SUPPLEMENTS: WHAT to take, WHY to take, WHEN to take
A Woman's Guide to Vitamins and Supplements
Vitamin D for Fertility and Bone Health
Most experts are in agreement about the importance of vitamin D when it comes to bone health and even immune function. And new research suggests it may boost fertility, too. In a recent study from Columbia University, white women with high levels of vitamin D were four times more likely to have a successful pregnancy through in vitro fertilization (IVF) than white women with low levels of vitamin D. However, the same did not hold true for women of other races. In fact, Asian women with high levels of vitamin D werelesslikely to get pregnant than their vitamin D-deficient peers. Researchers speculate that this may be due to ethnic differences in the gene for the vitamin D receptor or the enzyme that deactivates vitamin D.
In any case, there are a lot of differing opinions on how much, if any, vitamin D supplements should be taken — by anyone. "There is substantial disagreement among experts as to what the optimal level of vitamin D is," says Reid, who has conducted research in this area as well. "Probably most people living in a sunny climate who have pale skin and adhere to Western styles of dress do not need to take vitamin D supplements, except possibly during winter. Women who are veiled, those with very dark skin, or those living at very high latitude may become significantly vitamin D deficient and benefit from supplements." Although noting that some experts advocate very high levels of supplements, Reid says that "the safety and benefits associated with them have not been established, and we do not endorse them."
The bottom line:Take a blood test to determine if you're deficient in vitamin D. If you are, remember that vitamin D supplements have only been shown to be effective for bone health when taken with calcium, so plan your supplement routine accordingly.
Video: SUPPLEMENTS | how/when/why
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