Cervical dysplasia diet

As cervical dysplasia is a pre-cancerous condition, an anticancer diet may help to lower the risk of disease occurrence and progression. Diets high in saturated and polyunsaturated fats are likely to promote cancerous changes while a diet high in fruit, vegetables and fiber may help to reduce the risks.

Cervical dysplasia dietVitamins, minerals and cervical dysplasia

Several vitamin deficiencies may play a role in cervical dysplasia. A 1993 study of the links between diet and cervical dysplasia found a relationship between low folate, vitamin E, vitamin C and riboflavin intakes and the disease.


The risk of cervical dysplasia appears to increase as folate intake decreases. It is possible that localized changes in folate levels contribute to cervical dysplasia. Some women appear to have normal levels of blood folate while concentrations in the cervical tissues are low. This may be due to use of oral contraceptives, which alter folate metabolism. Some researchers have found a higher risk of abnormalities in cervical tissue in women using oral contraceptives and suggest that folic acid supplements are beneficial in preventing cervical dysplasia in these women.

Low red blood cell folate levels may increase the effect of other risk factors for cervical dysplasia; in particular, that of HPV infection. In a 1992 study, researchers from the University of Alabama in Birmingham investigated the links between folate deficiency and cervical dysplasia in 294 young women with the disorder and 170 healthy women. They also assessed the impact of factors such as smoking, oral contraceptive use, HPV infection, and number of sexual partners. The results showed that at low folate levels, the risk of dysplasia caused by HPV infection was increased.

Even a marginal folic acid deficiency causes breaks and damage to the genetic material of the cell that resembles cervical dysplasia and, as this deficiency is common, some abnormal Pap smears may reflect folic acid deficiency rather than true dysplasia. However, it is also possible that such alteration in genetic material is an integral component of the dysplastic process that may be stopped, or in some cases reversed by oral folic acid supplementation. Several clinical studies have shown improvements in Pap smears in those with cervical dysplasia when they are given folic acid supplements. Folic acid supplementation may protect abnormal cells from becoming cancerous and may reverse cervical dysplasia in some cases. A 1996 study suggests that supplements may be useful in preventing the initial changes but do not appear to affect the progress of established disease.

Cervical dysplasia dietAntioxidants

Several studies have found links between low antioxidant levels and cervical dysplasia, including carotenes and vitamin E.

Vitamin A

Epidemiological studies have links between low dietary intake or blood levels of vitamin A and the development of cervical dysplasia and/or cervical cancer. A 1996 Japanese study involving 137 women found a higher risk in women with low vitamin A levels.

Some clinical investigations have examined the use of local application of a form of vitaminAto the cervix. Ina 1994 placebo-controlled study, researchers examined the effects of this in 301 women with cervical dysplasia. The results showed that the treatment reversed mild dysplasia, but was not effective in more advanced cases.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C levels have been shown to be lower in women suffering from cervical dysplasia. A 1981 US study measured nutrient intake in 87 women with cervical dysplasia and 82 women with no symptoms. Average vitamin C intake for those with cervical dysplasia was 80 mg and for healthy women, 107 mg. Women with intakes of less than 50 per cent of the RDA may have ten times the risk of cervical dysplasia than those with high intakes.


Some studies have shown that zinc levels may be low in cervical dysplasia. Zinc is vital for many immune functions and can be protective against precancerous changes.

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