Dietary macronutrient intake and molecular-bacterial vaginosis: Role of fiber

Rupak Shivakoti, Susan Tuddenham, Laura E. Caulfield, Catherine Murphy, Courtney Robinson, Jacques Ravel, Khalil G. Ghanem, Rebecca M. Brotman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background & aims: Women with bacterial vaginosis (BV) have increased risk of sexually transmitted infections and other adverse health outcomes. Based on the composition of their vaginal microbiota, women can broadly be classified into low-Lactobacillus (termed molecular-BV) and Lactobacillus-dominated profiles. Our objective was to determine the association between dietary macronutrient intake and molecular-BV. Methods: In a cross-sectional study of 104 reproductive-age women, dietary intake data were obtained using the Block Brief 2000 food frequency questionnaire. Vaginal microbiota composition was characterized by sequencing amplicons of the 16S rRNA gene V3–V4 regions and clustering into community state types (CST). Logistic regression was used to determine the association of macronutrient intake with molecular-BV (low-Lactobacillus vs. Lactobacillus-dominated CSTs combined). Results: Participants had a median age of 25.9 (interquartile range: 21.9–29.6), 58% were white (30% black), 51% overweight/obese and 52% on hormonal contraception. In multivariable models, diets richer in fiber were inversely associated with molecular-BV (adjusted odds ratio: 0.49 per standard deviation increase in energy-adjusted fiber intake, 95% confidence interval: 0.24–0.99; p = 0.049). Conclusions: Our results indicate that diets richer in fiber were associated with lower odds of molecular-BV. Further studies are needed to confirm these findings and to test whether increasing fiber intake can modulate the microbiota towards a more optimal Lactobacillus-dominant profile.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3066-3071
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Nutrition
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2020


  • Diet
  • Fiber
  • Microbiome
  • Nutrition
  • Vaginal microbiota

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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