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Why is my Vitamin D Level So Low And Why I Care-

Yes I’m talking about Vitamin D again.

For several days last week I wasn’t feeling like myself- at all.

I wasn’t feeling like my “almost- a-year post- breast -cancer –treatment” self.  Instead I was feeling like my “I’m going through chemo self”.  It’s a disconcerting feeling to have – the reminder of what that was like- the fatigue, the dizzy-heavy head, the nasty“BLAHS”.

Well it prompted me to have my blood work done, which I was over do for anyway.  My blood counts came back right away with good news -  no anemia, no low white blood counts, liver and kidney function good.  By now I’m feeling so much better that I would have been very surprised to hear that my blood counts were off.

Then today my oncologist called with the other two bloods test results.  The tumor marker test showed no elevation.  Good news, however, my doctor admits this marker can be very tricky and unreliable with breast cancer (confirmed by the fact my marker was not elevated when my right underarm lymph system was full of cancer in August of 2011).  Still this news is of comfort.

The one concerning result though was my low Vitamin D level.  It is only 29., with the “normal” level being 30-60. 

According to a report in Naturalnews.com, this conventional normal  range  is actually insufficient for breast cancer protection, according to holistic MDs, chiropractors, naturopaths, and independent nutritionists.

VitaminDforblog 1024x602 Vitamin D & Breast Cancer Protection: Do You Know Your Level?

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1. Get  Your Annual Mammograms – Do monthly self breast exams and get a mammogram every year beginning at age 40 or at age 30 if you have a strong family history.  If you or someone you know in the greater Sacramento area needs assistance obtaining a mammogram contact Albie Aware at 916-927-1592.

2. Maintain a Healthy Weight – Overweight women – defined as having a BMI (body mass index) over 25 — have a higher risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer compared to women who maintain a healthy weight, especially after menopause. Being overweight also can increase the risk of the breast cancer coming back (recurrence).

3. Exercise Regularly- Research shows moderate daily exercise (walking briskly for 3-5 hours per week) reduces breast cancer risk by 15 to 25 percent.

 

12 lifestyle choices1 1024x1024 12 Lifestyle Choices For Protective Breast Health

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As I was preparing to share breast health and healthy eating information to a Mom’s in Motion group this last Saturday morning, I thought I would share the same information here on my blog.

I’m often asked if I have changed my diet since being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009. The answer of course is “Yes” and since I’m such a wordy and open person, I can’t just stop with a simple “Yes”.  I want to share what I’m learning about healthy nutrition, food and supplements.

I find that people are very interested in what kind of “diet” I’m eating. When I say that I have given up eating red meat and concentrate of plant based eating it is easy to assume I am a vegetarian or vegan.  I’m not though.

For me it’s not so much about what I don’t eat as it is about what I DO eat.  I am strategic about what I put in my body.

There are amazing disease fighting, cell generating, and cancer fighting foods God has put on this earth for us to eat.   Those are the foods I feast on.  These days such foods are referred to as “Superfoods.”

So what’s my diet?  I choose Superfoods.

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Choose Hope Chai Latte

If you enjoy the sweet and spicy flavor of a chai latte and are looking for some excellent health benefits at the same time,

I believe you will enjoy what I am calling the “I Choose Hope Chai Latte” recipe below.

IMG 5007 224x300 Healthy Turmeric Rich Chai Tea Latte  Recipe

Spicy, Sweet and Creamy

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Vitamin D3 is widely talked about by the medical community and breast cancer survivor community as a supplement to consider to stave off breast cancer.

vitamins gels 300x199 Supplements I take and Why: Vitamin D3

Easy to swallow gel capsules

According to breastcancer.org:

“Research suggests that women with low levels of vitamin D have a higher risk of breast cancer. Vitamin D may play a role in controlling normal breast cell growth and may be able to stop breast cancer cells from growing.”

Before you begin taking vitamin D3 it’s suggested that you have your Vitamin D serum level tests first.  This can be done with a simple blood test.  Again, according to breastcancer.org,

“Before you adjust your vitamin D intake, it’s important to know your vitamin D serum level. This is done with a simple blood test that your doctor can order for you when you’re in for a routine physical. Vitamin D researchers recommend a serum level of 40-60 ng/ml (nanograms/milliliter).”

I’m not certain at what point along my three year journey with breast cancer that my Vitamin D level entered  my radar,  but I did ask to have it checked in August 2010, which was a month after my bilateral mastectomy and several months post chemotherapy.  At that point my serum level was 33, which is within the “normal” range (18-72), however was definitely lower than the suggested serum level for breast health, according to the research done on the subject.  At that point, with my oncologists approval,  I began taking a Vitamin D3 supplement of 1000 mg a day.  I was surprised to see that I didn’t have my level checked again until March 2011, at which point it had only gone up to 36.  I believe I then began taking 2000 mg a day.   The last time I had my levels checked on February 2012 my level had jumped to 54.

I’m much more comfortable with this level and continue to take 2000 mg of Vitamin D3 daily.

vitd e1356072838256 224x300 Supplements I take and Why: Vitamin D3

An inexpensive, essential supplement

Knowing  your Vitamin D serum level and making sure it’s between 40 and 60, is a simple life style addition all women can make to add to other “healthy breast habits”.

Ladies, along with getting your mammogram every year (EVERY year starting at 35 if you have a strong family history -mother, sister or daughter with breast cancer – or starting at 40)          will you please ask to have your Vitamin D level evaluated and take a daily supplement if your Vitamin D Serum Level is under 40?

(Eating Vitamin D rich foods and sun exposure can also increase your serum levels- read about it on breastcancer.org

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