It's well-known that vitamin D intake is important for maintaining healthy bones and teeth, regulating calcium and phosphorus absorption and preventing diseases like cancer, type 1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis. But what about other diseases like cancer and, more specifically, breast cancer?
A spanking new study by researchers at Kaiser Permanente and the Roswell Park Cancer Institute has found that higher vitamin D levels are associated with better outcomes for breast cancer survivors. As if you needed another reason to keep your vitamin D levels optimal! Read on for more.
Past studies have linked vitamin D deficiency to higher risk of several types of cancer
Vitamin D is probably best-known for its ability to maintain strong, healthy bones
. On the flip side, vitamin D deficiency is most strongly associated with higher risk of several types of cancer
– and a body of past research supports this.
The most common sources of vitamin D include fatty fish, fish oils, vitamin D supplements, vitamin D milk and, of course, sun exposure.
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Study finds that breast cancer patients with higher vitamin D levels have a 30% better chance of surviving
To test the effects of vitamin D on breast cancer
, the researchers behind the study looked at vitamin D’s role in promoting normal mammary cell development as a key facet in inhibiting cancer cell reproduction.
All in all, the study looked at 1,666 participants. It begun enrolling women who’d been diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in the year 2006. The participants provided blood samples within two months after diagnosis and also answered questions about their lifestyle, diet and other risk factors. The researchers followed up on the participants at six months and at two, four, six and eight years.
The researchers found that women with higher vitamin D levels in their blood following breast cancer diagnosis had much better long-term outcomes.
“We found that women with the highest levels of vitamin D levels had about a 30% better likelihood of survival than women with the lowest levels of vitamin D,” reported Lawrence Kushi, research scientist with the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research.
“The more we know about vitamin D, the more we understand that it may play a key role in cancer prevention and prognosis,” added Kushi. “This study adds to the evidence that vitamin D is an important nutrient.”
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