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Use of multivitamins, intake of B vitamins, and risk of ovulatory infertility

  • Jorge E. Chavarro
    Correspondence
    Reprint requests: Jorge E. Chavarro, M.D., Sc.D., Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, 665 Huntington Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02115 (FAX: 617-432-2435).
    Affiliations
    Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts
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  • Janet W. Rich-Edwards
    Affiliations
    Connors Center for Women's Health and Gender Biology, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts

    Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts

    Channing Laboratory, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
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  • Bernard A. Rosner
    Affiliations
    Channing Laboratory, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts

    Department of Biostatistics, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts
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  • Walter C. Willett
    Affiliations
    Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts

    Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts

    Channing Laboratory, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
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      Objective

      To examine whether use of multivitamins and intake of specific nutrients in multivitamins is associated with ovulatory infertility.

      Design

      A prospective cohort study.

      Setting

      The Nurses' Health Study II.

      Patient(s)

      Eighteen thousand five hundred fifty-five married, premenopausal women without a history of infertility who attempted a pregnancy or became pregnant between 1991 and 1999.

      Intervention(s)

      None, observational study.

      Main Outcome Measure(s)

      Incident reports of infertility caused by anovulation.

      Result(s)

      During 8 years of follow-up, 438 women reported infertility caused by ovulatory disorder. There was an inverse association between frequency of multivitamin use and ovulatory infertility. The multivariate-adjusted relative risk (95% confidence interval) of ovulatory infertility was 0.88 (0.60, 1.28) for women consuming two tablets per week or less, 0.69 (0.51, 0.95) for women consuming three to five tablets per week, and 0.59 (0.46, 0.75) for women consuming six or more tablets per week, when compared with women who did not use these supplements (P, trend <.001). Folic acid appeared to explain part of the association between multivitamin supplement use and risk of ovulatory infertility.

      Conclusion(s)

      Regular use of multivitamin supplements may decrease the risk of ovulatory infertility.

      Key Words

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