The effect of vitamin D on women’s reproductive health

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Background. According to WHO data (2014), more than two billion people are deficient in microelements or have a “hidden hunger” due to the deficiencies of vitamins and minerals. Currently, experts estimate the vitamin D deficiency as a new type of pandemic of the XXI century.

Aim. The current analysis was undertaken to evaluate the effect of vitamin D on women’s reproductive health.

Materials and Methods. Based on the findings of retrospective and prospective studies, meta-analyzes, and material trials over the past 20 years, as well as in accordance with the results of 290 prospective cohort randomized trials, the level of vitamin D affects 172 basic physiological indicators associated with the risk of such complications of pregnancy as miscarriage, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes mellitus, and bacterial vaginosis.

Results. Vitamin D has been shown to be able to act as an immune regulator during the implantation. The placenta produces and responds to vitamin D, which has a local anti-inflammatory response and simultaneously induces the production of decidual growth factors for successful pregnancy. Activated T- and B-lymphocytes have the vitamin D receptors and therefore 1,25(OH)2D is an effective modulator in the immune system. It is able to inhibit the proliferation of Th1 and to restrict the production of such cytokines as interferon-gamma (IFN-γ), interleukin-2 (IL-2), and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α). In addition, vitamin D is able to induce cytokines of Th2 that have the protective effect on  pregnancy.

Conclusion. Adequate vitamin D intake is important for the successful conception and prolongation of pregnancy, as well as for the health of the fetus and newborn.

Margarita O. Bakleicheva

Research Institute of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductology named after D.O. Ott

Author for correspondence.

Russian Federation, Saint Petersburg

Resident Physicia

Irina V. Kovaleva

Scandinavia Clinic


Russian Federation, Saint Petersburg


Olesya N. Bespalova

Research Institute of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductology named after D.O. Ott


Russian Federation, Saint Petersburg

MD, PhD, DSci (Medicine), Deputy Director for Research

Igor Yu. Kogan

Research Institute of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductology named after D.O. Ott


Russian Federation, Saint Petersburg

MD, PhD, DSci (Medicine), Professor, Corresponding Member of RAS, Interim Director

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Supplementary files

Supplementary Files Action
1. Fig. 1. Synthesis and metabolism of vitamin D in the body [10] View (117KB) Indexing metadata
2. Fig. 2. Vitamin D mechanism of action [10]. 1,25(OH)2D — active form of vitamin D calcitriol; VDR — receptor for vitamin D; RXR — retinoid X-receptor; VDRE — the connection of the VDR-RXR complex with the corresponding region of the genome and the triggering of gene transcription mechanisms followed by translation of the corresponding protein molecules; PI3K, phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase; PKC, protein kinase C. Genomic and non-genomic responses of vitamin D receptor binding to 1,25(OH)2D. In the genomic response, 1,25(OH)2D binds to the nuclear vitamin D receptor (VDR). Heterodimerization of the VDR with the retinoid X receptor (RXR) and binding to vitamin D response elements (VDREs) in the promoters of target genes affects transcription, usually by increasing transcription, and generating downstream biological responses. In the non-genomic response pathway, binding of 1,25(OH)2D to VDR associated with caveolae of the plasma membrane activates one or more second messenger systems to elicit rapid responses View (158KB) Indexing metadata
3. Fig. 3. Risks for mother and fetus in case of vitamin D deficiency (25(OH)D content <32 ng/ml) during pregnancy and after childbirth View (180KB) Indexing metadata


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