Women with high blood vitamin D levels after breast cancer diagnosis had a significantly higher than average long-term survival rate. These results come from a study carried out by Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, California and the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in New York State.
Vitamin D, which is considered more of a hormone than a vitamin, is mainly known for its role in the bones and is particularly indicated against osteoporosis. But many studies have shown that a deficiency in this vitamin can lead to several diseases such as cancer. In any case, many studies have shown a correlation but not necessarily a causal link, that is to say a clear link between cancer and vitamin D levels in the blood. Vitamin D can be synthesized in the skin under the effect of UVB rays from the sun. Food supplements are also often chosen as a source of vitamin D, especially in winter and in regions with little sun.
Vitamin D protects good breast cells and fights others
Although the mechanism explaining the influence of vitamin D on breast cancer is not yet well understood, American researchers believe that vitamin D may have a role in the development of normal breast cells, inhibiting reproduction and promoting death of cancer cells. Over 1,600 people were included in this study between 2006 and 2013. Participants provided blood samples within 2 months of diagnosis and answered questions about diet, lifestyle and other risk factors. A follow-up was carried out 6 months, 2, 4, 6 and 8 years later. The scientists also made statistical adjustments, in particular by taking certain factors such as age or obesity that can influence the level of vitamin D in the blood.
How much vitamin D to take?
Although this study did not examine the effects of vitamin D intake through food compared to dietary supplements, the scientists recommend consuming 600 IU of vitamin D per day in people aged 1 to 70. years, pregnant and breastfeeding women and 800 IU in people over 71 years old.
Song Yao, Marilyn L Kwan: Association of Serum Level of Vitamin D at Diagnosis With Breast Cancer Survival: A Case-Cohort Analysis in the Pathways Study. JAMA Oncology. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2016.4188
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