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Can Vitamin D Shrink Fibroids?

Although the research is not definitive, there is growing evidence to suggest that oral Vitamin D supplementation can help stop fibroid growth and may even help to shrink fibroids. We review the evidence here and it to answer common questions about Vitamin D and its effects on uterine fibroids.



In this Article

  • The relationship between vitamin D deficiency and uterine fibroids

  • Do vitamin D supplements stop fibroids from growing?

  • Do vitamin D supplements shrink fibroids?

  • Research on other vitamins in uterine fibroids

  • Frequently asked questions about vitamin D and uterine fibroids


What is Vitamin D


Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps your body use calcium, magnesium, and phosphate. Vitamin D is also classified as a hormone due to its effects on the reproductive system.


Types of Vitamin D


Vitamin D comes in several forms—vitamin D1, vitamin D2, and vitamin D3. Vitamin D1 (calciferol) is found in fish oils. Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) is found in plants. Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is produced by the body when UV light from the sun interacts with cholesterol in the skin. The most active form of vitamin D is called 25-hydroxyvitamin D3. It has activity in almost every tissue of our bodies [12].



Studies on Vitamin D and Fibroids


Vitamin D Deficiency and Uterine Fibroids


Studies have shown that low vitamin D levels in blood are more commonly associated with the presence of uterine fibroids [4-6]. Women with sufficient vitamin D levels were estimated to lower their odds of uterine fibroid occurrence by 32 percent as compared with patients who had vitamin D deficiency [4].


Do Vitamin D Supplements Stop Fibroids from Growing?


The first research study conducted to understand vitamin D’s effect on uterine fibroid growth was done in 2009 by Blauer et al [7]. The results showed that when uterine fibroid cells obtained from women who had undergone hysterectomy were treated with vitamin 25-hydroxyvitamin D3, uterine fibroid growth slowed down. In fact, greater vitamin D concentrations led to greater inhibited fibroid growth. In another study by Sharan et al., 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 was shown to inhibit the proliferation of immortal uterine fibroid cells [8].


A 2016 study conducted by Ciavattini et al. examined 108 women who received vitamin D supplementation and who had “small burden” uterine fibroids. Participants had less than 4 fibroids each, and each fibroid measured less than 5 cm in diameter. The study found that women who did not take vitamin D supplements experienced an average fibroid volume growth of 40% in one year of follow-up, whereas women that regularly took vitamin D supplements experienced no fibroid growth during the same timeframe [3].


A recent 2020 study by Arjeh et al analyzing the effects of vitamin D on uterine fibroids showed similar results. Vitamin D deficient women with less than 4 uterine fibroids (largest one less than 10 cm in diameter) who received weekly high-dose oral vitamin D saw inhibited fibroid growth by the end of the 12-week long study. Meanwhile, women who received the placebo saw uterine fibroid volume increase [9].


Do Vitamin D Supplements Shrink Fibroids?


A 2019 research study done in Iran by Hajhashemi et al. showed that Vitamin D supplementation decreased uterine fibroid size [1]. Sixty-nine vitamin D deficient participants with 1 to 2 uterine fibroids 2 to 8 cm in size completed the study. Participants were randomly assigned to receive 50,000 IUs of vitamin D every 2 weeks for 10 weeks (35 women) or a placebo tablet at the same frequency (34 women). Uterine fibroid size was measured in all women before the start of the study and again 6 months after. The results indicated that uterine fibroid size significantly decreased in the group that used vitamin D as compared to the placebo group [1].



What Other Vitamins Help Shrink Fibroids?


There is also some medical science indicating the potential therapeutic effects of vitamin A. One study showed that women with a greater dietary intake of fruit and preformed vitamin A obtained from animal sources had a lower risk of developing uterine fibroids [11]. In another study, human uterine fibroid smooth muscle cells responded to treatment with a potent natural derivative of vitamin A called all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA). Increased doses of ATRA led to an increased anti-proliferating effect on fibroid cells. When proliferation was inhibited by ATRA, changes in smooth muscle cell morphology also occurred. Inhibition in proliferation and altered morphology were reversible when ATRA treatment was discontinued [10].


It is unclear if Vitamin C and Vitamin E are good for uterine fibroids because they have not been as widely studied [2]. Therefore, it is difficult to conclude their beneficial effects, if any exist.



FAQ


Is Vitamin D Good for Fibroids?


Vitamin D has been shown to help stop or decrease fibroid growth. It is unclear if vitamin D can shrink fibroids in volume.


Can Vitamin D Help with Fibroids?


