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Do Low Vitamin D Levels Increase Breast Cancer Risk?

Menopausal women with low levels of vitamin D have a higher risk of developing breast cancer, according to a new study conducted at Sao Paulo State University in Brazil. MedicalNewsToday said researchers hypothesized that higher levels of vitamin D may hinder cancer cell proliferation, playing a role not only in controlling cancer cells. They also noted that the women with breast cancer also had higher BMI levels, or obesity. The findings were reported in the journal Menopause.

Study after study is affirming the role of vitamin D not only in breast cancer prevention, but in numerous cancers as well as in other diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and heart disease. In the case of heart disease, vitamin D plays a vital role in protecting and repairing damage to your endothelium.

According to vitamin D researcher Dr. Michael Holick, vitamin D deficiency — defined as a level below 20 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) or 50 nanomoles per liter (nm/L) — can also raise your risk of heart attack by 50 percent, and if you have a heart attack while vitamin D deficient, your risk of dying is nearly guaranteed.

Other research has also found that low vitamin D levels are connected to premature births, and that vitamin D optimization during a woman’s pregnancy can prevent as many as 60 percent of premature births in the U.S. Not only that, women with a vitamin D level of above 40 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) have a 25 percent lower risk of infections, including respiratory and vaginal infections, which in turn lowers their risk of pregnancy complications.

But, back to breast cancer, it’s now believed that 80 percent of breast cancer incidences could possibly be avoided simply by raising vitamin D level to 60 to 80 ng/mL. One study even showed that women with vitamin D levels above 60 ng/mL had an 83 percent lower risk of breast cancer than those with levels below 20 ng/mL.

Knowing this — along with all the other information that we’ve learned about the connection of cancer to low vitamin D levels — it’s absolutely confounding that every medical professional everywhere is checking their patients’ vitamin D levels, and taking steps to ensure that their patients have adequate levels.

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