Low levels of vitamin D linked to common vaginal infection in pregnant women

May 22, 2009

Pregnant women with low levels of vitamin D may be more likely to suffer from bacterial vaginosis (BV) - a common vaginal infection that increases a woman's risk for preterm delivery, according to a University of Pittsburgh study. Available online and published in the June issue of the Journal of Nutrition, the study may explain why African-American women, who often lack adequate vitamin D, are three times more likely than white women to develop BV.

"Bacterial vaginosis affects nearly one in three reproductive-aged women, so there is great need to understand how it can be prevented," said Lisa M. Bodnar, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D., assistant professor of epidemiology, obstetrics and gynecology, University of Pittsburgh. "It is not only associated with a number of gynecologic conditions, but also may contribute to premature delivery - the leading cause of neonatal mortality - making it of particular concern to ."

The study, which included 469 pregnant women, sought to determine whether poor vitamin D status played a role in predisposing women, especially African-Americans, to BV. Dr. Bodnar and colleagues at Magee-Womens Research Institute found that 41 percent of the study participants had BV and of these, 93 percent had insufficient levels of vitamin D. They also found that the prevalence of BV decreased as vitamin D levels rose.

Vitamin D may play a role in BV by regulating the production and function of antimicrobial molecules, which in turn may help the immune system prevent and control . However, only about one in four Americans gets enough vitamin D. may be more common in African-Americans because dark pigmentation limits the amount of vitamin D that can be made in the skin through casual exposure to sunlight. African-American women also are less likely to meet dietary recommendations of vitamin D.

"Although this is a preliminary study, it points out an interesting connection between vitamin D and BV," said Dr. Bodnar. "We don't recommend pregnant women take mega-doses of vitamin D based on these findings, but they should talk with their doctor if they have concerns about their status. All women should be encouraged to eat a healthy diet and take a prenatal vitamin before they become pregnant or as soon as they find out they are pregnant."

Source: University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences (news : web)

Explore further: CDC charges Johns Hopkins to lead development of Ebola training module

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Low vitamin D during pregnancy linked to pre-eclampsia

Sep 07, 2007

Vitamin D deficiency early in pregnancy is associated with a five-fold increased risk of preeclampsia, according to a study from the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences reported this week in the Journal of ...

Recommended for you

Study reveals state of crisis in Canadian foster care system

11 hours ago

A new study of foster care in Canada led by a researcher at Western University reveals a shrinking number of foster care providers are available across the country to care for a growing number of children with increasingly ...

Researchers prove the benefits of persimmons for diet

12 hours ago

Alba Mir and Ana Domingo, researchers from the Department of Analytical Chemistry of the University of Valencia, under the supervision of professors Miguel de la Guardia and Maria Luisa Cervera, from the same department, ...

Hand blenders used for cooking can emit persistent chemicals

12 hours ago

Eight out of twelve tested models of hand blenders are leaking chlorinated paraffins when used according to the suppliers' instructions. This is revealed in a report from Stockholm University where researchers analyzed a ...

User comments : 0