Why Vitamin D Is So Important
Because of the fact that women with breast cancer are generally deficient in vitamin D – and this is the time of year when we start to get deficiencies, when sunlight is less available or we’re all covered up, I wanted to raise awareness that this is a good time of year for vitamin D supplementation.
Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin because certain amounts of it come from sunshine in an interesting chemical reaction that happens in the skin. While soaking in the sun may seem like a great idea for getting the vitamin D we need, as you are probably aware, it can create problems for us by giving us wrinkly skin and increasing our risk of skin cancer.
Vitamin D is required for a healthy, functioning immune system. It is also required for the proper absorption of calcium and phosphorus — two minerals that are crucial to bone health. Vitamin D also contribute to brain and heart health, as well as maintaining a healthy weight.
The importance of vitamin D cannot be stressed enough. It is no ordinary “vitamin”, it is in fact a steroid hormone that influences nearly every cell in your body. Receptors that respond to vitamin D have been found in nearly every type of human cell, from the bones to the brain, which is why it has such a powerful part to play in the human body.
Vitamin D’s Role In Estrogen Receptor Positive Breast Cancer
As we know, many breast cancers are fueled by estrogen and for those whose tumor cells have estrogen receptors (known as ER+, meaning that this sort of tumor appears to depend on estrogen to grow) there is some really great news about vitamin D.
In a recent study done on mice, researchers reported that calcitriol (the hormonally active form of vitamin D) inhibits the growth of many cancerous cells including breast cancer cells by arresting the cancer cells’ replication cycles. Researchers also found that vitamin D suppressed aromatase, the enzyme that assists with estrogen synthesis in breast cancer cells. Now that’s exciting news! We’re always looking for natural aromatase inhibitors.
The Top 6 Food Sources of Vitamin D
- Fatty fishes like salmon, tuna, sardines, herring, catfish, oysters, trout, halibut (fish oils and cod liver oils have the highest concentrations)
- Fortified orange juice (make sure yours has vitamin D in it)
- Plain yogurt, milk
- 100% whole grain cereals such as oatmeal
- Soy milk, tofu
What I wanted you to be aware of is that most foods do not contain sufficient amounts of vitamin D, so supplementation is advisable, especially at this time of year.
So How Much Is Enough and What Kind of Vitamin D?
According to mercola.com: “When you do supplement with vitamin D, you’ll only want to supplement with natural vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). Do NOT use the synthetic and highly inferior vitamin D2, which is the one most doctors will typically give you in a prescription unless you ask specifically for D3. According to the most recent findings, which involved research on nearly 10,000 people, shows the ideal adult dose appears to be 8,000 IU’s a day to get most into the healthy range.”
If you are concerned about your vitamin D levels, get them checked. The best way to determine the correct dose for you personally is to get your blood levels of vitamin D tested. Accordingly to Dr Mercola, the correct test to ask for from your doctor is 25(OH)D, also called 25-hydroxyvitamin D, which is the better marker of overall D status. This is the marker that is most strongly associated with overall health.
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