Breast Cancer and Vitamin D

Breast Cancer

In a study published by Anticancer Research International Journal of Cancer Research and Treatment, it was concluded that higher concentrations of vitamin D were associated with lower fatality rates of patients diagnosed with breast cancer. The study went on and concluded that women with higher levels of vitamin D have lower probability of being diagnosed with breast cancer. And for those that are diagnosed with breast cancer the tumors tend to be smaller.

Breast cancer is caused by a malignant tumor, the cause of the cancer itself is not known, though evidence has shown that women with breast cancer have lower levels of vitamin D, while women with higher levels of vitamin D have a lower probability if being diagnosed with breast cancer. This is according to the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine. According to the study patients that have been diagnosed with breast cancer and have higher levels of vitamin D show smaller tumors and according to the Vitamin D Council, are less likely to die. Vitamin D is a nutrient that helps in the absorption of calcium; it also helps muscles, immune system, and nerves to work properly. Vitamin D is easily taken by the body’s exposure to the sun, or by supplements. Very few foods have vitamin D, and the ones that naturally do, carry such a limited amount that it is not enough for the body. Thus, the reason many people take in vitamin D supplements. Foods that naturally carry vitamin D are cow milk, salmon, and egg yolks. There are also fortified foods such as fortified soy milks, orange juice, and yogurt.

According to a study published by the International Agency for Research on Cancer there is limited evidence on whether or not vitamin D may have a positive effect on people suffering from breast cancer. Researchers where only able to test patients at the normal recommended daily doses of vitamin D, there is no research as to the long-term effects of using a high dose of vitamin D.

Psychology Today also states that low levels of vitamin D are associated with obesity, diabetes, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease and autoimmune diseases. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2006 1 in every 4 Americans was deficient in vitamin D. It is believed this deficit has been caused by the lack of sun exposure. And when exposed to the sun people tend to lather themselves with sunscreen which prevents the UVB rays to hit the skin. Although long exposure to the sun without sunscreen is dangerous, limited amounts of exposure without sunscreen are needed in order for the body to naturally produce vitamin D. There have also been studies that measure people’s vitamin D and depression; these have concluded that there is also a link between vitamin D deficiency and depression.

According to the Canadian Cancer Society vitamin D can be obtained from sunlight, eating products that are fortified with the vitamin, or by taking supplements. A vitamin D deficiency may be known through a simple blood test that can be performed by a general practitioner. More research is yet to be complete in order to conclude the benefits vitamin D may have of people diagnosed with breast cancer.

By Dony Lugo

International Agency for Research on Cancer
Anticancer Research
Vitamin D Council
Canadian Cancer Society
Psychology Today

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