Higher Vitamin D Levels Linked to Lower Breast Cancer Incidence

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Cedric F. Garland, Dr.P.H., F.A.C.E. Adjunct Professor Division of Epidemiology Department of Family Medicine and Public Health University of California San Diego La Jolla, California 92093-0620

Dr. Garland

Cedric F. Garland, Dr.P.H., F.A.C.E.
Adjunct Professor
Division of Epidemiology
Department of Family Medicine and Public Health
University of California San Diego
La Jolla, California 92093-0620

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Studies mapping death rates from female breast cancer in the US, the former USSR and Canada by Drs. Edward Gorham, and Frank and Cedric Garland revealed for the first time in history that death rates from breast cancer tracked latitude where people lived.

The rates were highest in the least sunny northern tier of states, lowest in the sunny southwest. This led these scientists to be the first to theorize that vitamin D prevents breast cancer” said study first author Sharon McDonnell.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? 

Response: “Maintaining a high level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D, specifically 60 ng/ml, in the blood serum will prevent 80% of postmenopausal breast cancer,” said Cedric Garland. “Knowing this, every female of all ages should get tested annually for serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D until 50-60 ng/ml is achieved, unless there are contraindications,” Garland said.

“Contraindications include sarcoidosis, other active granulomatous diseases and pre-existing hypercalcemia” noted McDonnell. “The study design controlled for body mass index and other confounders using well-established statistical methodology, including proportional hazards regression” McDonnell said.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: “Fully eight out of ten cases of postmenopausal breast cancer are preventable by maintaining adequate 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 in the blood serum’” said Cedric Garland. “We have never before had such a powerful way of preventing breast cancer. Every female of every age, should be tested each year, ideally in February or March for their serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 level, and it should be raised to 50-60 ng/ml, assuming absence of good reasons not to” he said. “The old clinical target of 20 ng/ml is adequate for reducing risk of bone disease, but is now obsolete for women since it will not touch risk of postmenopausal breast cancer” Garland said. “And eighty percent of breast cancer in the US is postmenopausal” he said.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: “Now that it is evident that 80% of postmenopausal breast cancer could be prevented by raising the serum 25-hydoxyvitamin D3 level of women, we need a national field trial in US cities, where women will be tested for serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 and given enough vitamin D3 to consume daily to raise their serum level to 60 ng/ml” said co-author Carole Baggerly. Baggerly is a breast cancer survivor and director of GrassrootsHealth, a San Diego-based nonprofit whose mission includes eradication of breast cancer and other diseases with vitamin D3.

“The field trial will get results on a national scale, as was done in the Salk vaccine field trial in 1954, but interest and funding from major donors is needed to field this trial” she said.

“Baggerly just received the Humanitarian Award of the American College of Nutrition, and I am confident she and her colleagues will make this trial happen,” said Cedric Garland.

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add? 

“The challenge right now is to implement these results in a US population field trial,” said McDonnell. “Nonprofits such as Grassroots Health need financial support from government or other donors to implement a field trial now” said Garland. 

Disclosures: There are no conflicts of interest to disclose. Vitamin D is in the public domain. 


Breast cancer risk markedly lower with serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations ≥60 vs <20 ng/ml (150 vs 50 nmol/L): Pooled analysis of two randomized trials and a prospective cohort

Sharon L. McDonnell , Carole A. Baggerly, Christine B. French, Leo L. Baggerly, Cedric F. Garland, Edward D. Gorham, Bruce W. Hollis, Donald L. Trump, Joan M. Lappe

Published: June 15, 2018




The information on MedicalResearch.com is provided for educational purposes only, and is in no way intended to diagnose, cure, or treat any medical or other condition. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health and ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. In addition to all other limitations and disclaimers in this agreement, service provider and its third party providers disclaim any liability or loss in connection with the content provided on this website.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.