Back when I was trying to get pregnant with my first child, I didn't always pay attention to my nutrition. In fact, I wasn't even aware that taking supplemental vitamins before pregnancy was a thing! However, I was aware of that pesky little depression that would take over every so often, especially during the cloudy, cold months of winter. Then it hit me: what if my Seasonal Affective Disorder and fertility issues were related?
I asked my OB/GYN if she could check my bloodwork again to see if I had any vitamin deficiencies, and sure enough, my vitamin D levels were too low. She suggested that I take a high-quality vitamin D supplement regularly, and after only a few months of taking it, I felt happier, healthier and even became pregnant! Obviously, not everyone will magically conceive simply by taking extra vitamin D, but if you have a deficiency, it might just help.
Vitamin D helps beat the rainy day blues of Seasonal Affective Disorder by improving how well your body holds on to its stores of serotonin, the "good mood" hormone, but it could also hold the key for many women with fertility issues. In a study conducted by The University of North Carolina, supplemental vitamin D was shown to improve both mental functioning and reproduction. This study claims that without sufficient levels of vitamin D in the body, reproductive tissues were negatively effected and did not function at optimum levels. If you know that you already suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, consider looking more closely at your diet and bloodwork before spending a fortune on unnecessary fertility testing.
Sources of Vitamin D
Many women begin by taking the average daily requirement of 600 units of vitamin D, which you can likely find in a daily multivitamin. Supplementation for Seasonal Affective Disorder and fertility issues may require a slightly higher dose. However, before you start taking any vitamin supplement, especially vitamin D, always talk to your doctor first. She can let you know exactly how much vitamin D you should take for your specific condition. Certain people should not supplement with extra vitamin D, such as people who have kidney disease, lymphoma or atherosclerosis. Pregnant or lactating women should make sure to keep vitamin D levels below 4000 units per day. However, you can start including more foods high in vitamin D into your diet!
Our favorite vitamin D heavy foods include:
- Oily Fish: Look for fish high in omega 3 fatty acids, yet low in mercury content, like sardines, wild-caught salmon and white albacore tuna. A 4-ounce serving of wild-caught salmon will provide you with more than 120 percent of the average daily requirement of vitamin D.
- Dairy: If you like drinking milk, either on its own or over cereal, you will love knowing that an 8-ounce glass of milk contains more than 15 percent of the vitamin D you will need in one day.
- Eggs: Want to add more vitamin D into your diet? Try whipping up a breakfast omelet! Just one large egg contains more than 10 percent of your daily vitamin D requirements.
- Mushrooms: Toss a few button mushrooms into your pasta or soup and add in a little more vitamin D! A half cup of mushrooms will provide you with more than 5 percent of the vitamin D you need.
Remember, always check with your general doctor or OB/GYN before taking supplemental vitamin D. If it turns out that you need the extra supplementation, it might just help you to conceive. What a mood lifter!
To find out when you are most fertile, try our ovulation calculator.