You may want to start consuming a vitamin D-rich diet, as according to a recent study, doing so can cut your risk of breast cancer.
Researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine suggested that higher levels of vitamin D were associated with a decreased risk of breast cancer.
The scientists pooled data from two randomized clinical trials with 3,325 combined participants and a prospective study involving 1,713 participants to examine the association between the risk of female breast cancer and a broad range of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentrations, which was chosen as the marker because it is the main form of vitamin D in blood.
All women were aged 55 years or older. The average age was 63. Data was collected between 2002 and 2017. Participants were free of cancer at enrollment and were followed for a mean period of four years. Vitamin D levels in blood were measured during study visits.
Over the course of the combined studies, 77 new cases of breast cancer were diagnosed for an age-adjusted incidence rate of 512 cases per 100,000 person-years.
Researchers identified the minimum healthy level of 25(OH)D in blood plasma to be 60 nanograms per milliliter, substantially higher than the 20 ng/ml recommended in 2010 by the Institute of Medicine, now the National Academy of Medicine, a health advisory group to the federal government. Some groups, such as GrassrootsHealth, have advocated higher minimums for health blood serum levels of vitamin D, as much as 50 ng/ml. The matter remains hotly debated.
“We found that participants with blood levels of 25(OH)D that were above 60 ng/ml had one-fifth the risk of breast cancer compared to those with less than 20 ng/ml,” said principal investigator and co-author Cedric F. Garland. Risk of cancer appeared to decline with greater levels of serum vitamin D.
“This study was limited to postmenopausal breast cancer. Further research is needed on whether high 25(OH)D levels might prevent premenopausal breast cancer,” Garland said. The population was also mainly white women so further research is needed on other ethnic groups.
The study appears in journal PLOS ONE.