(WTSP) -- Breast cancer patients undergoing treatment, may want to have their Vitamin D levels in their blood checked.
Researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center tested 166 women going through breast cancer treat and found 70 percent had low levels of Vitamin D in their blood.
Scientists say women with late-stage breast cancer and women with darker skin in the study, had even lower levels of Vitamin D.
According to Luke Peppone, PhD., research assistant professor of Radiation Oncology at Rochester's James P. Wilmot Cancer Center, "Vitamin D is essential to maintaining bone health, and women with breast cancer have accelerated bone loss due to the nature of hormone therapy and chemotherapy. It's important for women and their doctors to work together to boost their vitamin D intake."
Researchers say some women had to receive high doses of Vitamin D3 (50,000 international units or more) to improve their levels.
Some foods contain Vitamin D including milk, fortified cereals, wild salmon and egg yolks. You can also sit in the early morning sun a few times a week.
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Vitamin D is needed for cell growth, boosting the body's immune system and strengthening bones.
Doctors say symptoms of Vitamin D deficieny include muscle pain, weak bones/fractures, low energy and fatigue, lowered immunity, symptoms of depression and mood swings, and sleep irregularities, many of which are common for women undergoing breast cancer treatment.
The National Cancer Institute paid for the study. Researchers presented the study at the American Society of Clinical Oncology's Breast Cancer Synposium.