The association between serum vitamin D, fertility and semen quality: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Int J Surg. 2019 Nov;71:101-109. doi: 10.1016/j.ijsu.2019.09.025. Epub 2019 Sep 24.


Purpose: A number of studies have examined the association between vitamin D, fertility and semen quality, however, findings have been inconclusive. Herein, we systematically reviewed available observational studies to elucidate the overall relationship between vitamin D, fertility and semen quality in adult population.

Methods: PubMed, Cochrane's Library, Science Direct, Scopus, Google Scholar and ISI Web of Science databases were searched until December 2018 for all available studies evaluating the association between vitamin D, fertility and semen quality. The Newcastle-Ottawa Quality Assessment Scale was used to examine the quality of each study.

Results: A total of 18 studies out of 1843 met our inclusion criteria and were included in our systematic review and meta-analysis. Serum 25(OH)D3 was significantly higher in fertile subjects compared to infertile ones (WMD -0.63; 95% CI, -1.06 to -0.21; P = 0.003). Furthermore, there was a significant association between serum 25(OH)D, sperm motility (WMD -5.84; 95% CI, -10.29 to -1.39; P = 0.01) and sperm progressive motility (WMD -5.24; 95% CI, -8.71 to -1.76; P = 0.003).

Conclusion: Our findings add to the existing literature supporting the concept that nutrition, especially vitamin D, plays an important role in men's sexual health. It should be noted that because of significant heterogeneity among the included studies, caution is warranted when interpreting the results. Further well-designed prospective cohort studies and clinical trials are needed for better understanding of the relationship between vitamin D and fertility and its components.

Keywords: Male fertility; Meta-analysis; Semen quality; Systematic review; Vitamin D.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Fertility / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Infertility / blood*
  • Infertility, Male / blood*
  • Male
  • Nutritional Status
  • Observational Studies as Topic
  • Prospective Studies
  • Research Design
  • Semen / physiology*
  • Semen Analysis
  • Vitamin D / blood*


  • Vitamin D