Breast Health: New Research About Vitamin D and Vitamin B6

October is breath health month. The media focus is often on breast exams, mammograms, and there are fearful ads projecting the outcomes. Here is something you might not have heard about: research has demonstrated that many women diagnosed with breast cancer have a low normal or below normal Vitamin D blood levels. While there are many reasons why Vitamin D levels can be low, it happens mainly because we are strongly advised to stay out of the sun. I recommend everything in moderation, like sun exposure, unless you have a history of skin cancer or pre-cancerous lesions. The truth of the matter is that everyone – men, women, and children – should be taking Vitamin D regularly. The quality and source of Vitamin D is important for proper absorption and utilization in the tissues.

Along with Vitamin D, researchers are now finding that another vitamin is also vital to maintain breast health. Vitamin B6 is a water-soluble vitamin, and it can easily be washed out under stress. It is not recommended that you take Vitamin B6 individually, without its other B Vitamin companions. Here is a summary of the new research from the University of Hawaii:

Topic: Vitamin B6 May Prevent Breast Cancer After Menopause
Reference: “Prediagnostic plasma pyridoxal 5′-phosphate (vitamin B6) levels and invasive breastcarcinoma risk: the Multiethnic Cohort,” Lurie G, Wilkens LR, et al, Cancer EpidemiolBiomarkers Prev, 2012 Aug 9.

Summary: A case-control study involving 1412 women found that prediagnostic plasma concentrations of pyridoxal-5′-phosphate (PLP), an active form of vitamin B6, may prevent breast cancer. Cases (n=706) and controls (n=706) were matched for birth date, ethnicity, study site, date of blood draw, time of blood draw, hours of fasting prior to blood draw, and use of menopausal hormones. Results revealed that subjects with plasma PLP with highest concentrations had a reduced risk of invasive breast cancer compared to the women in the lowest PLP quartile. The association was limited to cases with hormone receptor-positive tumors and remained unchanged in the analysis restricted to women with blood samples collected more than one year prior to cancer diagnosis. Data suggests that higher circulating levels of vitamin B6 might be associated with a reduced risk of invasive postmenopausal breast cancer.

It is very important to remember, however, that nutrition is not about one vitamin for health prevention of one disease. Nutrition is about the combination of essential nutrients for your overall health, and consistently making good choices in your healthful eating habits. Make an appointment with me today to discuss your nutritional needs.

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