Mounting evidence proves that higher vitamin D levels reduce the risk of breast cancer

When the New York Times recently published an article attacking a well-known doctor for being a vitamin D proponent, it was clear to many observers that Big Pharma likely had a hand in the piece. Now, there’s even more reason for pharmaceutical companies to be worried about this vitamin’s powers as a new study shows that higher levels of vitamin D reduce a person’s risk of breast cancer – and by extension, their need for expensive chemotherapy, pills and surgeries.

In a study carried out by researchers from the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, the data of more than 5,000 female participants from prospective studies and randomized clinical trials was analyzed. The participants’ average age was 63.

The study found that far higher amounts of vitamin D are needed than previously believed in order to gain its protective health benefits. In fact, the researchers concluded that the minimum ideal level is 60 ng/mL. The National Academy of Medicine’s current recommendation is just a third of that at 20 ng/mL.

The study’s lead author, Dr. Cedric F. Garland, reported that participants who had blood levels higher than 60 ng/mL had just one fifth of the breast cancer risk noted by women whose levels fell below 20 ng/mL. Garland said the finding is the “strongest association yet” between a reduced breast cancer risk and vitamin D levels.

It may be the strongest evidence so far, but it’s hardly the first study to find a connection between vitamin D and breast cancer. For example, researchers have shown that those who take a vitamin D supplement four times a week or more can reduce their risk of cancer by 11 percent. The reduced breast cancer risk climbs to 17 percent among postmenopausal women.

Meanwhile, a study published last year in Environmental Health Perspectives looked at women whose sisters were diagnosed with breast cancer, which placed them in a higher risk group. They compared those who went on to develop breast cancer themselves with those who never did. The study found that those women whose vitamin D levels were 38 ng/mL or more had a 21 percent lower likelihood of developing cancer compared to those whose levels were 24.6 ng/mL or lower.

Vitamin D boasts impressive benefits

Vitamin D isn’t just good at preventing breast cancer; it can also improve the outcomes of those who do develop it. A study that was published in JAMA Oncology found that breast cancer patients who had the highest vitamin D levels also had the best chances of surviving the disease.

Its powers aren’t just limited to preventing cancer. Having healthy levels of vitamin D has also been linked to a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, heart attack, high blood pressure, and bladder cancer.

Are you getting enough vitamin D?

With so many benefits, it almost sounds too good to be true. While it’s good to be skeptical of lofty health claims, it’s important to keep in mind that with vitamin D, there aren’t really any profits at state. Although supplements of vitamin D do exist, natural health experts recommend that people improve their levels by spending more time outdoors – just 20 minutes in direct sunlight without sunscreen three times a week is enough for most people, although this can vary depending on your skin tone, geographical location, the time of day, and other factors.

With more than 41,000 women dying every year of breast cancer, it has never been more important to do everything you can to protect yourself from this devastating disease. In addition to eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise, spending some time in the sun is an easy and affordable way to reduce your risk.

Sources for this article include:

comments powered by Disqus