Multiple studies have demonstrated that vitamin D deficient women with existing uterine fibroids who take oral vitamin D supplementation experience inhibited fibroid growth. Though promising, these results are not conclusive. Always consult your doctor before adding a new supplement or vitamin to your diet.


Does Low Vitamin D Cause Fibroids?


Low vitamin D levels are associated with the presence of uterine fibroids, however many other factors contribute to the development of uterine fibroids.


How Much Vitamin D Should I take to Shrink Fibroids?


7000 international units (IU) of oral vitamin D per day or 50,000 IU/week can help treat vitamin D deficiency, which may help inhibit fibroid growth. Always consult your doctor before adding a new supplement or vitamin to your diet.



About the Author


Dr. Michael Lalezarian is a practicing interventional radiologist with the Fibroid Specialists of University Vascular in Los Angeles, CA. In addition to patient care, Dr. Lalezarian teaches and supervises medical students, residents, and fellows as a full time teaching Professor in the Department of Radiology at UCLA. He is regarded as an expert in uterine fibroid embolization. You can view Dr. Lalezarian's full bio here.


This blog post was written with research and editorial assistance from OnChart™.



References


[1] Hajhashemi, M.; Ansari, M.; Haghollahi, F.; Eslami, B. The effect of vitamin D supplementation on the size of uterine leiomyoma in women with vitamin D deficiency. Caspian J. Intern. Med. 2019, 10, 125–131.

[2] Ciebiera, M.; Ali, M.; Zgliczyńska, M.; Skrzypczak, M.; Al-Hendy, A. Vitamins and Uterine Fibroids: Current Data on Pathophysiology and Possible Clinical Relevance. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21, 5528

[3] Ciavattini, A.; Delli Carpini, G.; Serri, M.; Vignini, A.; Sabbatinelli, J.; Tozzi, A.; Aggiusti, A.; Clemente, N. Hypovitaminosis D and “small burden” uterine fibroids: Opportunity for a vitamin d supplementation. Medicine 2016, 95, e5698.

[4] Baird, D.D.; Hill, M.C.; Schectman, J.M.; Hollis, B.W. Vitamin D and the risk of uterine fibroids. Epidemiology. 2013, 24, 447–453.

[5] Sabry, M.; Halder, S.K.; Allah, A.S.; Roshdy, E.; Rajaratnam, V.; Al-Hendy, A. Serum vitamin D3 level inversely correlates with uterine fibroid volume in different ethnic groups: A cross-sectional observational study. Int. J. Womens Health 2013, 5, 93–100.

[6] Paffoni, A.; Somigliana, E.; Vigano, P.; Benaglia, L.; Cardellicchio, L.; Pagliardini, L.; Papaleo, E.; Candiani,M.; Fedele, L. Vitamin D status in women with uterine leiomyomas. J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab. 2013, 98, E1374–E1378.

[7] Blauer, M.; Rovio, P.H.; Ylikomi, T.; Heinonen, P.K. Vitamin D inhibits myometrial and leiomyoma cell proliferation in vitro. Fertil. Steril. 2009, 91, 1919–1925.

[8] Sharan, C.; Halder, S.K.; Thota, C.; Jaleel, T.; Nair, S.; Al-Hendy, A. Vitamin D inhibits proliferation of human uterine leiomyoma cells via catechol-o-methyltransferase. Fertil. Steril. 2011, 95, 247–253.

[9] Arjeh, S.; Darsareh, F.; Asl, Z.A.; Kutenaei, M.A. Eect of oral consumption of vitamin D on uterine fibroids: A randomized clinical trial. Complement. Ther. Clin. Pract. 2020, 39, 101159.

[10] Boettger-Tong, H.; Shipley, G.; Hsu, C.J.; Stancel, G.M. Cultured human uterine smooth muscle cells are retinoid responsive. Proc. Soc. Exp. Biol. Med. 1997, 215, 59–65.

[11] Wise, L.A.; Radin, R.G.; Palmer, J.R.; Kumanyika, S.K.; Boggs, D.A.; Rosenberg, L. Intake of fruit, vegetables, and carotenoids in relation to risk of uterine leiomyomata. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 2011, 94, 1620–1631.

[12] Ciebiera M, Włodarczyk M, Ciebiera M, Zaręba K, Łukaszuk K, Jakiel G. Vitamin D and Uterine Fibroids-Review of the Literature and Novel Concepts. Int J Mol Sci. 2018;19(7):2051. Published 2018 Jul 14. doi:10.3390/ijms19072051



Medical Disclaimer


The Materials available on the FibroidSpecialists.org blog are for informational and educational purposes only and are not a substitute for the professional judgment of a healthcare professional in diagnosing and treating patients.

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