30 May 2011
Vitamin D puts a rocket under sperm motility
by George Atkinson
Scientists already knew that vitamin D levels were important for fertility in various animals, but now Danish researchers from Copenhagen University have shown it is also vital in humans.
The study, published in the journal Human Reproduction, was conducted with 300 subjects and showed a positive correlation between the percentage of motile sperm and vitamin D levels. Additionally, it showed that stimulation of human spermatozoa in the laboratory with activated vitamin D can increase their forward movement.
The researchers don't want to get too excited, however. "Our study should not be used to change existing treatment practices. However, it uncovers some of the functions of vitamin D and generates new hypotheses. This is an intriguing finding, because it suggests that vitamin D has an effect on sperm movement and function," explained Martin Blomberg Jensen.
The study notes that poor semen quality often has a fetal origin similar to some male genital malformations and testicular cancer. However, the new findings suggest that factors in adult life may also play a role in determining semen quality.
"It is important to find all factors of importance, because semen quality in Danish men is at a low level and contributing to a very high incidence of fertility problems among Danish couples," says co-researcher Anders Juul. He adds that there is a need to conduct placebo-controlled trials to clarify whether vitamin D supplements are beneficial for infertile men in a real-world setting.
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Source: University of Copenhagen