SOURCE: Ohio State University Center for Clinical and Translational Science, news release, Oct. 24, 2014
TUESDAY, Oct. 28, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- A new study suggests that high doses of vitamin D may not help prevent the return of vaginosis, a vaginal infection that's especially common in younger women.
The findings counter other research that suggests higher vitamin D levels could boost the immune system as it tries to fight off the infection, according to background information in the study.
"Earlier studies observed that women with low vitamin D levels were more likely to have bacterial vaginosis, and we hypothesized that vitamin D supplementation might reduce [bacterial vaginosis]," study author Abigail Norris Turner, an infectious disease expert at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, said in a university news release.
"However, our study found that high-dose vitamin D supplementation wasn't helpful in preventing recurrence of [bacterial vaginosis]," she said.
Vaginosis, which is not sexually transmitted, occurs when the bacteria in the reproductive tract become imbalanced, according to the release. Antibiotics can eliminate the infection, but many women suffer repeat episodes, which can cause embarrassment and even miscarriage, the researchers noted.
An estimated 21 million women, more blacks than whites, are diagnosed with vaginosis in the United States each year, according to the researchers.
In the study, they randomly assigned 118 women with vaginosis to get nine large doses of a vitamin D supplement or a placebo. Vitamin D levels rose in the women who received the supplement, but they weren't less likely to develop vaginosis again over 24 weeks.
The study appears in the November issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
For more about vaginosis, see womenshealth.org.