Women and Breast Cancer risk

Breast cancer is a BIG deal in women. 1 out of every 7 women will receive that diagnosis in her lifetime. Chances are we all know someone who has had this type of cancer and we do not want ourselves or someone we love to be next.

There is one thing that I have run across that I feel needs to be known by all women. It is a study that shows a 50% reduction in breast cancer risk for women with highest vs. lowest levels of Vitamin D on a blood test. You can read the full journal article here: Vitamin D and prevention of breast cancer: pooled analysis - PubMed (

The summary of this, however, is that women who had the highest levels of Vitamin D (52 ng/mL on a blood test) versus the lowest levels (less than 13 ng/mL on a blood test) had a 50% reduction in their risk of breast cancer.

Breast cancer is obviously a complex issue and I don't want to over-simplify it, but I do believe all women (and men for that matter!) should know their Vitamin D levels. This is a super easy test to add to any routine blood test or it can be done with a simple finger stick.

The reason it's so important to test this nutrient is because it is a fat soluble vitamin. This means that if you take too much, it can build up in your body. Other vitamins like Vitamin C, B vitamins and many others are water soluble and will be excreted if taken in high quantities. I have actually seen people come to see me with toxic levels of Vitamin D because they were taking way too much. In addition to being toxic at high levels, taking large doses of supplemental Vit. D signals your body to stop producing it like it should. We certainly don't want that to happen. It it for that reason that I like testing and maintaining levels in the 50-75 ng/mL range.

The proper dosing of Vitamin D can also be very individual. There are certain genetic variations that effect the way a person manufacture's Vitamin D, which can mean they will need an increased amount compared to someone without this genetic variation. However, simply stated, a dosage of somewhere between 2000-5000 IU per day of high quality Vitamin D is usually sufficient to maintain or slightly increase Vitamin D levels. And, don't forget about sunlight! Sun exposure gets a bad rap, but being outside for 15-20 minutes per day in the sun is very helpful for proper Vitamin D levels.

I wanted all women to know about this, so please share this with the women in your life that you think would benefit from this. There is obviously more to the optimal health puzzle than just Vitamin D levels, but I think this is a great start. Functional health care seeks to address issues like nutrient deficiency before they become full-blown diseases.

Yours in Health,

Dr. Jeni

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