Dr. Gleaton gives us a breakdown of what AMH is, what your AMH level can tell you, and how vitamin D may (or may not) make a difference.
By OBGYN and fertility expert Dr. Kenosha Gleaton
There is emerging, albeit conflicting, evidence suggesting vitamin D is associated with AMH (anti-müllerian hormone) levels. Let’s look at the data.
A review of AMH
AMH is a hormone expressed by granulosa cells of the ovary during a woman’s reproductive years. A gradual increase in AMH levels is observed in girls from the first day of life, with maximum levels observed in women at around the age of 25. It’s also important to note that AMH levels can be two to three times higher for women with PCOS. In adult women, AMH levels gradually decline as the primordial follicle pool declines with age, becoming undetectable at menopause.
AMH is not predictive of your chances of conceiving naturally, and certainly does not define your fertility. What AMH does tell us for women undergoing IVF is that AMH levels may correlate with the number of oocytes (eggs) retrieved after stimulation and can help predict ovarian response.
Vitamin D and AMH
We know that vitamin D alters AMH signaling, FSH sensitivity, and progesterone production and release, which means it could possibly play a role in ovarian follicular development and luteinization. But more research is needed to truly understand the relationship between the two, and if vitamin D supplementation can impact pregnancy rates.
Is vitamin D linked to AMH levels? Studies suggest yes
Vitamin D is rightfully known as the sunshine vitamin because it's produced in your skin in response to sunlight. One cross-sectional study showed that for women with PCOS, AMH and vitamin D levels peaked during the summer months. However, for women without PCOS, vitamin D peaked in the summer while AMH remained the same. Thus vitamin D is independently associated with AMH.
Benefits of taking vitamin D
A potential link to AMH isn’t the only benefit of vitamin D supplementation. Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin and is beneficial for healthy teeth, bones, and immune function. Vitamin D may also help you get pregnant faster! Some research shows higher vitamin D levels may improve fertility and shorten the time it takes to get pregnant.
For those undergoing ART (assisted reproductive technology) a small controlled study found that meeting baseline levels of vitamin D may increase the chances of getting pregnant by over 40%, and makes you about a third more likely to have a live birth than women with lower vitamin D levels.
The bottom line
Even if AMH levels are increased through vitamin D supplements, remember that AMH is just one indicator of ovarian reserve (how many eggs you have left), but has nothing to do with the quality (or genetic health) of your eggs—which is actually far more important when it comes to getting pregnant. Although this correlation is promising, there are no definitively proven ways to increase your AMH level. Luckily, vitamin D has many other benefits, so it can’t hurt to try!