July 5, 2013

Inadequate Levels of Vitamin D May Increase the Risk of Uterine Fibroids

Vitamin D has many beneficial effects on reproduction. Previous blog entries have reported on published studies regarding the beneficial effects of Vitamin D in improving oocyte quality, embryo development and pregnancy success. Now researchers at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences have reported in EPIDEMIOLOGY May 2013-Volume 24-Issue 3-p447-453 that inadequate levels of Vitamin D may increase the risk of uterine fibroids. After adjusting for age, physical activity, sun exposure, and other variables, they found that having a Vitamin D level above 20 ng/mL decreased the risk of fibroids by 32%, and that each increase of 10 ng/mL in Vitamin D was associated with a 20% lower risk of having a uterine fibroid.

Uterine fibroids are the leading cause of hysterectomy in the United States and depending on their size and location are associated with adverse reproductive outcomes including pain, abnormal uterine bleeding, infertility and miscarriage. Much remains unknown about their origin, growth, and development. This study is an important contribution to our understanding of the epidemiology of uterine fibroids and according to the lead author of this study, Donna Day Baird, an epidemiologist with the National Institutes of Health, “sufficient levels of Vitamin D are probably good for several health outcomes, and fibroids may be one of them.”

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Joseph A. Hill, III, M.D.

Joseph A. Hill, III, M.D. Board-Certified in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility