If you’re looking for ways to reduce your risk of cancer, especially breast cancer, it’s worth noting that several studies have found a connection between healthy vitamin D3 levels and a reduced risk of developing certain types of cancer.
While more research is needed to determine whether these connections are causal (meaning healthy vitamin D3 levels actually cause the reduced cancer rates) or corollary (meaning the presence of healthy vitamin D3 levels and lower cancer rates together are simply coincidental), the connection is well worth considering.
This article explains 3 potential benefits of vitamin D3 on breast cancer, based on studies by UCSD and Stanford.
1. Healthy Vitamin D3 Levels May Reduce the Risk of Breast Cancer
Two epidemiologists, Cedric and Frank Garland, noticed that cancer rates were higher in places with less sunlight while places with more sunlight (such as those at lower latitudes) had lower rates of cancer.
They believed the reason for these patterns of higher cancer rates is that less sunlight means less vitamin D3 absorption and availability.
The Garland brothers compared cancer risks and vitamin D3 levels in the blood and found that people with higher levels of D3 had lower rates of certain types of cancer, while those with lower levels of vitamin D3 had higher rates of those types of cancer.
You can check out UCSD’s article here for more information.
While the National Institute of Health suggests a blood level of 20 ng/ml, the Garlands and their colleagues found that those with 50 ng/ml had a 50% lower risk of breast cancer.
In addition to lower rates of breast cancer, healthy vitamin D3 levels have also been connected to reduced rates of lung, bladder, prostate, ovarian, and lymphoma cancers.
2. Higher Vitamin D3 Levels may Reduce Cancer Aggression Levels
A study published by Dr. Brian J Feldman at Stanford School of Medicine and published in the journal, Endocrinology and the National Cancer Institute found that mice injected with breast cancer tumor cells and fed a low vitamin D diet developed tumors more quickly and more prominent than mice in a control study.
Additionally, they found that cancer cells that were more aggressive and metastatic tended to have lower levels of Vitamin D Receptors when compared to mice with healthy levels of vitamin D.
In addition to growing tumors more quickly and in much larger sizes, mice with lower vitamin D levels were also more likely to have more aggressive and metastatic (spreading) cancer cells and tumors.
Dr. Feldman and his colleagues summarized: “Our results indicate that loss of vitamin D/VDR signaling is sufficient to convert the cells from nonmetastatic to metastatic.”
3. Vitamin D3 may Inhibit the Cancer Process
Cancerous cells reproduce at an unnatural rate, collect into tumors, and live much longer than noncancerous cells typically do.
In addition, cancerous cells cause inflammation and lead to increased blood vessels to feed the tumor and the cancerous cells.However, vitamin D3 may be able to prevent much of this unwanted behavior.
According to GrassrootsHealth, Vitamin D3 stops uncontrolled reproduction of cells, initiates programmed (natural) cell death, prevents inflammation, prevents new blood vessels from feeding cancerous cells, and prevents cancerous cells from spreading.
While more studies on Vitamin D3 and breast cancer are necessary to ensure these findings are caused by vitamin D3 (and not simply coincidentally occurring), there is a strong correlation between healthy vitamin D3 levels and reduced risk and severity of breast cancer.
Roughly 1 in 3 adults in the United States is vitamin D deficient; increasing daily vitamin D3 intake an easy way to help prevent cancer and provide our bodies with the necessary nutrients for healthy living.
Vitamin D3 helps our bodies absorb calcium and can be absorbed through our skin from sunlight or by taking daily supplements. There are no known adverse effects of taking the recommended amount of vitamin D3 (generally up to 250mcg).