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Vitamin D can help to treat uterine fibroids in women

Washington, Fri, 02 Mar 2012 NI Wire

Vitamin D can help to treat uterine fibroids in women

Researchers have found in a study that the size of the uterine fibroids can be reduced with the treatment of vitamin D. The study was made in the laboratory rats predisposed to developing the benign tumours.

It is to be noted that uterine fibroids are one of the most common non-cancerous tumours commonly found in women during childbearing age. These are known to grow within and around the uterus wall. Approximately 30 of women aged between 25 to 44 years were reported with fibroid-related symptoms that are lower back pain, excess vaginal bleeding and painful menstrual periods.

In addition to that, Uterine fibroids also are related with infertility and pregnancy complications such as miscarriage or labor pain.

Apart from removal of the uterus through surgery, some other treatment options are also available for women suffering severe fibroid-related symptoms. This is to be noted that in U.S. only, around 200,000 U.S. women undergo the procedure every year.

In comparison to the white women, Fibroids are three to four times more common in African-American as a African-American women is likely to be almost 10 times deficient in vitamin D than a white women. However, in the previous research, it was found that vitamin D results in the inhibition of the growth of human fibroid cells in laboratory cultures.

The research was conducted first by Sunil K. Halder, Ph.D., of Meharry Medical College in Nashville along with other colleagues of Meharry Chakradhari Sharan, Ph.D., and Ayman Al-Hendy, M.D., Ph.D., and with Kevin G. Osteen, Ph.D., of Vanderbilt University Medical Center, also in Nashville.

During the current research, a strain of rats genetically predisposed to developing fibroid tumors was treated with vitamin D that confirmed the presence of fibroids in 12 of the tested animals. In the next step, the researchers divided the rats into two groups for those who received vitamin D and who did not. 

In the first group, small pumps that were implanted under the skin of the rats delivered a continuous dose of vitamin D for continuous three weeks. After that, a detailed examination of animals of both the groups were done for both the groups. The fibroids were seen to increase in size on the rats that were not treated with vitamin D but the size of the tumors reduced significantly on the rats who were treated with vitamin D. The size was almost 75 percent smaller than those in the untreated group.

The amount of vitamin D given to the rats each day was almost equal to 1,400 international units of human dose. The amount of vitamin D for teens and adults under 70 years is recommended to be 600 units per day. However for children’s over 9 years of age, pregnant and breastfeeding females, a 4000 units daily is considered safe

"Additional research is needed to confirm vitamin D as a potential treatment for women with uterine fibroids," said Dr. Al-Hendy.

"But it is also an essential nutrient for the health of muscle, bone and the immune system, and it is important for everyone to receive an adequate amount of the vitamin," he added.

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

The findings of the research also appeared online in the journal Biology of Reproduction.

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