Author: Missy Sturges
Missy Sturges is the Office Manager at Aria Integrative Health. Her passion for health and wellness was forged by her personal battle with an autoimmune disease. Although her journey to wellness took several years and was met with countless challenges along the way, Missy gained the skills to successfully manage her autoimmune condition holistically. This experience ultimately fueled Missy’s passion for integrative health. Missy obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition, and dedicated four years after college as the Executive Director of a non-profit where she focused on empowering the public to take a proactive approach to their health. Missy was introduced to Aria Integrative Health after moving to Denver from California in 2018. She feels lucky to witness the positive effects the Aria team has on people’s lives on a daily basis. Missy is responsible for strategic planning, program implementation, front office management, and website administration.

Male Infertility: Can Vitamin D Improve Pregnancy Success?

Consider this scenario: You and your partner are ready to start a family. However, after a year of failed attempts to conceive, you decide to visit a fertility specialist to determine what is preventing your family from growing. The tests come back. You or your partner are diagnosed as infertile.

Unfortunately, this is the reality that over 5 million people face within the United States alone. In addition, according to a new study, male infertility is on the rise. Researchers from this study found sperm counts have declined by nearly 60% over the last 40 years among European, North American and Australian men.

Vitamin D And Pregnancy

Vitamin D has developed a reputation for benefiting sexual health; however, is there any merit behind the puns? It turns out, there is.  Research suggests vitamin D status indeed plays an important role in reproductive health. In fact, vitamin D status has been linked with sexual function,  testosterone levels and fertility. In addition, studies have found vitamin D deficiency is more prevalent among men with low semen production, quality and motility, along with lower inhibin B levels.

Embryologist Kez Emeny explained the relevance of inhibin B status on male fertility:

“Inhibin B levels reflect testicular function and Sertoli cell function. Inhibin B levels are reduced in men with infertility problems compared with fertile men. Studies show that inhibin B levels are a more sensitive marker of male factor infertility than other hormones.”

RCT Evaluates Relationship Between Vitamin D And Male Fertility

In an effort to determine whether vitamin D supplementation may improve semen quality and hormonal imbalances among infertile men, researchers from Denmark conducted a triple blinded, randomized controlled trial. Men were included in the study if they were part of a couple diagnosed with infertility due to impaired semen quality, had vitamin D levels below 20 ng/ml (50 nmol/l) and did not have any serious secondary diseases.

Vitamin D3 For Men

A total of 307 individuals participated in this study. The participants provided two semen samples for analysis, as well as received a blood draw at baseline. The men were randomly assigned to either receive a single dose of 300,000 IU vitamin D3 along with a daily dose of 1,400 IU vitamin D3 and 500 mg of calcium for 150 days, or receive two received a single oil based placebo, followed by a placebo pill for 150 days.

Here is what the researchers found:

  • Average baseline vitamin D status was 14 ng/ml (35 nmol/l).
  • The vitamin D group experienced a 17.2 ng/ml (43 nmol/l) increase in 25(OH)D compared to the 2 ng/ml increase in the placebo group (p < 0.001).
  • There were no cases of vitamin D toxicity.
  • A total of 7.3% of the couples in the vitamin D group achieved pregnancy without assistance from physician; whereas only 2.4% became pregnant in the placebo group.
  • In a subgroup analysis of men with low sperm count (oligozoospermia), the chances of a live birth increased to 35.6% in the vitamin D group, compared to 18.3% in the placebo group (p = 0.04).
  • Serum inhibin B levels were 49 pg/ml higher among the vitamin D group compared to the placebo group (p = 0.021).
  • Serum inhibin B/FSH ratio changes were positively associated with changes in vitamin D status over the 5-month period (p = 0.038).
  • Sperm count tended to be higher in the vitamin D group compared to the placebo group, though this did not reach significance (p = 0.07).

Vitamin D And Pregnancy: Summary

Due to the safety of vitamin D supplementation, along with its proven impact on reproductive health among both men and women, the team at Aria Integrative Health recommends supplementing with 5,000-10,000 IU (125- 250 mcg) of vitamin D3 per day in order to maintain optimal status (40-60 ng/ml; 100-150 nmol/l).

We offer a range of services in regards to optimizing reproductive health and sexual function in both men and women. Contact us to learn how we can help ensure your health needs are being met!


