Recent studies reported a correlation between vitamin D deficiency and the development of uterine fibroids. So, does that mean that you will definitely get fibroids if you don’t get enough Vitamin D? Not exactly.
Every women’s body is different, and it’s important to understand vitamin D deficiency is only a risk factor for developing fibroids.
Vitamin D and Fibroids: What is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is a group of fat-soluble nutrients that are allow our intestines to absorb and metabolize calcium and phosphate. Many people refer to it as “The Sunshine Vitamin.” Our bodies convert cholesterol into Vitamin D under significant sun exposure. The amount of Vitamin D you can produce from sun exposure is greatly dependent on geographical factors. These factors are proximity to the equator, the time of year and time of day, the amount of melanin present in your body, the amount of air pollution, and the application of sunscreen. There are different types of Vitamin D, however only two types have uses in the human body.
The 2 types of Vitamin D:
- D2: Also known as ergocalciferol, Vitamin D2 mainly comes from plant sources and food that are fortified with essential nutrients. It is only available from food sources. This type of Vitamin D is most popular in fortified foods due to its low production cost.
- D3: Also known as cholecalciferol, our bodies naturally produce Vitamin D3, and it is also found in foods sourced from animals.
What Are Fibroids?
Fibroids are a type of non-cancerous tumor that develop in the uterus or on the walls of the uterus. This condition is not life-threatening, but it can cause serious health complications if left untreated. Women with fibroids often experience painful symptoms that can cause them to frequently miss work or cancel plans. There are different uterine fibroid treatments available, many which do not require removal of the fibroids or the uterus.
Fibroid symptoms can be easily alleviated through a non-surgical treatment method called Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE). At USA Fibroid Centers, we specialize in the treatment of uterine fibroids through the use of UFE.
Vitamin D and Fibroids
People suggest different numbers when calculating if you are deficient or not, but you are typically considered deficient when you have a vitamin D level below 30ng/mL.
The average vitamin D level of the women who had fibroids was 23.3ng/mL.
Based on this, 85% of women diagnosed with fibroids had a significant vitamin D deficiency compared to women who have not been diagnosed with fibroids (general population). Another study found that African-American women were in the group of women who had the lowest vitamin D levels when compared to other racial groups of women.
Researchers estimate that exposing 10% of uncovered skin to sunlight for 10 to 15 minutes would result in about 1,000 IU of vitamin D being made in the skin. This amount would satisfy the body’s daily requirement for vitamin D. In addition, patients who do not have adequate sunlight exposure or already have low bone mass should take Vitamin D supplements regularly. The correct intake of vitamin D for most adults is between 400 to 600 IU. However, in the absence of sunlight or during the winter months, most people need 800 to 1,000 IU to maintain normal vitamin D stores.
If you know you’re already at risk, then it’s very important to increase your vitamin D intake to decrease the risk of getting uterine fibroids.
Many of the reasons that women develop uterine fibroids are unpredictable and vary from person to person. Vitamin D deficiency however, is preventable risk factor, in fact, its a risk with a very simple solution.