by: Elizabeth Renter
August 7, 2012
Scientists have found a promising link between vitamin D and breast cancer, with the vitamin shown to reduce breast cancer risk. However, they say their findings only apply to vitamin D in supplement form, according to Reuters.
Link Shown Between Vitamin D and Breast Cancer Risk Reduction
Researchers found that women who consumed vitamin D in a pill had a 24 percent lower risk of developing breast cancer. But those who got their vitamin D in their food didn’t see the same results. While they don’t say why they think this is, it could be because those using supplements are simply getting more of the vitamin on a daily basis.
The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, looked at 3,101 breast cancer patients and 3,471 health women, analyzing their diet and supplementation habits. There was no link established between dietary vitamin D consumption (or calcium consumption) and breast cancer. The link was only obvious in women taking more than 400 IU (international units) of vitamin D every day.
The researchers say more work is needed to determine exactly how much vitamin D is needed and to determine how it works. However, we do know that breast tissue cells have receptors for vitamin D, “raising the possibility that the nutrient could help regulate the division and proliferation of these cells.” And while the researchers don’t draw a connection between vitamin D and breast cancer when the vitamin comes from food sources, including the vitamin in a diet for breast cancer patients via foods naturally rich in vitamin D in addition to supplementation will only boost prevention.
Interestingly, the research gives no attention to getting vitamin D from the sun. It’s estimated that the body of the average light-skinned person creates about 20,000 IU of vitamin D3 (the most concentrated form) after one 30-minute, total body exposure to the summer sun at noon. In a darker skin person, the amount of D3 produced is about 10,000 IU.
You don’t need to sunbathe for hours to accumulate vitamin D, but getting outside for some sunshine during the day will increase the body’s natural creation of vitamin D, providing a wealth of vitamin D health benefits that could even reduce your risk of cancer.