Black women are nearly three times as likely as white women to have a vitamin D deficiency, which is linked with an increased risk of the vaginal infection bacterial vaginosis, according to a study published in the June issue of the Journal of Nutrition, the New York Times reports. Black women likely have lower levels of vitamin D because the higher amount of pigment in their skin prevents the body from absorbing the vitamin.
For the study, researchers led by Lisa Bodnar, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh, examined 209 white pregnant women and 260 black pregnant women at a Pittsburgh clinic. More than half of the women had low levels of vitamin D, the study found. Women whose vitamin D levels were 50 nanomoles or less had a 26% increased risk of BV, while women whose vitamin levels were less than 20 nanomoles had a 65% increased risk of the infection. About 52% of black women had the infection, compared with 27% of white women, the study found (Bakalar, New York Times, 5/26). The study found that 93% of women with BV had low vitamin D levels and that BV prevalence decreased as vitamin levels increased.
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