Vitamin D and Breast Cancer
Vitamin D and Breast Cancer
Yet another study has been published, in Endocrinology, demonstrating the connection between breast cancer occurrence and vitamin D deficiency. The researchers found that not only do breast cancer patients frequently have preexisting vitamin D deficiency, but that breast cancer patients with D deficiency have a higher propensity for a more aggressive phenotype as well as worse prognostic indicators with higher likelihood of metastases. Vitamin D works by inhibiting the expression of the genes of the tumor cells, thereby preventing their growth and replication.
This news confirms what previous studies have confirmed regarding many types of cancers and vitamin D. Not only is breast cancer prevented and inhibited by vitamin D, but prostate, melanoma and many others have been found to also be prevented and inhibited by vitamin D levels.
While the best source of vitamin D is from direct exposure of our skin to sunlight, even during summer months it is not always possible or realistic to be able to get outside for long enough periods of time on a day-to-day basis to maintain optimum levels of vitamin D. Many of us work 8-12 hours a day under the glare of indoor lighting and never really see the light of day.
And while there are some food sources of vitamin D, such as egg yolks, cheese, and fatty fish, the amounts are small and many of our patients can’t eat eggs or dairy products due to food allergies.
This leaves us with supplementation. The goal of blood levels of vitamin D is 60-80 ng/ml if the goal is to have the best shot of preventing and inhibiting cancer. This means that a daily supplement amount of 6000-10000 i.u. is needed to maintain this blood level…roughly 10 times higher than the current RDA suggestion of 800 i.u. per day.
Patients often bring supplements they were taking before working with us so that we can see if they can stay on them, use them up, etc. More often than not, we’re chucking them in the garbage for various reasons. Regarding vitamin D, many brands manufacture them with a base oil of soy or corn oil. Since we tell our patients not to consume these oils, you do not want them in your daily supplements. Some D capsules are very low dose. Some are made with various added colors (why?!).
The vitamin D supplements that we prescribe in our line of supplements are either in a base oil of pure medium chain triglycerides (MCT) from coconut oil or olive oil. Our liquid drops, D Emulse, are emulsified to further ensure absorbability into the body. They are in a dose of 2000 i.u. per drop, allowing flexibility to change doses as needed based on periodic blood testing.
Our capsule form of vitamin D, D3-5000, is a high dose, allowing the patient to not have to swallow 10 capsules a day to keep levels optimized.
Be sure, if you are supplementing at these levels, to have your vitamin D levels checked every 6-12 months to ensure that it doesn’t get too high (if so, simply drop your dose down, but stay on it). You also want to be sure that blood levels of calcium don’t get too high. Some patients may need added vitamin K to ensure that calcium is not only absorbed into the blood stream by vitamin D, but that it gets pulled into bone stores. Vitamin K is the vitamin responsible for the uptake of calcium from blood to bones. Keeping calcium from building up in the blood stream is important for preventing arterial plaques.
To learn more about Vitamin D read: 12 Facts You Probably never Knew About Vitamin D and Sunlight
And this summer, get out and enjoy the sun!