A study of 340 men in Copenhagen, Denmark found that Vitamin D, boosts the quality of sperm. In the presence of higher concentrations of Vitamin D, sperm were found to be better at swimming toward the egg, had greater speed and were more penetrative.
Researchers at the University of Copenhagen tested the quality of sperm from 300 men chosen at random and carried out a detailed analysis of semen samples from a further 40 in the laboratory. Vitamin D levels were assessed at the same time.
Almost half of the men who were tested had insufficient levels of Vitamin D, being less than 20ng/ml (50 nmol/l). The authors of the study considered levels above 30ng/ml (75 nmol/l) to be optimal. However, many Vitamin D experts now believe that optimal levels are in excess of 50ng/ml.
Men with insufficient levels of Vitamin D were found to have much lower numbers of healthy sperm compared to those with adequate Vitamin D levels. Vitamin D serum levels correlated positively with sperm motility and progressive motility (P < 0.05), and men with Vitamin D deficiency had a lower proportion of motile (P = 0.027), progressive motile (P = 0.035) and morphologically normal spermatozoa (P = 0.044) compared with men with higher Vitamin D.
In addition, the chemical process known as the acrosome, which is needed to fertilize the egg was also shown to be hindered in those with low Vitamin D levels.
Tests conducted in the laboratory resulted in similar findings. Vitamin D deficiency in rodents results in impaired fertility, low sperm counts and a low number of motile spermatozoa.
The findings, published in the journal Human Reproduction, back up previous research linking Vitamin D to sperm production, and might explain why many couples seem to conceive on, or shortly after a holiday in the sun.
(1) Vitamin D is positively associated with sperm motility and increases intracellular calcium in human spermatozoa. Hum. Reprod. (2011) 26 (6): 1307-1317. Bloomberg Jensen et al
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