Women who had sufficient amounts of vitamin D were 32 percent less likely to develop fibroids than women with insufficient vitamin D, according to a study from researchers at the National Institutes of Health.
Fibroids, also known as uterine leiomyomata, are noncancerous tumors of the uterus. Fibroids often result in pain and bleeding in premenopausal women, and are the leading cause of hysterectomy in the United States.
The study of 1,036 women, aged 35-49, living in the Washington, D.C. area screened participants for fibroids using ultrasound. They used blood samples to measure the primary circulating form of vitamin D. Those with more than 20 ng/ml of vitamin D (more than 50 nmol/L) were categorized as sufficient, though some experts think even higher levels may be required for good health. The body can make vitamin D when the skin is exposed to the sun, or vitamin D can come from food and supplements.
Study participants also completed a questionnaire on sun exposure. Those who reported spending more than one hour outside per day also had a 40 percent decreased risk of fibroids.
The researchers noted that, though the findings are consistent with laboratory studies, more studies in women are needed. However, this study adds to a growing body of literature showing the benefits of vitamin D.
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