30/01/2012 12:29 GMT | Updated 31/03/2012 06:12 BST

Vitamin D Can Boost Fertility In Men And Women

Going on holiday to sunnier climes could help boost your chances of having a baby, a study has revealed.

Researchers discovered that sunlight boosts fertility in men and women by increasing their levels of vitamin D.

The vitamin was found to regulate the menstrual cycle and balance sex hormones in women, increasing progesterone by 13% and oestrogen by 21%.

It also boosts sperm count, increases testosterone and improves libido in men, according to the research.

The review of several studies was published in the European Journal of Endocrinology.

Researchers at the Medical University of Graz in Austria said the findings may explain why conception rates fall in the winter and peak in the summer in Northern European countries.

Oliver Gillie, director of the Health Research Forum, which campaigns for better health advice on vitamin D, told the Daily Mail: "I would say to couples hoping to get pregnant to arrange a sunshine holiday, or get into the garden in the summer as often as they can...before you go down the route of expensive IVF treatment."

However, Lead author Dr Elisabeth Lerchbaum warned that although vitamin D could help to improve fertility, overexposure could lead to skin cancer.

She said: "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."

If you would like to boost your chances of conceiving without putting yourself at risk of skin cancer, see our natural fertility-boosting tips...

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