Sunshine vitamin `can help boost fertility in men and women`

London: Can`t conceive? Bask in the sun, for a study says it can boost fertility in both men and women.

Researchers at Medical University of Graz in Austria say sunlight boosts fertility in both men and women by increasing their levels of vitamin D which is also key to balancing sex hormones in females and improving sperm count in males.

In women, vitamin D helps boost levels of the female sex hormones progesterone and oestrogen by 13 per cent and 21 per cent respectively, regulating menstrual cycles and making conception more likely, say the researchers.

While in men, vitamin D is essential for the healthy development of each sperm`s nucleus, according to the findings which mean that some couples may be undergoing unnecessary and costly fertility treatment when spending time in the sun could be the answer, the `Daily Mail` reported.

Exposure to sunlight also increases levels of the male sex hormone testosterone, improving a man`s libido, according to the study which is a review of several researches.

However, lead author Dr Elisabeth Lerchbaum said that while sunshine appears to improve fertility, it is important couples don`t overdo it because of the risk of skin cancer
from over-exposure.

"People could either spend more time outside in the sun -- or they could take vitamin D supplements, which are a safe and cheap way to increase levels," she was quoted as saying by the British newspaper.

The findings, published in the `European Journal of Endocrinology`, also claim that the link between sunshine and fertility has also been found in animal studies carried out