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Vitamin D shrinks fibroid tumors in rats

Posted on: March 1, 2012   by  Vitamin D Council


Research funded by the National Institute of Health reports that vitamin D shrunk the size of uterine fibroid tumors in rats who were predisposed to develop the benign tumors.

Uterine fibroids are the most common benign tumors that occur in women of childbearing age. They are more common in African American women than Caucasians. As many as 1 in 5 women have uterine fibroids during their childbearing years and about half of all women develop them by the time they’re 50. There are few treatments for the symptoms associated with uterine fibroids, aside from removal of the uterus. About 200,000 women in the US opt for the surgery each year.

The researchers identified 12 rats with tumors. They divided these rats into two groups, one group would receive vitamin D and the other would not.

The vitamin D group received a continuous dose of D for three weeks via a small pump inserted underneath the skin.

The authors found that in the rats receiving no treatment, the fibroids increased in size, but in the rats receiving the vitamin D, the tumor size shrunk significantly. Among the treated rats, the tumors shrunk an average of 75% compared to the untreated rats.

The amount of vitamin D the rats received each day was the equivalent of a 1,400 IU human dose.

“The study results provide a promising new lead in the search for a non-surgical treatment for fibroids that doesn’t affect fertility,” said 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, which funded the study.


Halder SK, et al. 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 treatment shrinks uterine leiomyoma tumors in the Eker rat model. Biol Reprod. 2012.

National Institutes of Health. Vitamin D Shrinks fibroid tumors in rats. NIH News. March 2012.

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