Essay on Vitamin d Intake

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THE ROLE OF VITAMIN D AND ITS EFFECTS ON BREAST CANCER

Megan Austin 0755582
NUTR*4090
Dr. Douglas Goff
Dr. Kerry Ritchie
Date of Submission: March 26th 2015

Introduction
Throughout the years, advances in technology have brought researchers closer to understanding cancer; from what causes it to how to cure it. These developments continue to move research closer to the day when majority of cancers will be curable while others will be managed as chronic diseases (American Cancer Society, 2014). If only there was an easier and faster way to pinpoint and manipulate cells in our body to divide and grow in a certain way. Cancer is an uncontrollable proliferation of abnormal cells in a specific part of your body. These cancer cells are able to spread throughout the bloodstream and lymphatic system, eventually invading other tissues in the body. As these cells continue to grow, something known as a malignant tumour usually forms (Canadian Cancer Society, 2014).
In recent years, vitamin D has been considered a unique and powerful micronutrient that has demonstrated to be more than a vitamin of significance to calcium turnover. There have been many studies conducted looking at the health benefits of vitamin D when used to treat different diseases (Gissel et al., 2008). According to the Canadian Cancer Society, breast cancer is the 2nd leading causes of death from cancer in Canadian women, accounting for 26% of all new cases (Canadian Cancer Society, 2014). While the underlying cause for the development of breast cancer is still poorly understood and a cure is still unknown, there have been many studies done in hopes to determine an association between the properties of vitamin D, and it’s effects on improving the quality of life following the remission of cancer, reducing the risk of recurring cancer and hopefully reducing the risk of breast cancer entirely (Robin et al., 2007). The connection between vitamin D status and its relation to breast cancer will be reviewed.

Breast Cancer Background It has been estimated that in this year alone, 24,400 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and of these women 5,000 will die from it. Breast cancer is referred to as a malignant tumour that begins in the cells of the breast. Although it is most prevalent in woman, there are cases where men have been diagnosed (Canadian Cancer Society, 2014). Breast cancer is a complex disease and there are many factors that play a role in its development. Risk factors can be divided into two groups, ones we have influence over and the ones we don’t. Risk factors that are influenced by our lifestyle choices, and could potentially increase the risk of breast cancer are certain types of birth control, having kids at a later age, diet, alcohol consumption, obesity, and exposure to specific chemicals in the environment. Risk factors that we unfortunately do not have any influence over include, gender, age, race, genetic mutations and family history (Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, 2014). Although it is quite normal for people’s breasts to change during different stages of life, such as during puberty and pregnancy, it is encouraged that individuals be “breast aware.” It is important for people to know how their breasts normally look and feel in order to recognize any abnormal changes and potentially discuss them with their health care provider (Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, 2014).

Vitamin D Background
In its hormonal form, known as calcitriol or 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1, 25D), vitamin D has a prevalent function in the increase of plasma calcium and phosphate levels. The elevations of these micronutrients are required for the maintenance and mineralization of bone, nerve transmission, hormonal secretion and functioning of the neuromuscular junction (Ross et al., 2011). Plasma ionized calcium levels are altered to normal range by three mechanisms directed by calcitriol. The first mechanism, which does not require parathyroid…