Vitamin D is a crucial nutrient that is essential for helping with calcium absorption and healthy bones. It also plays a part in helping the muscle, immune and nervous systems to function properly. Vitamin D is typically produced when the skin is exposed to sunlight. Other sources of vitamin D include fish, eggs and fortified milk products. Because more people are spending most of their time away from direct sunlight or wearing sunscreen, the production of vitamin D from the sun is becoming more limited.
Research is beginning to show that women with limited levels of vitamin D have a higher breast cancer risk. Vitamin D could play a crucial role in promoting healthy breast cell growth and preventing the development of breast cancer.
What Does the Research Say About Vitamin D?
A recent study on vitamin D and breast cancer was conducted with over 3,300 women. The study was completed in 2017. Every participant was over the age of 55 and free of cancer at the beginning of the study. The study examined the levels of vitamin D in the bloodstream. The study concluded that women with higher levels of vitamin D in their bloodstream had as little as one-fifth the risk of breast cancer compared to women with low levels of vitamin D. According to Dr. Marissa Weiss, the founder of Breastcancer.org, “We know vitamin D keeps bones strong. It has an important role in normal cell growth.”
How does Vitamin D Function?
Vitamin D helps the muscles in the body to move and aids the nerves in carrying signals. It also works to strengthen the immune system and prevent disease. It’s vital to overall health and well-being.
Steps to Take
One of the difficult things about a vitamin D deficiency is that a person usually doesn’t show any obvious symptoms. The only way to confirm low levels of vitamin D is by a blood test to check the levels of vitamin D in the bloodstream. Because of the recent findings linking a vitamin D deficiency with breast cancer, it’s especially crucial that women get their levels of vitamin D tested.
Low vitamin D levels can be treated through exposure to direct sunlight, supplements and food. As little as 15 minutes of exposure to direct sunlight can be enough to activate the production of vitamin D in the body. Experts do recommend that sunscreen still be worn with longer periods of exposure to sunlight. A doctor should be consulted to determine the proper amount of vitamin D supplements necessary to restore adequate levels of this important nutrient. Most health professionals recommend taking the D3 form of the vitamin. Foods with high levels of vitamin D should be considered. Some of these include eggs, fortified dairy products, salmon, oysters, sardines and trout.