Increased bone fractures, incontinence, and now breast cancer can be attributed to vitamin D insufficiency.
An astonishing new study presented at the American Society of Breast Surgeons annual meeting says that women with a vitamin D deficiency have a two and a half times greater risk of developing breast cancer. And for those who have already been diagnosed with it, their prognosis is worse if they have a vitamin D deficiency, which is why breast surgeons are now encouraged to monitor their patients’ vitamin D levels.
There is a growing body of evidence suggesting a link between vitamin D deficiency and causes of breast cancer, but a study of 155 women who underwent surgery for breast cancer and were monitored for vitamin D levels seems to have nailed a connection. Besides being more likely to get breast cancer, those patients who did get it had more aggressive forms and a higher recurrence rate when their vitamin D levels were low.
What to do now
So what’s a gal to do? Too much D-laden food like ice cream, cheese, milk and the like may cause the ever-dreaded hip and thigh widening effect. While the average person on a good diet may have enough vitamin D, research is finding that many of us do not. In that case, D supplements along with some sun exposure can get you back to normal.
How much is enough?
Now that you are dying to know how much D you should be taking, the Institute of Medicine says that a minimum daily allowance for adult women is 600 International Units, or 15 micrograms; but many physicians recommend a much higher dose, even 2 to 3 times that much.
Vitamin D is found in supplemented milk products, and also in egg yolks and fatty fish, such as tuna and salmon. Milk products contribute 60% of our vitamin D intake. Sunlight activates vitamin D in the body so if you avoid the sun in order to preserve your skin, you may need to find a balance.
Add in a little sun
According to researchers at Boston University Medical Center, “Sensible sun exposure (usually 5-10 min of exposure of the arms and legs or the hands, arms, and face, 2 or 3 times per week) and increased dietary and supplemental vitamin D intakes are reasonable approaches to guarantee vitamin D sufficiency.”
Here’s to popping D and hanging our arms out the car door window to save our ta-tas!
About the author: Diana Tucker’s kids grew up hearing “It’s scientifically proven” long before they ever heard “Get that thing out of your nose … mouth … eye … [pick a body part of your choice],” because her reporting job requires attendance at all major medical meetings. She enjoys reporting latest medical findings to her girlfriends now that her kids no longer listen to her.