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High vitamin D levels linked to breast cancer survival

Vitamin D, are you getting enough?
Vitamin D, are you getting enough?

A new study published in the March issue of Anticancer Research found breast cancer patients with high levels of vitamin D in their blood are twice as likely to survive as women with low levels. Researchers from the University of California, San Diego Medical School said vitamin D metabolites increased communication between cells by switching on a protein that blocks aggressive cell division, thereby increasing the survival rate for patients with higher levels.

The best source of vitamin D is exposure to sunlight, something Chicago residents have been sorely lacking. During the dreary winter months, many women suffer from a vitamin D deficiency and turn to supplements. According to the National Institutes of Health, the current recommended daily allowance for vitamin D is 600 IU for adults and 800 IU for people over 70 years old. While supplements are fine, why not try increasing your vitamin D intake through your diet?

The best sources are fortified foods such as milk and yogurt and fatty fish such as salmon, trout, tuna and halibut. One piece of salmon, particularly wild salmon, contains two times the daily required amount of vitamin D. In Louisiana, blackened salmon is a popular dish. If you are unable to get fresh salmon, you can take canned salmon and make salmon croquettes. Some call these tasty treats salmon cakes (think crab cake, just made with salmon). No matter how you prepare your fish, try to eat one serving of salmon per week to keep healthy levels of vitamin D in your diet.