Washington: Women who "gorge on" vitamin D are less likely to develop breast cancer, suggests a pair of studies that add to already strong evidence that the "sunshine vitamin" helps prevent many types of cancer.
High levels of vitamin D translated to a 50 per cent lower risk of breast cancer, one study found. Even modestly higher levels resulted in 10 per cent less risk, which would translate to 20,000 fewer cases a year if it were true of all American women.
A second study, by Canadian researchers, found that women who spent time outdoors or got a lot of vitamin D from their diets or supplements especially as teens, were 25 per cent to 45 per cent less likely to develop breast cancer than women with less of the nutrient.
"Exposure to vitamin D at the time breasts are developing, particularly around adolescence, might be important," said lead researcher Julia Knight of Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto.
Both studies were presented on TUesday at a meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research. The body makes vitamin D from sunlight, but sun exposure is controversial because of the risk of skin cancer.
Many health experts see little harm in 15 minutes several times a week. Vitamin D is found in salmon, tuna and other oily fish, and is routinely added to milk, but diet accounts for very
little of the nutrient that actually makes it into the bloodstream.