What can vitamin D really do for the body? According to a new study, great amounts of vitamin D may reduce the risks of developing breast cancer in women.
Vitamin D Concentrations In The Blood
Researchers of a new study state that there are already many studies stating that vitamin D can help reduce the risks of developing breast cancer in women. So far, however, not many have assessed this association across a broad range of vitamin D concentrations, especially in concentrations >40 ng/ml. Perhaps this is because the current recommendation for healthy levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D by the National Academy of Medicine is just at 20 ng/ml.
To investigate on the relationship between different ranges of vitamin D concentrations and breast cancer risk, researchers gathered their data from two clinical trials and a prospective cohort, which followed a total of over 5,000 women for four years. The prospective cohort was conducted to study the association between breast cancer risk in women and a wide range of serum 25(OH)D concentrations, which is the primary form of vitamin D in the bloodstream. 25(OH)D concentrations ranged from <20 ng/ml to >60 ng/mg.
The average age of the participants is 63 years old, with none of them below 55 years old and none of them with breast cancer at the time of enrollment. The data was collected between the years of 2002 and 2017, and vitamin D levels in the blood were measured with every visit.
Reduced Breast Cancer Risk
Amazingly, researchers found that the women with 25(OH)D concentrations greater than 60 ng/ml had just one-fifth the breast cancer risks of the women who had 20 ng/ml of 25(OH)D or less.
“Increasing vitamin D blood levels substantially above 20 ng/ml appears to be important for the prevention of breast cancer,” said Sharon Mcdonnell, first author of the study.
To reach such beneficial levels, however, a person may have to take 4,000 to 6,000 international units or IU of dietary supplements every day, perhaps less if they have ample sun exposure.
So far, dietary supplement recommendations are much lower. Infants are recommended to take just 400 IU of Vitamin D3 daily, while people from age 1 up to 70 are recommended to take 600 IU. At most, people over 70 years old are recommended to take 800 IU. Evidently, the matter of proper and healthy minimum vitamin D recommendation is still hotly debated.
That said, the study only revealed results for postmenopausal breast cancer, and all the women in the study were white women. In this regard, further research is needed if the benefits of vitamin D is the same for premenopausal breast cancer, and for the women of different ethnic backgrounds. Still, researchers believe that the results of their research show a strong link between vitamin D and reduced breast cancer risk.
The study is published in PLOS ONE.