Vitamin D may reduce the risk of breast cancer according to a study carried out by Grassroots Health, Inova Schar and Creighton University.
What is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin. This means that the body only has the ability to absorb it through consuming products that are naturally high in fat. Examples include egg yolks, avocados, peanut butter, dairy products and meat.
Vitamin D is known as the "Sunshine Vitamin" as the body can produce Vitamin D from natural sunlight. It is believed that exposure to natural sunlight for 5-10 minutes 2-3 days per week allows the body to build a healthy level of Vitamin D.
Vitamin D has several important functions. The most vital of which are regulating the absorption of calcium and phosphorous and facilitating normal immune system function. Others include regulating lung and heart health. Getting enough vitamin D is important for normal growth and the development of bones and teeth.
Vitamin D and Cancer Risk Study
According to the American Cancer Society, Breast cancer is the most common non-skin cancer in women and there has been no reduction in the global incidence of cancer in the last twenty years. Recent research suggests that an increased intake of vitamin D could lower the risk of developing breast cancer.
The experiment was carried out by examining the relationship between 25(OH)D concentration and breast cancer risk across a sample group of women over the age of 55. 25(OH)D is a metabolite that is used to measure levels of Vitamin D in the system. The conclusion showed that those in the sample group who were taking Vitamin D supplements had a lower risk of developing breast cancer than those who did not.
The study showed that the higher the concentration of 25(OH)D, the lower the risk of developing breast cancer. In one particular experiment, it showed that women who had a concentration of over 60 nanograms of metabolite 25(OH)D per milliliter of plasma had a 80% lesser chance of developing breast cancer in comparison to those who had 60 plus nanograms of 25 (OH)D per milliliter.
The reasoning behind this is that vitamin D plays a role in controlling normal breast cell growth and may be able to stop breast cancer cells from growing.
How can you naturally increase your Vitamin D intake?
Before you adjust your vitamin D intake, it's important to know your vitamin D serum level. A very simple Vitamin D blood test can be taken to do so.
Vitamin D researchers recommend a serum level of 40-60 ng/ml (nanograms/milliliter), or in the case of the study, over 60 ng/ml to significantly reduce your risk of breast cancer.
To boost your Vitamin D levels naturally it is recommended that:
- You spend more time in the sun. 2-3 times per week for 5-10 minutes is sufficient exposure to produce a healthy amount of Vitamin D.
- You eat foods that are high in healthy fats such as: oily fish, meat, dairy products, eggs and nut butters.
- You can take Vitamin D supplements to combat a Vitamin D deficiency, Vitamin D3 or cholecalciferol. are the most widely recommended by health professionals as it is the the closest comparison to the form of Vitamin D produced by the sun.
Written by Hannah Kingston | Approved by Medical Director Dominic Rowley