Women with breast cancer have low vitamin D levels

Oct 09, 2009

Women with breast cancer should be given high doses of vitamin D because a majority of them are likely to have low levels of vitamin D, which could contribute to decreased bone mass and greater risk of fractures, according to scientists at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

In a study of 166 women undergoing treatment for , nearly 70 percent had low levels of vitamin D in their blood, according to a study being presented Thursday, Oct. 8, at the American Society of Clinical Oncology's Breast Cancer Symposium in San Francisco. The analysis showed women with late-stage disease and non-Caucasian women had even lower levels.

"Vitamin D is essential to maintaining bone health, and women with breast cancer have accelerated bone loss due to the nature of hormone therapy and chemotherapy. It's important for women and their doctors to work together to boost their vitamin D intake," said Luke Peppone, Ph.D., research assistant professor of , at Rochester's James P. Wilmot Cancer Center. He is a member of the National Cancer Institute's Community Clinical Oncology Program research base in Rochester.

Scientists funded by the NCI analyzed vitamin D levels in each woman, and the average level was 27 nanograms per milliliter; more than two-thirds of the women had . Weekly supplementation with high doses of vitamin D -- 50,000 international units or more -- improved the levels, according to Peppone's study.

The U.S. Institute of Medicine suggests that blood levels nearing 32 nanograms per milliliter are adequate.

This problem is not unexpected, Peppone said, because previous studies have shown that nearly half of all men and women are deficient in the nutrient, with vitamin D levels below 32 nanograms per milliliter. , obtained from milk, fortified cereals and exposure to sunlight, is well known to play an essential role in cell growth, in boosting the body's immune system and in strengthening bones.

Source: University of Rochester Medical Center (news : web)

Explore further: Nutrition literacy needs cross-curriculum learning

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Low vitamin D levels pose large threat to health

Aug 11, 2008

Researchers at Johns Hopkins are reporting what is believed to be the most conclusive evidence to date that inadequate levels of vitamin D, obtained from milk, fortified cereals and exposure to sunlight, lead to substantially ...

Recommended for you

Blending faith and science to combat obesity

21 minutes ago

Science and religion may seem like uneasy partners at times, but when it comes to promoting healthy lifestyles, one UConn Health researcher has shown they can be an effective combination.

Research project puts stroke patients back on their feet

28 minutes ago

Finding the will to exercise routinely can be challenging enough for most people, but a stroke presents even more obstacles. Yet aerobic exercise may be crucial for recovery and reducing the risk of another ...

Air quality and unconventional oil and gas sites

3 hours ago

Research suggesting air pollutants released by unconventional oil and gas production are well over recommended levels in the US is published today in the open access journal Environmental Health. High levels of benzene, hydrog ...

FDA cautions against 'undeclared' food allergens

15 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Some food labels may not reliably list all possible food allergens, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The agency added that these "undeclared allergens" are the leading cause ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.