The connection between fibroids and vitamin D has been properly researched and evaluated. Generally speaking, there is a number of risk factors for fibroids: African-American race, elevated body mass index (BMI), premenopausal status, positive family history, to name some of the most common. However, one that is often overlooked and easily remedied is low vitamin D.
While vitamin D is often grouped into the fat-soluble vitamin category including vitamin A, E, K and others, technically it is a prohormone. A prohormone is a substance that gets converted inside our body into an active substance affecting certain processes in our body in other words becoming a hormone.
Where Do I Source Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is very important in building and maintaining adequate healthy bones through the regulation of calcium and phosphorous in our body. The best source of vitamin D is the sun. Vitamin D is produced from cholesterol in the skin with the help of sunlight (specifically UVB rays). Women of color have a harder time getting adequate vitamin D through exposure to the sun because of the pigment in their skin. Fortunately, we can also get vitamin D from certain foods (e.g. wild salmon, wild tuna, cod liver oil, eggs, sardines) and supplements.
Can Vitamin D Shrink Fibroids?
While no one knows where fibroids come from, we do know what can make them grow. First and foremost, fibroids grow with hormone (estrogen and progesterone) stimulation. Estrogen and progesterone induce fibroid formation as well as growth. That is why fibroids often grow rapidly during pregnancy and why typically they are not an issue for women once they reach menopause.
Vitamin D appears also to play a very important role in fibroid development. The active form of vitamin D has been shown to have powerful anti-estrogenic and anti-progesteronic effects by decreasing their receptors (Al-Hendy, 2015).
What is Sufficient Vitamin D Consumption?
In a NIH study from 2013 of over 1,000 women, only 10% of African-American women and 50% of Caucasian women had sufficient vitamin D levels. Women with adequate vitamin D levels were much less likely to develop fibroids (Epidemology, 2013).
Women should get their vitamin D levels checked with their annual checkup and use a Vitamin D supplement to raise to a normal level – 400-800IU per day for adults, although some claim 1000-4000IU needed to maintain adequate levels.
It is not recommended that individuals take >4000IU/day without consulting your doctor.
If you are suffering with fibroids, make an appointment to see one of the nation’s leading fibroid experts, John C. Lipman, MD Founder & Medical Director of the Atlanta Fibroid Center by calling 770-953-2600, or make an appointment online.