Not every yeast infection requires a visit to the doctor’s office, and not every yeast infection goes away with home treatments. Although some websites claim that vitamin B can both cause and cure vaginal yeast infections, no real evidence supports such claims. Some B vitamins can, however, elevate your blood sugar levels, and women with diabetes prove especially prone to yeast infections.
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Need for Vitamin B
If you take vitamin B, often sold in a complex formula -- six or more B vitamins bundled together in a single pill -- and get recurring yeast infections, you could test the claim yourself by discontinuing your vitamin B use. Unless you’ve tested deficient for vitamin B -- blood tests can determine your levels of most of the B vitamins -- or your doctor has prescribed vitamin B for a specific medical purpose, you don’t need to take B vitamins. Most people get enough B vitamins in their diet, as they appear in a variety of foods, including beef, chicken, fish, nuts, dairy products, green vegetables and beans.
Yeast Infections and High Blood Sugar
Vitamin B-3, also known as niacin, can cause elevations in your blood sugar levels. If you have trouble controlling your blood glucose -- as women with diabetes or prediabetes do -- taking niacin could cause dangerous elevations in your blood sugar levels. High blood glucose levels make it easier for yeast infections to occur. Some B-complex vitamins contain very high levels of niacin -- far more than the recommended dietary allowance. Theoretically, at least, taking this much niacin could make any woman’s blood sugar rise enough to create a yeast-friendly environment in her vagina.
Vaginal Yeast Infection Treatment
If you acquire a yeast infection, anti-fungal creams and suppositories available at drugstores may clear up the infection. If the yeast infection doesn’t clear up, see a doctor. Your doctor could prescribe an oral anti-fungal medication or, if your vaginal infection is caused by something other than an overgrowth of yeast, prescribe other appropriate medication. Bacterial infections, parasites and vaginal atrophy -- a condition associated with menopause -- may cause vaginal infections. Symptoms of all types of vaginal infections may include swelling, pain and itching.
Side Effects of Vitamin B
Although taking B vitamins is unlikely to cause a yeast infection, the vitamins can produce many other side effects. Common side effects include rashes, burning or itching skin, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, and changes in the color and amount of your urine. If you take high amounts of vitamin B, particularly for extended periods, more serious side effects include nerve and brain damage, stomach ulcers, irregular heartbeat, liver damage, vision loss and gout. Vitamin B-3 may increase your levels of homocysteine, an enzyme associated with heart disease.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
- MedlinePlus: Thiamine (Vitamin B1)
- MedlinePlus: Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)
- MedlinePlus: Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5)
- Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health: Vitamin B6
- MedlinePlus: Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6)
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Learn More About Vitamin B12 Deficiency; Aug. 3, 2009
- MedlinePlus: Vaginal Yeast Infection