In my final installment on the sunshine vitamin’s effects on cancer prevention, we’ll look at how it could help shield against breast cancer. And I leave you with some important final thoughts.
*Read the first three parts of this series here:
Part 1: The Cancer-fighting Vitamin Revealed
Part 2: More Great News on the Cancer-fighting Vitamin
Part 3: How This Vitamin Supports Cancer Prevention
In the first national nutrition survey, 190 adult women with breast cancer were found amid a random sampling of about 5,000 women. This study showed that vitamin D could protect a woman from breast cancer up to 20 years later! Thus, proper vitamin-D intake at all times during life is important.
Another long-term study with more than 88,000 women showed that higher levels of vitamin D were linked with a lower breast cancer risk in premenopausal women. More calcium and vitamin D meant less dense breast tissue, in which cancer thrives. For postmenopausal women, getting at least 1,250 milligrams (mg) of calcium meant a lower risk of breast cancer than those getting under 500 mg. But here calcium and vitamin-D supplements didn’t have any impact on cancer risk.
A study from Norway strongly suggests that getting high levels of vitamin D3 from sunlight at the time a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer improves the prognosis.
Vitamin D’s protection might extend to many other cancers, too. For example, some scientists have shown that UV light and vitamin D could reduce an incredible 17 different types of cancer, including: bladder, non Hodgkin’s lymphoma, uterine cancer, renal, rectal, prostate, ovarian, gastric, esophageal, colon, and breast. More studies, as usual, need to be done.
I and my colleagues in the area of vitamins offer these five bits of advice about improving your vitamin-D levels and maintaining good health:
1. Request a blood measurement of active vitamin D as part of every physical.
2. Reasonable exposure to the sun in the spring, the summer and the fall is about 15 minutes a day. The best times are between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., with your arms, legs, face and hands exposed.
3. After the initial exposure, apply a quality sunscreen to protect your skin.
4. If you do not get sun exposure in a day, take 1,000 IU of vitamin D through diet and through supplements.
5. Foods include fatty fish, shrimp, liver, eggs, enriched milk, and dairy products, and fortified bread and cereals.