Care Provider.
1. Dennis, N., Houghton, L., Pankhurst, M., Harper, M., & Mclennan, I. (2017). Acute Supplementation with High Dose Vitamin D3 Increases Serum Anti-Müllerian Hormone in Young Women. Nutrients,9(7), 719.