Fertility & Natural Family Planning

Understanding natural fertility, infertility, and related moral and social issues.

Sunny Secret: Get a Tan, Get… Healthy!?


Our next all natural fertility helper is… the sun!

Okay, not quite.  It’s actually the nutrient, vitamin D3, made by our skin after sun exposure.  It is disease fighting and vital for good health.  Not getting enough has been linked to autoimmune disorders, pre-term birth, cancer, osteoporosis, and recently there has been evidence of a connection between infertility and vitamin D3 deficiency.  In one study, within a sample of women struggling with infertility, it was discovered that only 7% of them had adequate levels of vitamin D.  There also appears to be a link between vitamin D and ovulatory dysfunction.

Why aren’t we getting enough?

  1. It is almost impossible to get enough Vitamin D from food sources alone.
  2. We wear lots of sunscreen, which impedes UVB rays.
  3. Most of us work inside during the day.
  4. Pollution (& clouds) reduce UVB rays.
  5. Depending on where we live and the time of year, there may not be enough UVB rays available during the day.

How to increase your D3 levels

  1. Get more sun!  Preferably about 20 minutes of midday sun a couple days of week, sans sunscreen and with some skin exposed.
  2. If getting more sun isn’t going to happen, then you may want to take supplements.  The daily recommend intake can be found here.  However, according to this study it may not be enough.  I have read that there is discussion about upping the daily recommended dosage.  If you happen to be deficient, it is likely that you may be directed to take a much higher dosage for a time to get your levels up depending on your situation.
  3. You can get some vitamin D from fortified foods, like milk and cereal.  The following are natural food sources:
  • Fatty fish (salmon, tuna, sardines, catfish, etc.)
  • Eggs
  • Beef liver
  • Fish liver oils
  • The only vegan dietary source of Vitamin D are mushrooms and UV irradiated yeast.
To keep in mind…

  1. People with darker complexions need more time in the sun than those with lighter skin tones to produce the same amount of Vitamin D.
  2. If you, or someone you know, are suffering from infertility or an ovulation disorder, ask your doctor to check your levels with a blood test.
  3. We need vitamin D to absorb calcium.
  4. There is a difference between vitamin D2 and D3.  Look for D3.
  5. Adequate vitamin D levels are critical during pregnancy, and some say even pre-conception.

Want more information?


6 thoughts on “Sunny Secret: Get a Tan, Get… Healthy!?

  1. Ah the sunshine! Who knew it was so important for so many things? Perhaps I had a feeling and that is what brought me to the desert.

  2. Hey Girl, Love the picture! Great writing! I love it!

  3. Where was this picture taken? It can only be in 2 places in california. Please let me know. Thanks!

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