Nourishing our body with vitamin-rich foods every day helps us stay as healthy. On the other hand, not getting enough vitamins we need means we’ll be more likely to develop serious health conditions and chronic diseases as we age. New research specifically highlights that a vitamin D deficiency can cause a greater risk of breast cancer.
A recent study published in Nutrition and Cancer looked at the how daily intake of this vitamin negatively affected breast cancer risk in a total of 402 women. Out of the participants, 154 were diagnosed with breast cancer and 248 were not. Almost 52 percent of the participants were unaware of their vitamin D levels at the start of the study.
Using a hypothesis test, researchers found that participants 41 to 50-years-old from both groups were the most likely to experience a vitamin D deficiency. Also, women who lived in urban areas had a 12 percent greater risk of having this deficiency compared to women who lived in rural areas. They noted that those who didn’t get enough vitamin D on a daily basis had a higher chance of getting breast cancer. Previous studies have mentioned that vitamin D plays an important role in how the mammary gland regulates calcium production, especially during hormone differentiation. Researchers concluded that this deficiency is necessary for women of all ages to pay attention to and avoid.
In addition to an increased risk of breast cancer, a vitamin D deficiency can cause fatigue, weakness, and body aches. If you’re experiencing any or all of those symptoms, visit your doctor to pinpoint if it’s due to low vitamin D levels. Following the recommendation from the National Institutes of Health, women 51 to 70-years-old should be getting 600 IU of vitamin D a day.
The experts at Breastcancer.org offer some easy ways to boost your vitamin D levels to reduce your risk of breast cancer altogether. They suggest stepping outside to enjoy the sun for 15 minutes three times a week to get more than the recommended daily amount of vitamin D. “It’s also impossible to overdose on vitamin D from the sun.” (Psst: Remember to apply some SPF before you leave the house to ward off sun damage all year round!)
Also, looking for yogurt, soy milk, and orange juice that reads “fortified with vitamin D” on the label allows you to get the right amount of this vitamin from your favorite pantry staples. Full-fat milk is packed with this key vitamin and has an extra perk for lowering your heart disease risk. Eating fish like salmon, sardines, and catfish are great because they’re rich in vitamin D and make for a tasty snack or main course for dinner (yum!).
You can also get the recommended dose through vitamin D supplements, which are quick to take in the morning to start your day off right. Just be sure to speak with your doctor before supplementing so that you know the right amount of capsules to take.
These everyday tips will help you avoid a vitamin D deficiency and bothersome symptoms that can come along with it. Plus, your body will be protected against breast cancer as well.