-- Robert Preidt
WEDNESDAY, April 17 (HealthDay News) -- Women with adequate
levels of vitamin D are less likely to develop uterine fibroids
than those with insufficient levels, a new study finds.
Uterine fibroids are noncancerous tumors of the uterus that
often cause pain and bleeding in premenopausal women and are the
leading cause of hysterectomy in the United States.
The study, by researchers at the National Institute of
Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), included more than 1,000
women, aged 35 to 49, living in the Washington, D.C., area from
1996 to 1999. Blood samples taken from the women were analyzed for
vitamin D levels. Those with sufficient amounts of vitamin D were
32 percent less likely to develop uterine fibroids than those with
insufficient vitamin D levels.
The researchers also found that women who spent more than an
hour outside per day had a 40 percent decreased risk of fibroids.
The body makes vitamin D when the skin is exposed to sunlight.
Vitamin D also comes from food and supplements.
Fewer black women than white women had sufficient vitamin D
levels, the study found, but the reduction in the risk of fibroids
was about the same for both white and black women with sufficient
vitamin D levels.
"It would be wonderful if something as simple and inexpensive as getting some natural sunshine on their skin each day could help women reduce their chance of getting fibroids," study leader Donna Baird, a researcher at the NIEHS, part of the National Institutes of Health, said in an institute news release.
Although these findings are consistent with previous laboratory
studies, further research is needed, Baird added.
"This study adds to a growing body of literature showing the benefits of vitamin D," Linda Birnbaum, director of the NIEHS and the National Toxicology Program, said in the news release.
The Harvard School of Public Health has more about
vitamin D and health.
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