January 27, 2017

Vitamin D Deficiency Knows No Boundaries

Vitamin D Deficiency

It seems the Vitamin D deficiency knows no boundaries – racial, ethnic or geographic. One of the roles of Vitamin D in our cells is to be involved in Calcium regulation. Calcium-Vitamin D can be gatekeepers in intricate molecular pathways that turn on and turn off important processes. It can be compared to a Rube Goldberg Machine (think the kid’s game Mousetrap).

Vitamin D first commanded attention when thinking about bone mineral density-especially in the realm of osteoporosis and bone fracture. But, its role is not isolated to bone health. It is the on-off switch. However, on can be: bone health, cancer susceptibility and of course, reproduction.

Initially, studies in rats were the first to suggest that Vitamin D was important in the formation of reproductive organs (uterus, and ovary). When Vitamin D-deficient mice became pregnant, their pups grew poorly. But we are not mice.

In humans, Vitamin D receptors are present in the uterus the ovary and the placenta – suggesting that these are the sites affected (and impaired) by fluctuating levels. Vitamin D, when bound to its receptors (activates the on-off switch), estrogen is made. The active form of Vitamin D (calcitriol), is made by the endometrial lining and is involved in embryo implantation. The placenta then makes calcitriol and its absence may be part of the disease process of both gestational diabetes and hypertension – (think inflammation).

Currently, we cannot show a cause-effect in varying levels of Vitamin D. However, the link between Vitamin D status and infertility emerges. To this end, Vitamin D sufficiency is believed to be the ideal state to promote health throughout the life cycle.

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Related Blog:

Vitamin D Before Pregnancy

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Danielle Vitiello, Ph.D., M.D.

Danielle Vitiello, Ph.D., M.D. Board-Certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology, Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility