High Vitamin D Levels Help Women Fight Breast Cancer Better!
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that is no longer regarded as just a dietary supplement. In recent studies, Vitamin D has been shown to check breast cancer progression and improve the survival rate in breast cancer patients. It also plays a significant role in lowering the risk of breast cancer in others.
Studies confirm that breast cancer patients have a greater chance of surviving the disease when they have a serum 25-hydroxyVitamin D above 40 ng/ml.
How Important is Vitamin D for Women?
Vitamin D is essential for women as they age. Along with calcium, Vitamin D plays a key role in keeping the bones healthy, thereby preventing osteoporosis or brittle bones. Low Vitamin D and calcium levels pave way to osteopenia (low bone density). Most importantly, low Vitamin D levels are also linked to a higher risk of breast cancer in women.
What are the Optimum Levels?
Women are prone to significant hormonal changes in their lifetime, and therefore need a regular supply of Vitamin D to sustain their optimum levels.
Vitamin D levels are measured by checking the level of 25-hydroxyVitamin D (25(OH)D, a metabolite produced by the body from Vitamin D. It is recommended that women have an optimal range of 40-80 ng/mL of 25(OH)D.
How is Vitamin D Linked to Breast Cancer?
Studies conducted by researchers under Dr. Cedric Garland from San Diego School of Medicine showed that Vitamin D levels in women could be predictive of their risk for breast cancer. One of these studies showed that women with low Vitamin D levels presented an elevated risk for premenopausal breast cancer. This led to further research that revealed that higher levels of Vitamin D helped the body to fight off aggressive cell production which led to cancer.
During their 9-year study, researchers from the San Diego School of Medicine studied more than 4,500 breast cancer patients. They noted that those women with breast cancer had an average Vitamin D (25-hydroxyVitamin D) level of 17 ng/ml, considered very low. Dr. Garland pointed out that having high levels of Vitamin D facilitated increased communication in the breast cells by activating a protein that blocked cell division and tumor growth. Studies thus proved that women with a Vitamin D level of 40 ng/ml slashed the risk of breast cancer by half.
How does Vitamin D Therapy Boost Breast Cancer Treatment?
Studies confirm that breast cancer patients have a greater chance of surviving the disease when they have a serum 25-hydroxyVitamin D above 40 ng/ml. Therefore, doctors are now considering Vitamin D Therapy as an adjuvant to Conventional Breast Cancer Treatment. Patients may require a dosage of 5,000 IU daily or more to raise the Vitamin D level to above 40 ng/ml.
How can You Boost Your Vitamin D Levels to Reduce the Risk of Breast Cancer?
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that aids the absorption of certain other nutrients including calcium, iron and magnesium. Women often tend to overlook Vitamin D supplementation while they consciously make calcium rich foods a part of their diet.
The safest and the most easily available natural source of Vitamin D is sunlight. Other natural and reliable sources of Vitamin D are cod liver oil, fatty fish like salmon, sardines, tuna and mackerel, egg yolk, and mushrooms. Certain Vitamin D fortified foods like cereals and fruit juices also provide Vitamin D.
It is important to note that while a certain level of Vitamin D may be gained from dietary sources, supplementation may be necessary to reach the optimal range of 40-80 ng/mL.