Vitamin D May Lower the Risk of Breast Cancer

Every week there is some latest news about Vitamin D and its health benefits. In fact, some people even believe that Vitamin D can cure anything and everything under the sun.

For the past two decades, millions of people have been consuming Vitamin D in the hope that they will live longer and be free of all chronic disorders. Now another study claims that Vitamin D can decrease the risk of breast cancer in post-menopausal women.

This new research shows that individuals with high levels of Vitamin D in their bloodstream had a significantly lower risk of breast cancer. Unfortunately, the literature on the topic of Vitamin D and cancer is confusing and difficult to interpret; many of the studies are observational and retrospective in nature. Plus, most of these studies are not randomized, and the follow-up is very short. Some studies say that Vitamin D can lower the risk of cancer, while there are others that say the exact opposite.

Last year a study was published that suggested that low levels of Vitamin D were associated with a high risk of bladder cancer, but this was not a universal finding.  Previous research has also suggested a link between high levels of Vitamin D and better survival rates in women going through treatment for breast cancer.

In this latest study from the University of California, San Diego researchers analyzed two randomized clinical trials and one prospective cohort study.

Their study was conducted in collaboration with researchers from Creighton University and the Medical University of South Carolina. Findings reveal that high levels of Vitamin D in the blood are associated with a lower risk of breast cancer.

The study had a total of nearly 5,000 patients. All participants were women with an average age of 63 years and no baseline breast cancer. The health of the participants was followed-up for a mean period of 4 years.

What the researchers observed was that the higher the level of Vitamin D in the blood, the lower the risk of breast cancer.  While this study does show a strong association of Vitamin D with breast cancer, no one knows what the exact level of Vitamin D in the can provide this therapeutic benefit. Also, it is still unclear whether everyone with high levels of Vitamin D will never develop breast cancer? Can Vitamin D supplements decrease the risk of breast cancer?

Unfortunately, such studies do not offer a clear-cut cause and effect because cancer is a complex disease and many other factors are involved. This particular study was also limited to women who were postmenopausal, and thus, it is not known if Vitamin D can lower the risk of breast cancer in premenopausal women. Therefore, while there is no doubt that Vitamin D provides several health benefits, one should not consume it with the belief that they can never get breast cancer. More research needs to be conducted before such a conclusion can be drawn.