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Am J Epidemiol. 2013 Mar 1;177(5):420-30. doi: 10.1093/aje/kws247. Epub 2013 Feb 3.

Dairy-food, calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D intake and endometriosis: a prospective cohort study.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Biology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


The etiology of endometriosis is poorly understood, and few modifiable risk factors have been identified. Dairy foods and some nutrients can modulate inflammatory and immune factors, which are altered in women with endometriosis. We investigated whether intake of dairy foods, nutrients concentrated in dairy foods, and predicted plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) levels were associated with incident laparoscopically confirmed endometriosis among 70,556 US women in Nurses' Health Study II. Diet was assessed via food frequency questionnaire. A score for predicted 25(OH)D level was calculated for each participant. During 737,712 person-years of follow-up over a 14-year period (1991-2005), 1,385 cases of incident laparoscopically confirmed endometriosis were reported. Intakes of total and low-fat dairy foods were associated with a lower risk of endometriosis. Women consuming more than 3 servings of total dairy foods per day were 18% less likely to be diagnosed with endometriosis than those reporting 2 servings per day (rate ratio = 0.82, 95% confidence interval: 0.71, 0.95; P(trend) = 0.03). In addition, predicted plasma 25(OH)D level was inversely associated with endometriosis. Women in the highest quintile of predicted vitamin D level had a 24% lower risk of endometriosis than women in the lowest quintile (rate ratio = 0.76, 95% confidence interval: 0.60, 0.97; P(trend) = 0.004). Our findings suggest that greater predicted plasma 25(OH)D levels and higher intake of dairy foods are associated with a decreased risk of endometriosis.

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