Vitamin D Could Lower Breast Cancer Risk

Breast cancer is a serious health concern in the United States since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 41,000 women and 460 men die of breast cancer every year. Most of the time, about 75 percent to 90 percent of cases of breast cancer are completely preventable by making safer lifestyle choices like limiting processed food, getting natural sunlight and eating healthier. 

The reason that food matters is because cancer is a metabolic disease. Risk of developing cancer is significantly reduced by the proper metabolism of the mitochondria, which refers to the ability of cells to convert food into energy. Vitamin D is an important nutrient, required for the body’s various processes.

Exposure to sun rays activates mitochondrial respiration and rejuvenates the cells, thus directly having an impact on cancer risk. A vitamin D3 supplement is recommended to people who are deficient and living up north where there is not much sunlight.

A study based on animals found that mice are more likely to develop breast cancer if they are lacking vitamin D. Improving levels of vitamin D can be done by direct exposure to peak sunlight for as much as 15 minutes three times a week, although with sunscreen to protect the skin against harmful UV rays. Cod liver oil, milk, yogurt, salmon and mackerel are some of the food sources of vitamin D. 

To decide the amount of vitamin D3 supplement that you need to take, you need to first check the vitamin D serum level through a simple blood test. The parameter that shows sufficient vitamin D lies between 40 to 60 ng/mL. 

Vitamin D Vitamin D supplements reduce cancer risk by 16 percent. Pixabay

Even research had previously indicated that if the serum level was at 40 ng/mL, cancer risk would be reduced by about 67 percent, compared to people with 20 ng/mL or less of vitamin D serum level. Even research published as far back as 2005 said that women who had vitamin D above 60 ng/mL had a lower risk of developing breast cancer by 83 percent. 

A study published last year conducted by Creighton University and University of California San Diego said that women who took vitamin D3 supplements along with calcium had lower risk of cancer by 30 percent. The difference between the placebo group and the group of postmenopausal women, 55 years and above, was not significant enough though. 

However, 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D, an indicator of vitamin D levels in the blood, was not very high in women who were diagnosed with cancer during the four year long study. Another massive study published this August by British Medical Journal had confirmed all these studies and said that cancer mortality was reduced by 16 percent.  

“In this meta-analysis of 52 randomized controlled trials with a total of 75 454 participants, vitamin D supplementation was not significantly associated with total mortality. The findings suggest that vitamin D supplementation reduced cancer mortality by 16% but not mortality from cardiovascular disease, cerebrovascular disease, or ischaemic heart disease,” the researchers stated.