Vitamin D: Good Medicine for Uterine Fibroids?
In a recent study released by the National Institute of Health, researchers have concluded that women who have sufficient amounts of vitamin D are 32 percent less likely to develop fibroids than women with insufficient vitamin D.
Participants in the study, 1,036 women between the ages of 35-49 who lived in the Washington, D.C., area from 1996 to 1999, were screened for fibroids using ultrasound, and blood samples were measured to determine the primary circulating form of vitamin D, called 25-hydroxy D. Those participants who had more than 20 nanograms of vitamin D per milliliter of blood were considered sufficient.
The participants also completed a questionnaire detailing how much sun exposure they were receiving on an average day. Those who reported spending more than one hour outside per day showed a decreased risk of fibroids of approximately 40 percent, with some minor variation among black participants compared to white participants.
Fibroid tumors, also known as uterine leiomyomata, are noncancerous tumors of the uterus, which often result in pain and bleeding in perimenopausal women (though heavy bleeding in perimenopause is not necessarily caused by fibroid tumors), and are the leading cause of hysterectomy in the United States. According to Dr. Linda Birnbaum, PhD., director of NIEHS and the National Toxicology Program, the D.C. study “adds to the growing body of literature which shows the benefits of vitamin D.”
Personally, I find this to be a very fascinating study. To think that regular exposure to sunlight just might be helpful in reducing one’s propensity toward fibroid tumors is excellent news. While I have never suffered with fibroid tumors personally, I’ve known plenty of women who have – and indeed, they have suffered.
I’m also all for discovering ways of treating disease which does not involve medically invasive procedures and drugs. Although the study also did not distinguish between vitamin D supplements, as opposed to sunlight exposure, which enables your body to naturally produce vitamin D.
But, either way, this is actually a study which I’m happy to report on. We now have another reason why it’s a good idea to lace up those walking and running shoes ladies, and get thee outside into the sunshine!
Magnolia Miller is a certified healthcare consumer advocate in women's health and a women's freelance health writer and blogger at The Perimenopause Blog.