Did you know there's a blood test that could save your life if you ever get breast cancer? The good news is there is such a test. But there's just one trick. You have to take the test and take this one nutrient BEFORE you are diagnosed.
That blood test is for vitamin D. Yes, it is that simple. Your vitamin D levels can predict whether or not you're likely to die from breast cancer. But if you haven't been taking supplemental D prior to your diagnosis, you may have waited too long.
A study published in the journal Anticancer Research found that you need sufficient D at the time you're diagnosed to experience the protective benefits. Taking it afterward isn't enough.
This study analyzed five other studies of vitamin D serum concentrations obtained with a breast cancer diagnosis. The study examined 4,443 women over an average time of nine years. The researchers divided the women into quintiles based on vitamin D serum concentrations. Those in the highest quintile, who had an average of 30 ng/mL, were half as likely to die from breast cancer compared to those in the lowest group, whose average was only 17 ng/mL.
Researchers believe vitamin D increases your chance of survival because it turns on a protein that helps prevent aggressive cell division. If tumor cells have vitamin D receptors - which they typically do until a tumor is advanced - vitamin D will help keep the tumor from growing and expanding its blood supply. Of course, if you can keep a tumor for growing, it's a lot less likely to be fatal.
Unfortunately, breast cancer is the most common cancer for women in the world. In 2012, half a million died from the disease. In the U.S. alone in 2013, there were 40,000 deaths from breast cancer. Start protecting yourself now!
While the study didn't address whether or not supplementing with vitamin D was beneficial after diagnoses, it's easy to understand why you need high vitamin D levels before you develop a tumor. Since the vitamin D keeps the tumor from spreading, you want to have high levels from day one.
Other research suggests that the levels in this study were too low. It's essential to get your serum levels into the normal range of 50-74 ng/mL before it's too late. This is why I suggest you take 5,000 IU of Vitamin D every day. While this amount may seem too high, it's not. I'll tell you how much is too much in an article I'm researching that will explain all this and more. You won't want to miss this one! Look for it this summer.
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Your voice of reason in Women's Health,
Dr. Janet Zand
Anticancer Research, March 2014.