by Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Each year, roughly 200,000 women undergo a surgical procedure that involves the removal of their uteruses due to the growth of non-cancerous tumors known as uterine fibroids, which commonly develop in and around the walls of the uterus. But a new study published online in the journal Biology of Reproduction has found that vitamin D may effectively reduce the size of existing uterine fibroids, and may even help prevent them from forming in the first place.
For their study, Sunil K. Halder, Ph.D., and colleagues tested the effects of vitamin D on a group of rats said to be genetically predisposed to fibroid tumors. Twelve rats were divided into two groups of six, one of which received a continuous dose of vitamin D daily, and the other not receiving any treatment. The vitamin D group of rats received the human equivalent of what would be 1,400 international units (IU) of vitamin D daily.
After the three-week study period was completed, researchers noted that the untreated group of rats experienced significant enlarging of their fibroid tumors, while the vitamin D group experienced a significant shrinking of theirs. Overall, the vitamin D group’s tumors were roughly 75 percent smaller than the untreated group’s tumors, which demonstrates a clear causal relationship between vitamin D and the shrinking of fibroid tumors.
“The study results provide a promising new lead in the search for a non-surgical treatment for fibroids that doesn’t affect fertility,” said Louis De Paolo, Ph.D., chief of the Reproductive Sciences Branch of the National Institutes of Health‘s (NIH) Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
The findings are great news for women, since vitamin D is safe and side effect-free; inexpensive; and beneficial in a wide range of other therapeutic uses. Rather than have to undergo a highly-invasive surgical procedure, in other words, many women with developing fibroid tumors may potentially benefit from simply exposing themselves more regularly to natural sunlight, or by supplementing with natural vitamin D3 pills.
Since more than half the population is deficient in vitamin D, according to a 2010 study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, most people would benefit from recommendations to add a little extra vitamin D into their health regimen. Whether it is uterine fibroids, heart problems, chronic infections and illnesses, neurological problems, respiratory ailments, or skin diseases, natural vitamin D has been shown to provide therapeutic benefits with no negative side effects.
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