Vitamin D levels affect sperm quality in men trying for a baby
It has long been felt by experts in the field that men’s health is just as important as women’s when a couple are trying to conceive. Recent research has been investigating the effects of vitamin D deficiency on a man’s ability to successfully conceive with his partner.
One study considered what a deficiency in vitamin D did to male mice when they were mated with females. The study took mice with purposefully decreased levels of vitamin D and focused on whether this resulted in infertility. It also looked at the effect of this in relation to the levels of calcium and phosphorus in each of the mice, using an ordinary diet for one group and a ‘rescue’ diet for the other, which adjusted levels of calcium and phosphorus in the subjects to expected or average levels.
The male mice were mated with females on the same diet as themselves at 6-12 weeks. The study examined tissue and molecules from both male and female mice to ascertain the fertility efficiency of the females and the reproductive traits of the males.
It was found that the male mice on the normal diet did suffer from infertility. Their sperm count was significantly lowered and the speed of their movement was slowed. The production of sperms cells was lower and the sperm cell death speed was also increased. However, those mice on the rescue diet who had normal levels of calcium and phosphorus did not have the same results. In these mice the results were reversed, leaving them no less able to reproduce than usual.
The study concluded that although a vitamin D deficiency could be linked to infertility, the effects of this were very much dependent on the levels of calcium and phosphorus in the body. If these level were altered or controlled, the negative effects of lower vitamin D levels in the mice disappeared.
New study shows men with low vitamin D levels have lower pregnancy rates
It has long been acknowledged that vitamin D plays a role in the success rate of reproduction in couples. A further study in 2015 focused on how much of a role vitamin D played in decreasing a couple’s chance of conception.
Couples were divided into two groups, depending on the levels of vitamin D in the male partners: those with above 30 nanograms per millilitre were in one group and those with below 30, the other. The study analysed male semen in both groups, focusing on its viability in relation to the World Health Organisation criteria. The study used gonadotropin to induce a single monthly ovulation in the females, to ensure the best possible chance of conceiving a stable pregnancy. The study then looked at the pregnancy rate, delivery per patient and rate of miscarriage in both groups.
The results showed no real difference in the levels of sperm or their ability to move at speed in either of the groups. Despite this, the pregnancy and delivery rates were significantly higher in the group with normal levels of vitamin D. This shows that a relationship does exist between vitamin D levels in the male partner when attempting to conceive, and further suggests that those with lower levels may have more difficulty in creating a pregnancy.
See other articles on Fertility:
See other articles on Vitamin D: