Vitamin D is in the news again as a benefit in diverse diseases.
New research shows that vitamin D and high dose may be a useful treatment in young women with an abnormality in the BRCA1 gene, who have the deadly triple negative breast cancer. So-called triple negative, (because it is missing three hormone receptors) breast cancer is considered a very aggressive type of cancer that often occurs in young women. In this new research which you can read about HERE, researchers have found the vitamin D in sufficient dose may significantly improve the prognosis of women with this very serious cancer.
BRCA1 is an important tumor suppressor gene that is involved in repairing DNA breaks, which is a danger to the integretity of the DNA itself. BRCA1 is like a safeguard to the genes. With a BRCA1 Mutation, that is a loss of BRCA1 itself which results in gene instability with unreparied DNA breaks and chromosome abnormalities that compromises the cell’s life.
You can read the details in the articles below if you’re interested. But basically what the vitamin D is found to do, is to increase the level of another DNA factor called 53BP1, which is like a cofactor to BRCA1. The increased level of the 53BP1 results in an increased ability of the cell to stabilize its DNA which is otherwise broken down by in the absence of BRCA1.
So the big implication here is that vitamin D may be very helpful in this aggressive type of breast cancer.
As all my patients and readers know I’m a big proponent of giving sufficient doses of vitamin D to all patients who have had breast cancer. This article is exciting because it is now beginning to show the underlying biochemistry of what epidemiologic articles have told us for many many years.
In addition, equally important is preventing breast cancer. Nine of the world’s leading researchers published an article in 2007 showing that if women would keep their Vitamin D blood test at 52 ng/ml, epidemiological data says we would cut the incidence of breast cancer by 50%. Since that level is not harmful to anybody, what is wrong with keeping our levels of vitamin D in that range, until MORE data comes in?