Reversal of Cervical Dysplasia With Vitamin Therapy
by Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS
An emerging body of evidence suggests that nutrition may play a role in the
prevention and reversal of cervical dysplasia, which is a pre-cancerous
condition of the cervix.
The B-vitamin folic acid is critical to synthesis of normal DNA as cells divide
from one generation to the next. Cells that line the cervix replace themselves
every 7-14 days and therefore, the cells must continuously form DNA as part of
their genetic structure. Previous studies have demonstrated that poor folic acid
status can lead to DNA abnormalities with subsequent development of cervical
dysplasia or megaloblastic features of cervical cells (large abnormal cell
Oral contraceptives are known to increase the rate of cell division of cervical
cells, hence, escalating the need for adequate folic acid intake.
Studies by Whitehead et al and Butterworth et al demonstrated that folic
acid supplementation could reverse cervical megaloblastic charges and cervical
dysplasia, respectively, in patients using oral contraceptives. In fact, oral
contraceptive use is a known risk factor for cervical dysplasia, primarily due
to its effect on speeding up cell division rates.
In the study by Butterworth et al, patients with mild and moderate degrees of
cervical dysplasia showed reversal of their condition over a three-month trial
period with folic acid supplementation.
In both studies the authors noted a statistically lower mean red blood cell
folic acid concentration in oral contraceptive users compared with nonusers,
which was particularly marked in patients with cervical dysplasia. Red blood
cell folic acid levels are considered to be a good indicators of folic acid
Other population studies (epidemiologic) consistently support the hypothesis
that folic acid plays a protective role in the prevention of cervical dysplasia.
up to 88 percent of the population consumes less then 400mcg per day of folic
acid. This is the level that women should ingest to reduce the risk of spinal
birth defect in their offspring. The same level of intake appears to be sufficient to reduce
the risk of cervical folic acid deficiency and subsequent risk of cervical
dysplasia. Ingesting a multiple
vitamin containing 400mcg is likely the most practical and effective means of
ensuring adequate folic acid intake.
other studies, vitamin A and beta-carotene have been examined as nutrients that
may prevent or reverse cervical dysplasia. Epidemiologic (observation studies of
a population) studies support the idea that vitamin A, beta-carotene, and
vitamin C are important for the prevention of this condition.
Smoking is a known risk factor for the development of cervical dysplasia
and beta-carotene has been shown to be effective against smoking-related
cervical dysplasia and cervical cancer. This was documented in studies by de Vet
HC et al and Winkelstein W. Jr.
The amassing evidence suggests that low vitamin nutriture of these agents,
cigarette smoking and human papillomavirus infection combine to contribute to
the risk, progression and evolution of cervical dysplasia.
recent years studies using topically applied vitamin A to the cervix resulted in
up to a 50 percent complete reversal of cervical dysplasia in Phase ll and Phase
lll clinical trails. Vaginal and vulvar side effects of this treatment were mild
and reversible at the end of treatment. These results suggest that this type of
treatment represents a viable option in the treatment of cervical dysplasia.
Vitamin A and its natural and synthetic derivatives (retinoids) modulate the
growth of cervical cells, slowing growth and enhancing maturation of cells. All
of these effects are related to the prevention of cancer and the reversal of
another study of patients with mild or moderate cervical dysplasia, 30 patients
were treated with 30mg of beta-carotene orally for up to six months. More than
70 percent of patients showed reversal of their condition by six months, but
only three months were required to realize optimal reversal of this condition as
suggested by serum beta-carotene levels and measurement of shed cervicovaginal
cells, which were highly correlated.
Presently Phase lll trials are underway which are testing beta-carotene and
topical vitamin A as treatment agents against cervical dysplasia with larger
populations and more sophisticated research methods.
the meantime there is sufficient evidence to suggest that nutrition is a vital
component of preventing and potentially reversing cervical dysplasia.
Recently, lycopene has been added to the list of prevention agents that
may reduce risk of cervical dysplasia and cervical cancers.
AOL://4344:1679.Mesh_033.13663031.588921153 "Folic Acid, Vitamin E,
Beta-Carotene and Lycopene May Reduce Cervical Cancer).
Consuming at least five fruit and vegetable servings per day in conjunction with
a well-designed multiple vitamin is an important step in the prevention of this
and other pre-cancerous and cancerous problems. In my view your multiple vitamin
should be enriched with higher levels of antioxidants and contain 400mcg of
Copyright 1998 Dr. James Meschino
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