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Vitamins That Help BV Infections

by
author image Suzanne Allen
Suzanne Allen has been writing since 2004, with work published in "Eating for Longevity" and "Journal of Health Psychology." She is a certified group wellness instructor and personal trainer. Allen holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication and information sciences, a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and a Master of Arts in clinical psychology.
Vitamins That Help BV Infections
Vines of cherry tomatoes, high in Vitamin C. Photo Credit michaelpuche/iStock/Getty Images

Bacterial vaginosis, also known as BV, is an infection that occurs in the lining of the vagina. Symptoms of bacterial vaginosis include a foul odor, heavy discharge, clear to gray discharge color and red and swollen vaginal membranes. However, some women with bacterial vaginosis may have no symptoms. Bacterial vaginosis is caused by an overgrowth of bacteria and fungus in the vagina due to vitamin deficiencies, improper nutrition, hormonal imbalances, pregnancy, stress and a plethora of other factors. Eating a diet rich in vitamins C, B, D and E can aid in preventing the occurrence of this uncomfortable infection.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant, strengthens your immune system and protects the lining of your vagina from the overgrowth of bacteria. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, take a 500 mg supplement of vitamin C twice per day or enrich your diet with foods high in vitamin C. Fruits high in vitamin C and other antioxidants include cherries, blueberries and tomatoes. The seed of a grapefruit, also a fruit high in vitamin C, contains antibacterial and antifungal properties boosting immune functioning.

Folate

High intake of folate is associated with lower risk of developing severe bacterial vaginosis, according to a 2009 study published in “The Journal of Nutrition.” Folate is linked with a decreased risk of cancer and is thought to enhance immune functioning, which may aid in prohibiting the growth of bacteria. Folate also aids the blood in distributing oxygen to the cells, ensuring adequate cell function. Foods high in folate and other B vitamins include almonds, whole grains, spinach, kale and beans.

Vitamin D3

Bacterial vaginosis is associated with increased risk factors among pregnant women, such as preterm birth and a surplus of harmful bacteria in the vagina. Vitamin D deficiency may increase a pregnant woman’s chance of developing bacterial vaginosis. African American women are particularly susceptible to developing this infection due to the amount of melanin in their skin, which prevents the skin from absorbing the sunlight needed for vitamin D production. Vitamin D decreases the development of bacterial vaginosis by producing natural antibodies that fight bacteria, fungus and viruses. According to a 2011 article published by the American Society for Microbiology, pregnant women may require supplementation up to 6,400 IU of vitamin D3 per day. Other sources of Vitamin D include direct sunlight exposure and foods rich in fish oil, like salmon and mackerel.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E consumption decreases a woman’s chance of generating an overgrowth of bacteria leading to bacterial vaginosis, as reported by a 2011 study published in “The Journal of Nutrition.” Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant and increases the body’s immune response. Vitamin E supplementation decreases infection rates and respiratory problems observed among older individuals. Increased immune response and bacteria-fighting antioxidants regulate bacteria levels in the vagina. Rich sources of vitamin E include wheat germ, sunflower seeds, almonds, peanut butter, broccoli and tomatoes.

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