Interpretive Summary: Increasing vitamin D levels to improve fertilization rates in cattle
By: Vanessa Peixoto de Souza, Jared Jensen, William Whitler, Charles T Estill, Cecily V Bishop
Vitamin D is an important hormone that among other things, contributes to bone health, immunity, and reproduction. Recently, research has linked vitamin D to fertility in other species (primates), and therefore the objectives of the current research were to determine if mild supplementation with Vitamin D impacted fertility in female cattle. A dose-dependent relationship was detected between concentrations of vitamin D and embryo development. The concentration of 50 ng/mL of vitamin D appeared to be beneficial to early embryogenesis. Studies in dairy-breed females indicated serum levels of vitamin D correlated well with intrafollicular levels in the periovulatory follicle. Finally, a fertility trial investigated if a single dose of vitamin D improves fertility when administered before artificial insemination in cattle. There were no detectable benefits to this brief supplementation with vitamin D on measures of fertility in this group. It is concluded supplementation with vitamin D improves embryo development in vitro, but brief supplementation did not impact pregnancy success. Longer-term supplementation with vitamin D may be needed to appreciate any measurable benefits on fertility.