A study suggests that getting a boost of vitamin D, the 'sunshine vitamin', could improve men's fertility (posed by model)
Couples struggling to conceive should consider getting out more, research suggests.
A study found almost a third of men experiencing fertility problems have low levels of vitamin D, the 'sunshine vitamin'.
Just spending ten minutes outside in their shirt sleeves would be enough of a boost, according to Anne Clark, the medical director of an Australian fertility centre.
Previous studies have shown vitamin D, produced from natural light and found in oily fish and eggs, is important for a healthy pregnancy.
But the latest findings show a deficiency may also affect sperm.
'The results show lifestyle changes can be beneficial,' Dr Clark told the Fertility Society of Australia, in Brisbane.
The vitamin D deficiency could have been caused by worries about skin cancer and by men trying to avoid too much exposure to sunshine, Dr Clark said.
She suggested that office workers could absorb enough vitamin D by simply having their morning tea break outside in the sunshine with their sleeves rolled up.
Other basic lifestyle changes such as giving up smoking, losing weight, and reducing caffeine and alcohol intake, would also help.
In her group, 105 men agreed to the changes, and to take multivitamins and antioxidants for two to three months.
Afterwards, tests revealed 'an improvement in the shape of the sperm, which can enhance conception,' said Dr Clark.
In fact, 31 of the men went on to achieve a pregnancy.
'The results clearly show that lifestyle changes and dietary supplements can be beneficial for the conception of a healthy on-going pregnancy,' her report said.