Studies have shown over and over again how important active prevention is when it comes to lowering your risk of cancer. Prevention may come in the form of exercising, eating a balanced diet full of whole foods, refraining from substance abuse and making sure that your body gets the nutrients it needs to stay healthy.
According to some experts, as much as 90% of ordinary breast cancer may be related to Vitamin D deficiency, and there are several recent studies to back up her claim.
The link between breast cancer and vitamin D
A meta-analysis published in the March 2014 issue of Anticancer Research found that patients diagnosed with breast cancer who had high vitamin D levels were twice as likely to survive, compared to women with low levels of vitamin D.
Over 45,000 breast cancer patients were part of the analysis. Researchers studied the patients over a nine-year period. Co-author of the study, Professor Cedric F. Garland, explained:
“As long as vitamin D receptors were present, tumor growth was prevented and kept from expanding its blood supply. Vitamin D receptors are not lost until a tumor is very advanced. This is the reason for better survival in patients whose vitamin D blood levels are high.”
The researchers urged doctors to make vitamin D monitoring and optimization an important part of standard breast cancer care. They recommend that breast cancer patients should restore their Vitamin D levels to a normal range of 30-80 ng/ml.
In a 2011 study, Dr. Garland found that a vitamin D level of 50 ng/ml is associated with a 50% lower risk of breast cancer. His team concluded a minimum protective level to be 40 ng/ml of vitamin D. This equals out to anywhere from 1,000 IUs to as much as 8,000 IUs of Vitamin D3 each day. This number is much higher than the recommended daily allowance of 600 IUs of vitamin D for adults.
Vitamin D from the sun vs. oral supplements
The best way to optimize your vitamin D levels is to spend time outdoors each day. When you expose your skin to the sun, it synthesizes Vitamin D3 sulfate – a form of vitamin D that is water-soluble. Oral Vitamin D3 supplements are not water-soluble. Water-soluble Vitamin D3 from the sun can travel freely throughout your bloodstream, unlike the unsulfated form that needs LDL cholesterol as a form of transport.
You can check your vitamin D levels by using an at-home kit, or by visiting a health care professional. If you can’t get enough sunshine and you choose an oral vitamin D supplement instead, many experts agree that 35 IUs of vitamin D per pound of body weight can be used to estimate your ideal dose. However, it is better to check your dosage with a health care professional.