Jensen, M., MD. et al. Effects of vitamin D supplementation on semen quality, reproductive hormones and live birth rate: a randomized clinical trial. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 2017.

The Connection Between Vitamin B12 And Parkinson’s Disease Progression

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a debilitating, progressive movement disorder. It is the second most prevalent neurological disorder, following Alzheimer’s disease. Thanks in part to celebrity Michael J. Fox, a PD patient and ambassador, research advancement and public education has dramatically increased over the years. His foundation, along with many others, have made it their mission to find a cure for PD.

However, doctors and scientists must continue to combat PD symptoms through currently established therapies. There are a variety of medications on the market to help improve tremors, muscle rigidity, balance, and cognitive impairment in PD patients. Nevertheless, there is an immediate need to identify and resolve modifiable risk factors to protect the quality and longevity of lives.

The Importance Of Integrative Medicine

Integrative medicine is a particular healthcare approach that treats disease by addressing all imbalances in the body in a holistic manner. Nutrition is a primary component of integrative medicine, as the diet is largely responsible for ensuring our bodies are functioning properly. When considering the fact that nutritional deficiencies impair the way biochemical processes are carried out in the body, it’s crucial to address any imbalances that may contribute to the onset or outcome of chronic disease.

In recent years, researchers began taking an interest in the relationship between micronutrients and PD. For example, a newly published study assessed whether vitamin B12 deficiency is associated with impaired mobility and cognition among newly diagnosed PD patients.

Benefits Of Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient that supports a wide range of bodily functions including properly functioning nerve cells, red blood cell formation, DNA and RNA synthesis, and heart beat regularity.

Unlike most other micronutrients, vitamin B12 is produced by microorganisms (primarily bacteria), not plants. We consume vitamin B12 through meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy. For vegetarians or vegans, vitamin B12 can be obtained through an oral supplement or intramuscular injection.

Low vitamin B12 levels are associated with a range of health consequences. Symptoms of deficiency may include the following:

  • Macrocytic anemia
  • Irregular heart beat
  • Numbness or tingling in the extremities
  • Impaired cognition
  • Elevated homocysteine levels (indicator of general inflammation)
  • and more…

Vitamin B12 And Parkinson’s Disease

Two important components of vitamin B12 deficiency are also present in those with PD: neurological deficits and elevated homocysteine levels. This knowledge has inspired researchers to study this relationship further in recent years.

Although researchers have not found a relationship between B12 and PD onset, some observational studies suggest deficiency may negatively impact cognition, mood, and neuromuscular function in those who have already developed the disease. This research has led scientists to hypothesize that B12 may help delay disease progression in early, untreated PD.

Research Overview

To assess the relationship between vitamin B12 and PD progression, researchers conducted a secondary analysis of a previous randomized controlled trial. A total of 680 newly diagnosed PD patients were included in the study.

One month prior to joining the trial, all participants were required to stop any supplementation that exceeded the daily value for all micronutrients. The researchers measured the participants vitamin B12, its derivatives, and homocysteine levels. Patients received a follow up appointment every three months for a total of 24 months to assess disability progression, along with activities of daily living (ADL), cognition and motor functioning.

Vitamin B12 Study Findings

The researchers found that 13% of patients were borderline B12 deficient. A total of 7% experienced elevated homocysteine levels, and 2% had both low B12 and high homocysteine levels.

Those with elevated homocysteine levels experienced greater cognitive impairment at baseline and after one year (p = 0.001). Participants with lower B12 levels (< 234 pmol/L) had more severe mobility deficits than those with higher B12 levels (p < 0.004).

The researchers stated,

“Given that low B12 and elevated homocysteine can improve with vitamin supplementation, future studies should test whether prevention or early correction of these nutritionally modifiable conditions slows development of disability.”

Vitamin B12 And Parkinson’s: Summary

If you are concerned you may not be getting enough B12 from your diet and would like to supplement, the Dietary Allowance for B12 is 6 mcg/day. Aria also offers vitamin B12 injections to help ensure our patients levels are optimized, in addition to therapeutic options to decrease homocystine levels naturally.

Whether struggling with a chronic health condition or simply looking to optimize your health, we are here for you. Contact us to learn more about how the team at Aria can help you reach your potential!


Chadwick, C. et al. Vitamin B12 and Homocysteine Levels Predict Different Outcomes in Early Parkinson’s Disease. Movement Disorders, 2018.

The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research