Study Finds Vitamin D May Help Prevent and Treat Breast Cancer

While eating well and living a healthy lifestyle does not guarantee a cancer-free life, a new study found that vitamin D may help to prevent breast cancer and inhibit cancer growth.

The study, published in October in the Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, found that vitamin D represses the spreading of breast cancer stem cells. Researchers used a version of the vitamin called BXL0124 to treat ductal carcinoma in situ cells. When left untreated, the cells would progress into invasive ductal carcinoma. When administering the vitamins, researchers found the cancerous cell populations were reduced. 

Vitamin D is made by your body when you are exposed to sunlight. It can also be found in foods like salmon, tuna, pork, eggs, mushrooms, beef, and fortified cereals and milk. According to the Vitamin D Council, the nutrient supports healthy bones because it helps your body to absorb calcium. It also supports a strong immune system, brain development, and efficient cardiovascular and muscle functioning. Vitamin D has also been known to have anti-cancer effects. 

To get a healthy dose of the vitamin, you must be exposed to sunlight regularly. During different times of the year this may be difficult, and people may choose to take a vitamin D supplement. Severe deficiency of the nutrient can lead to rickets in kids and osteomalacia in adults. Poor vitamin D intake has been linked to asthma, high blood pressure, depression, multiple sclerosis, Crohn's disease, type-1 diabetes, Alzheimers and even cancer. 

To learn if you are getting enough vitamin D, ask your doctor to perform a simple blood test. The sample will be analyzed to see the amount of 25(OH)D, which determines the level of the nutrient in your body. If you do not have enough vitamin D, your doctor may suggest eating more D-rich foods or prescribe a supplement.

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