Vitamin D Helps Protect Women Against Breast Cancer

 
We have known for a while that vitamin D is potentially protective against various chronic diseases, like cancer.  And we know that raising your vitamin D levels above 20 or 30 ng/mL, which most labs say is normal, is beneficial.  We also been told to be careful not to take too much vitamin D because it can be toxic at high levels.  But what is the optimal range for your best overall health?  Is it better to be on the higher end or the lower end?   
 
It has been common for Functional Medicine practitioners to recommend an optimal level of vitamin D of 40-60 or 50-70 ng/mL or even more for patients with cancer, while conventional MDs often consider vitamin D levels of 20-30 ng/mL to be sufficient.  This is partially because for years we were warned not to take too much of the oil soluble vitamins, like vitamin A and vitamin D, since unlike the water soluble vitamins, the oil soluble ones can build up in your body and become toxic at a certain levels.  However, in recent years we have learned that the upper limits  of vitamin D are much higher than previously thought.  And while some Functional Medicine doctors have been recommending fairly high levels, I have not been confident that there was enough rigorous data to support making an aggressive recommendation for the higher ranges of vitamin D, such as 50-70 ng/mL.       
 
This new review paper found that women who had vitamin D levels above 60 ng/mL had the most protection against breast cancer.  In fact women who had vit D levels above 60 had a 82% lower risk of breast cancer than women who had vitamin D levels below 20 ng/mL.  There was a clear linear relationship between higher levels of vitamin D and lower rates of breast cancer, with more protection at progressively higher levels of vitamin D.  
 
The authors of this paper provide the following explanation for how vitamin D reduces breast cancer risk: “The biologically active form of vitamin D, 1,25(OH)2D3, binds to the vitamin D receptor (VDR) in normal breast epithelium and this complex regulates the cell cycle, promotes differentiation, increases cell-to-cell adhesion, protects cells from DNA damage, regulates cytokines, activates immune cells, and suppresses inflammation, all of which may act to reduce malignant transformations.  In breast cancer cells, this complex also activates apoptosis and other mechanisms to suppress tumor growth”.  

 

Dr. Ben Weitz is a Sports Chiropractor and Functional Medicine practitioner and he is available for both chiropractic care and for nutrition consultations specializing in Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders like IBS/SIBO and Reflux and also specializing in Cardiometabolic Risk Factors like elevated lipids, high blood sugar, and high blood pressure and also weight loss by calling his Santa Monica office 310-395-3111 or going to www.drweitz.com. 

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