Effect of vitamin D supplementation on serum 25-hydroxy vitamin
D levels, joint pain, and fatigue in women starting adjuvant
letrozole treatment for breast cancer
Vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency may contribute to musculoskeletal symptoms and bone loss observed in women taking aromatase inhibitors (AIs).
This study was conducted to determine the prevalence of suboptimal vitamin D levels in women initiating adjuvant letrozole for breast cancer and to determine whether supplementation with 50,000 IU of vitamin D3 weekly could reduce musculoskeletal symptoms and fatigue in women who have suboptimal vitamin D levels.
Sixty women about to begin an adjuvant AI were enrolled. Baseline 25OHD levels were obtained, and women completed symptom questionnaires.
They were then started on letrozole, along with standard dose calcium and vitamin D.
Four weeks later, women with baseline 25OHD levels below =40ng/ml started additional vitamin D3 supplementation at 50,000 IU per week for 12 weeks.
25OHD levels were re-assessed at 4, 10, and 16 weeks; the questionnaires were repeated at weeks 4 and 16. At baseline, 63% of women exhibited vitamin D deficiency (<20 ng/ml) or insufficiency (20-31 ng/ml).
25OHD levels >40 ng/ml were achieved in all 42 subjects who received 12 weeks of supplementation with 50,000 IU vitamin D3 weekly, with no adverse effects.
After 16 weeks of letrozole, more women with 25OHD levels >66 ng/ml (median level) reported no disability from joint pain than did women with levels <66 ng/ml (52 vs. 19%; P = 0.026).
Vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency are prevalent in post-menopausal women initiating adjuvant AI.
Vitamin D3 supplementation with 50,000 IU per week is safe, significantly increases 25OHD levels, and may reduce disability from AI-induced arthralgias.
I was particularly pleased to see that these researchers used the MOST effective form of Vitamin D. Cholecalciferol. Other researchers should take note also of the fact that they used EFFECTIVE AMOUNTS 50,000iu/weekly for 12 weeks.
If in Kansas it takes roughly 7000iu/daily to get women with breast cancer to a level where their bodies have a reserve of D3 above their daily needs to deal with the inflammation and pain then it is probable that in the UK up to 10,000iu/daily may be required.