Breast cancer remains the leading causes of death among women, and more than 10 percent of women in the world will develop breast cancer in their life. Medical world has attempted hard to reduce the risk of breast cancer in the world. During the past few years, researchers have been focusing on studying the relationship between vitamin D and breast cancer risk to find out whether the vitamin can help lowering the risk and improving survival rate of the patients. In other words, research has focused on vitamin D’s ability to prevent breast cancer and to delay the disease progression.
Benefits of Vitamin D for Health and Cancer Prevention
Vitamin D is found in many sources of foods, including eggs, milk and dairy products, fatty fish like tuna, sardines, and salmon, cereal, and fortified orange juice. Human body naturally produces vitamin D when being exposed to ultraviolet rays. The vitamin plays important roles in human body, as it helps the body to absorb phosphorous and calcium well. These benefits are important to promote bone health and growth.
Other benefits of vitamin D for health include its roles in regulating cell growth, reducing inflammation, and boosting immunity. These will help you stay away from immune-related disorders. Actually, besides studying vitamin D’s possible ability to treat and prevent cancer, studies have also been conducted on its ability to treat and prevent other chronic diseases, such as high blood pressure and diabetes.
So, how might Vitamin D reduce the risk for developing breast cancer? Some studies found that exposure to vitamin D from the sun might have been responsible for preventing and reducing the risk for developing breast cancer. Studies found that people that live in southern regions that receive extra sun exposure have lower breast cancer death rate. These studies found that vitamin D helps in slowing and even halting the growth of cancer cells, stimulating apoptosis (a process that leads to cancer death), and preventing the growth of blood vessels that grow cancerous tumors.
Studies on Vitamin D and Breast Cancer Risk
Most of the studies about Vitamin D and breast cancer risk focus on vitamin D from the sun rays. What about vitamin D from food sources? Many studies have been conducted to find out their roles in treating and preventing breast cancer. Research findings the benefits of vitamin D derived from foods and supplement for preventing and treating breast cancer remain inconclusive. Studies reported varied findings, including:
- PloS One study, which was conducted in 2011, fond that women who took more vitamin D were had 6% lower risk for developing breast cancer
- Another PloS One study, which was conducted in 2013, did not found real evidence on the benefits of vitamin D supplements in lowering the risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women.
- A study published in Nutrition and Cancer in 2013 did not report the relationship between vitamin D in foods and breast cancer risk
- A recent study from the University of Rochester reported that women who took less vitamin D had more aggressive form of breast cancer.
So, can vitamin D reduce your risk for developing breast cancer? Although it is too early to conclude that vitamin D can help lowering breast cancer risk, your body still needs at least 400 to 800 international units of vitamin D every day from foods or supplements, since the benefits of vitamin D are important for your bone health.