Vitamins and infertility: How vitamin deficiency can cause fertility issues in men and women | Health - Hindustan Times
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Vitamins and infertility: How vitamin deficiency can cause fertility issues in men and women

ByZarafshan Shiraz, New Delhi
Apr 26, 2024 02:06 PM IST

PCOS in women is aggravated due to Vitamin D deficiency while for men, Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with reduced sperm quality and infertility.

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is also related to female reproductive complications, affecting 4%− 20% of women of reproductive age and is also aggravated due to Vitamin D deficiency while for men, vitamin deficiencies can also play an important role in fertility issues where Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with reduced sperm quality and infertility. Fertility issues in India are rising and are getting higher than ever but conceiving a child is a no less than a dream for a woman.

Vitamins and infertility: How vitamin deficiency can cause fertility issues in men and women (File Photo)
Vitamins and infertility: How vitamin deficiency can cause fertility issues in men and women (File Photo)

Research suggests that adequate levels of Vitamin D are essential for maintaining optimal sperm production and function. In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dt Reenu Dubey, Consultant Dietician at Motherhood Hospitals in Bangalore's Electronic City, shared, “There are many factors’ one needs to consider and take care that can affect their fertility. One of the most important factors affecting fertility in individuals is Vitamin deficiency.”

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She revealed a list of vitamins and how it can affect their fertility -

Vitamin D:

  • Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to various reproductive health issues, including infertility.
  • Research suggests that adequate levels of vitamin D are essential for the production of reproductive hormones in both men and women.
  • Low levels of vitamin D have been associated with decreased sperm motility and lower levels of testosterone in men, while in women, it can disrupt the menstrual cycle and impair ovarian function.

Vitamin B12:

  • Vitamin B12 plays a critical role in DNA synthesis and cellular metabolism, which are essential for reproductive health.
  • Deficiency in vitamin B12 has been linked to ovulatory dysfunction and irregular menstrual cycles in women.
  • In men, low levels of vitamin B12 have been associated with decreased sperm count and motility, potentially leading to male infertility.

Folic Acid (Vitamin B9):

  • Folic acid is essential for cell division and DNA synthesis, making it crucial for reproductive health and fetal development.
  • In women, inadequate levels of folic acid can lead to neural tube defects in newborns and increase the risk of miscarriage.
  • Additionally, folic acid deficiency has been linked to decreased sperm count and increased sperm abnormalities in men, affecting fertility.

Vitamin C:

  • Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect sperm cells from oxidative damage.
  • Low levels of vitamin C have been associated with decreased sperm quality, including reduced sperm motility and increased DNA damage.
  • In women, vitamin C deficiency may lead to impaired ovarian function and reduced fertility.

Bringing her expertise to the same, Dr M Rajini, Consultant Gynecologist at CARE Hospitals in Hyderabad's Banjara Hills, echoed that vitamin deficiencies can indeed have an impact on fertility, although the specific mechanisms can vary depending on the vitamin in question -

•Vitamin D: Low levels of vitamin D have been associated with infertility in both men and women. In men, vitamin D deficiency may lead to decreased sperm motility and concentration. In women, it may disrupt the menstrual cycle and interfere with hormone balance, potentially affecting ovulation.

•Vitamin C: Vitamin C is an antioxidant that plays a role in sperm health. Deficiency in vitamin C can lead to sperm damage due to increased oxidative stress, potentially reducing sperm count and motility.

•Vitamin E: Similar to vitamin C, vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps protect sperm from oxidative damage. Deficiency in vitamin E may lead to decreased sperm quality and fertility issues in men.

•Vitamin B12: Vitamin B12 deficiency has been linked to infertility in both men and women. In men, it may affect sperm production and quality. In women, it can disrupt ovulation and menstrual cycles, potentially leading to infertility.

•Folic Acid (Vitamin B9): Folic acid is crucial for fetal development and may also play a role in fertility. Deficiency in folic acid has been associated with ovulatory infertility in women and may increase the risk of miscarriage.

•Vitamin A: Vitamin A is essential for reproductive health in both men and women. Deficiency in vitamin A may disrupt the production of sex hormones and impair sperm and egg development, potentially leading to fertility issues.

•Vitamin B6: Vitamin B6 is involved in hormone regulation and may affect fertility. Deficiency in vitamin B6 can disrupt hormone balance in women, leading to irregular menstrual cycles and difficulty conceiving.

It's important to note that while vitamin deficiencies can contribute to fertility issues, they are often just one factor among many. Other factors such as age, overall health, lifestyle factors (such as diet and exercise) and underlying medical conditions can also influence fertility.

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