The importance of vitamin D

Testing for vitamin D deficiency, thyroid problems and rubella immunity, and then acting on the results, is a good step to take to improve both male and female fertility and optimise your chances of conceiving.

The importance of vitamin D, thyroid health, and rubella immunity when trying to conceive

Trying to conceive can be a stressful and challenging time for some couples, especially as around 1 in 7 couples may struggle to get pregnant. A fertility health check can help you take back some control by providing you with key information about your health, particularly factors that we know can directly impact fertility, including your vitamin D levels, thyroid health, and rubella immunity.

Vitamin D and fertility

Vitamin D is not only essential for keeping bones and muscles healthy and for supporting immunity, it also regulates a number of important bodily functions, including those related to fertility. Both men and women seeking to conceive should pay close attention to their vitamin D levels, as research suggests a compelling connection between this essential nutrient and the ability to conceive.

In female fertility, vitamin D plays a pivotal role in the production of sex hormones and supports the menstrual cycle. Having good vitamin D levels can have a strong and positive impact on fertility, improving your chances of both conceiving and staying pregnant. Research shows that women with better vitamin D levels have reduced risk of miscarriage and better rates of conception during IVF.

In male fertility, vitamin D has been shown to have a positive impact on sperm health – particularly semen quality and motility.

Sources of vitamin D

The main source of vitamin D is sunlight, however it’s hard to get enough vitamin D from sunlight alone in the UK, particularly during autumn and winter. In fact, around 1 in 6 adults in the UK have low vitamin D levels as a result.

Some foods like eggs, oily fish, red meat and liver contain small amounts of vitamin D, but it is a good idea to increase your vitamin D intake with the help of dietary supplements.

Testing vitamin D levels

Testing your vitamin D levels will help to identify potential deficiencies. Armed with this knowledge, a qualified healthcare professional, such as a registered nutritional therapist, can help you in crafting a suitable and safe supplementation plan tailored to your individual needs.

Thyroid health and fertility

The thyroid, a butterfly-shaped gland at the base of the neck, secretes hormones that influence various bodily functions, including metabolism and reproductive health. TSH – or the Thyroid Stimulating Hormone – stimulates the thyroid to release these hormones.

Maintaining a delicate balance of thyroid hormones is crucial for reproductive health, as they influence menstrual regularity, ovulation, and the overall environment for a successful pregnancy. An undiagnosed thyroid condition can make it difficult to conceive, and it can also cause problems during pregnancy itself.

TSH levels

Your TSH levels are a sensitive indicator of thyroid function. Elevated or suppressed TSH levels can lead to irregular menstrual cycles, anovulation (when an egg is not released from your ovary during a menstrual cycle) and an increased risk of miscarriage.

A high level of TSH indicates an underactive thyroid. Women may have longer or heavier periods, which can cause anaemia, or your periods may stop completely. High TSH levels are also associated with a higher risk of miscarriage, and men’s fertility may also be affected.

A low level of TSH indicates an overactive thyroid. Women may have lighter, irregular periods and find it difficult to conceive, and in men it can cause a reduction in sperm count, resulting in reduced fertility.

Testing TSH levels

It is recommended that women intending to conceive undergo thyroid screening, which includes testing TSH levels. Monitoring TSH levels and addressing any abnormalities can significantly improve the likelihood of a successful pregnancy.
Rubella immunity and fertility
Catching rubella can be very serious for your baby if you catch it in the early stages of pregnancy. It can cause blindness and deafness in your unborn child, and can even result in losing the baby or having to consider a termination of your pregnancy.

The best protection against rubella is the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine. If you have not been vaccinated, you will need to be before you get pregnant. Most people are vaccinated as children, but if you are not sure whether you have been, confirm with your doctor or make sure you have a pre-pregnancy blood test to see if you are immune to the disease

Get in touch to learn more about preconception tests at LCRH

At LCRH, we conduct preconception tests to check your vitamin D levels, TSH levels, and rubella immunity, plus a full blood count. Alternatively, we may refer to your GP.

If you would like to learn more about preconception tests, please do not hesitate to contact the team at LCRH to make an appointment. We are more than happy to answer any questions you have about fertility and guide you on your journey to give you the best possible chance of conceiving.