The Top 5 Reasons Vitamin D Makes Women Bulletproof

By: Dave Asprey
May 31, 2012

Vitamin D is a crucial nutrient for everyone and one that many people aren’t getting enough of. But there are some specific ways vitamin D can boost energy and help balance hormones in women. Regardless of your age, your activity level, or whether or not you have children, learn more about this critical nutrient, how it may affect your energy and your brain, and how vitamin d benefits women differently than men.

Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency

Vitamin D deficiency is one of the best ways to sabotage your health. But vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy can be detrimental to both mother and baby.[1] In fact, research shows that levels below 25 hydroxyvitamin D in pregnant women are associated with “adverse” outcomes in the mother, her fetus, and the baby even after birth.[2]

Related: The Benefits of Vitamin D and How to Find the Right Dose

Symptoms in pregnant women

  • Infertility
  • Preeclampsia
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Increased rate of C-section
  • Bacterial vaginosis

Symptoms for baby

  • Small size (low birth weight)
  • Impaired growth
  • Skeletal malformations, and sometimes brittle bones
  • Seizures
  • Hypocalcemia (low bone density)
  • Type-1 Diabetes

For both mother and baby

  • Bone loss
  • Hip fractures
  • Suppressed immune response
  • Impaired hormone formation
  • Poor mood and agitated thoughts
  • Insulin resistance

This isn’t meant to scare anyone, but instead to highlight the importance of this crucial nutrient! Because of our indoor lifestyles and use of sunscreen, it’s almost impossible for modern, city-dwelling humans to process enough vitamin D from the sun.

You can learn more about dosage from your doctor and in this post, but for now, let’s explore all the benefits for both mother and child of keeping those vitamin D levels high and healthy.

5 benefits of getting enough vitamin D for women

1. Increase your fertility

Estrogen dominance is one of the main causes of infertility and the root of a laundry list of symptoms and hormone-related disease in women. A study in 2010 showed that high doses of vitamin D lowered estradiol (one type of estrogen) and progesterone.[3]

High estrogen levels can make conception a nightmare. In one rat study, vitamin D deficiency decreased fertility by 75%.[4]

Supplementing with vitamin D doesn’t just increase your chances of conceiving naturally,[5] it may also improve your success with in-vitro fertilization.[6]

If you’re pregnant or trying to get pregnant, be sure to get your vitamin D levels tested and work with a trusted practitioner to find the dose that’s right for you. If you’re looking to increase fertility and balance your hormones, a good place to start for supplementation would be 1000 IU of D3 per day for every 25lbs of body weight, as per The Vitamin D Council’s recommendations. If you want to supplement more accurately, test and re-test your vitamin D levels.

2. Prevent breast cancer

Seventy percent of women with breast cancer are vitamin D deficient.[7] And among the other benefits of vitamin D for women, it has been shown to prevent breast cancer cell growth and decrease the expression of cancer-causing genes.[8]

JoEllen Welsh, a researcher with the State University of New York at Albany, has studied the effects of vitamin D for 25 years. She believes vitamin D may be just as powerful as the most modern anti-cancer drugs.

“Vitamin D enters the cells and triggers the cell death process. It’s similar to what we see when we treat cells with Tamoxifen, a drug used to treat breast cancer.”

Breast cancer risk drops by 30% when vitamin D levels reach just 40 ng/mL, a relatively low level.[9] Observational data suggests that just 2000 IU/day of vitamin D per day can reduce the incidence of breast cancer by 50%.[10] Another study showed that 800IU/day of vitamin D may be associated with enhanced survival rates among breast cancer cases.[11] And it’s not just good for beating breast cancer. Improving vitamin D, along with calcium levels, has also been shown to decrease the risk of all cancers in post-menopausal women.[12]

3. Build stronger bones

During pregnancy, the mother needs calcium for both her skeleton and the baby’s. Without vitamin D, calcium won’t be absorbed in the hard tissues like bone and teeth. This can cause bone loss and severe osteopenia for both the mother and the child. Vitamin D has also been shown to increase the absorption of calcium from food.

Brittle bones are thought of as an unavoidable consequence of aging.In 2007, researchers found that vitamin D deficient women were 77% more likely to suffer a hip fracture.[13] But you can likely avoid losing bone density with adequate vitamin D levels. Giving elderly women vitamin D can increase life expectancy by 6% (or two years).[14]

4. Support your immune system

Vitamin D supports the “killer cells” of your immune system.[15] These are important for seeking out and destroying pathogens.

These “killer cells” lie dormant around your body until they’re needed to fend off an invader are activated only when you need them.

Vitamin D is one of the most important ingredients for these signals. Vitamin D plays a role in the cell’s ability to go into alert mode and tells the cell to calm down when the job is done. If your “killer cells” continue to rampage through your body, they can cause collateral damage and may contribute to autoimmune disorders.

Most cases of infertility are connected in some way to autoimmune disease, which is a disaster whether you’re pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or have no interest in pregnancy.

5. Avoid Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is a hormone disorder common in menstruating-age women. The most common symptoms are weight gain, acne, facial hair growth and infertility. Most women with PCOS are deficient in vitamin D. One study shows correlations between low vitamin D levels, insulin resistance, and inflammation, all of which contribute to PCOS.[16]

Are you getting enough vitamin D?

Not likely.

In one study, 93% of women with infertility were vitamin D deficient.[17] In 2006, a study showed that two-thirds of women are vitamin D deficient.[18]

Sun exposure, skin color, location, and even omega-3 fatty acid balance can influence your vitamin D levels.  A Bulletproof diet will help ensure you get as much as possible, but testing and supplementation is wise. Again, the Vitamin D council recommends you take a minimum of 1000 IU per 25 pounds of body weight, and that is what my wife and I do.

Vitamin D should be a staple supplement for everyone, especially women.  If you want to get pregnant – it’s essential.

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