June 1, 2009 Vitamin D deficiency is associated with bacterial vaginosis and this link may contribute to the strong racial disparity in the prevalence of bacterial vaginosis, according to the results of a pregnancy cohort study reported in the June issue of the Journal of Nutrition.
"BV is a highly prevalent vaginal infection that is associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes," write Lisa M. Bodnar, from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and colleagues. "Vitamin D exerts an influence on the immune system and may play a role in BV."
Bacterial Vaginosis, which is characterized by the loss of normal vaginal flora and an increased prevalence of anaerobic bacteria, is associated with several gynecologic conditions and adverse pregnancy outcomes, notably preterm birth. It is 3 times as common in black women vs white women. There is increased vaginal discharge similar and is usually mistaken for thrush and other vaginal infections.
Similarly, vitamin D deficiency is far more prevalent in black women vs white women, in part because of their skin pigmentation preventing adequate cutaneous synthesis of cholecalciferol from casual exposure to sunlight. Vitamin D is known to have immunologic effects, but vitamin D deficiency has not been previously studied in relationship to bacterial vaginosis.