Vitamin D For Breast Cancer - Both Diet & Sunlight Sources Needed
Posted Dec 21 2010 10:43am
Several studies over the last couple of years have suggested that adequate blood levels of vitamin D might help reduce breast cancer risk or the risk of breast cancer recurrence in breast cancer survivors. However, the studies on vitamin D for breast cancer protection have been inconsistent with some studies suggesting that dietary supplementation with vitamin D might not have any breast cancer protective benefits.
One group of breast cancer researchers has suggested that the potential benefits of vitamin D might not be through dietary intakes alone or through sunlight exposure alone, but rather due to a combination of dietary intake and sunlight exposure . To test their theory, these breast cancer researchers evaluated the link between vitamin D intake, the daily amount of ultraviolet radiation exposure (sunlight) at home, and breast cancer risk in premenopausal and postmenopausal French women. The results of this breast cancer research project showed that
Intake of vitamin D from foods was not associated with breast cancer risk
Consumption of vitamin D in the form of dietary supplements was also not linked to breast cancer risk.
In regions where exposure to ultraviolet radiation was highest, high dietary intake of vitamin D from foods reduced breast cancer risk by about 32% in postmenopausal women.
Similarly, a combination of high sunlight exposure and high vitamin D intake from dietary supplements reduced postmenopausal breast cancer risk by about 45%.
This is an interesting breast cancer research study that shows the possible importance of getting adequate amounts of vitamin D through a combined approach. According to this most recent study, dietary intakes of vitamin D, whether from foods or dietary supplements like a multivitamin, might not be enough by itself to provide breast cancer protection benefits. Rather, a combination of dietary vitamin D consumption and adequate amounts of sunlight exposure appear to provide the greatest benefit. If further research continues to suggest that a combined approach towards vitamin D intake is best in regards to our fight against breast cancer, then it will be necessary to overcome a couple of obstacles. First, it will be important to balance the amount of sunlight needed, getting enough for breast cancer protection without damaging our skin with overexposure. Second, it will be necessary to find an approach that works best for individuals living in Northern climates where sunlight exposure is reduced, especially during winter months, making it difficult to get adequate amounts of vitamin D from the sun. While these issues will require further research, combining a healthy, nutrient-rich diet with a good daily walk in the sun is a great way to get the vitamin D you need.