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Vitamin D and female fertility

Lerchbaum, Elisabetha,b; Rabe, Thomasb

Current Opinion in Obstetrics & Gynecology: June 2014 - Volume 26 - Issue 3 - p 145–150
doi: 10.1097/GCO.0000000000000065
FERTILITY: Edited by Aydin Arici

Purpose of review: Apart from the well known effects of vitamin D on maintaining calcium homeostasis and promoting bone mineralization, there is some evidence suggesting that vitamin D also modulates human reproductive processes. We will review the most interesting and relevant studies on vitamin D and female fertility published over the past year.

Recent findings: In the past year, several observational studies reported a better in-vitro fertilization outcome in women with sufficient vitamin D levels (≥30 ng/ml), which was mainly attributed to vitamin D effects on the endometrium. One randomized controlled trial found an increased endometrial thickness in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) receiving vitamin D during intrauterine insemination cycles. Further, vitamin D supplementation had a beneficial effect on serum lipids in PCOS women. Vitamin D treatment improved endometriosis in a rat model and increased vitamin D intake was related to a decreased risk of incident endometriosis. Vitamin D was also favorably associated with primary dysmenorrhea, uterine leiomyoma, and ovarian reserve in late reproductive aged women.

Summary: In women undergoing in-vitro fertilization, a sufficient vitamin D level (≥30 ng/ml) should be obtained. Vitamin D supplementation might improve metabolic parameters in women with PCOS. A high vitamin D intake might be protective against endometriosis.

aDivision of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Internal Medicine, Medical University of Graz, Graz, Austria

bUniversity Women's Hospital, Heidelberg, Germany

Correspondence to Elisabeth Lerchbaum, MD, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Internal Medicine, Medical University of Graz, Auenbruggerplatz 15, 8036 Graz, Austria. Tel: +43 316 385 12383; fax: +43 316 385 13428; e-mail: elisabeth.lerchbaum@medunigraz.at

© 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins