Vitamin D shrinks fibroid tumours in mice

March 5th, 2012 - 6:58 pm ICT by IANS  

Eunice Kennedy Shriver Washington, March 5 (IANS) Treatment with vitamin D has shown promise in shriking uterine fibroids in lab rats, which tend to develop the benign tumours, says a new study.

Uterine fibroids are the most common non-cancerous tumours in women of childbearing age. Fibroids grow within and around the wall of the uterus.

Thirty percent of women aged between 25 and 44 years report fibroid-related symptoms, such as lower back pain, heavy vaginal bleeding or painful menstrual periods.

Uterine fibroids also are associated with infertility and such pregnancy complications as miscarriage or preterm labour.

Other than surgical removal of the uterus, there are few treatment options for women experiencing severe fibroid-related symptoms and about 200,000 US women undergo the procedure each year.

A recent analysis by National Institutes of Health (NIH) scientists estimated that the economic cost of fibroids to the US alone may exceed $34 billion a year.

Fibroids are three to four times more common in African-American women than in white women. Moreover, African-American women are roughly 10 times more likely to be deficient in vitamin D than are white women.

In previous research, the study authors found that vitamin D inhibited the growth of human fibroid cells in laboratory cultures, according to an NIH statement.

“The study results provide a promising new lead in the search for a non-surgical treatment for fibroids that doesn’t affect fertility,” said Louis De Paolo, chief of the Reproductive Sciences Branch of the NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, which funded the study.

Fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel and tuna are the best natural sources of the vitamin. Very few foods naturally contain vitamin D. Fortified milk and other fortified foods provide an additional source of the vitamin. Vitamin D is also produced when ultraviolet rays from sunlight strike the skin.

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