Vitamin D lowers Cancer Risk

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last updated: April 2006

vitamin d cancer benefitsAnother Study affirmed High Levels of Vitamin D lowers Cancer Risk

Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health examined cancer incidence and vitamin D exposure of over 47,000 men in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. They found that a high level of Vitamin D (~1500 IU daily) was associated with a 17 percent reduction in all cancer incidences. The benefit of 1500 IU of Vitamin D was even greater in digestive cancers, with a 45 percent reduction of deaths from digestive cancers. Results of this study were published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute on April 5, 2006.

Editor's Note - Increase Vitamin D Intake?

Recent studies have suggested daily intake of vitamin D should be raised from 400 IU to 1000 IU. In December 2005, we reported a Vitamin D review study. Researchers from the University of California found that oral intake of 1000 IU vitamin D can reduce the risk of colon, breast and ovarian cancers by as much as 50 percent. Since it is difficult to obtain 1000 IU of Vitamin D daily from food sources alone, the author recommended taking 1000 IU of the active form Vitamin D, i.e. D3 supplement, daily.

Similarly, the author of this study also suggested a daily supplementation of 1500 IU of Vitamin D to optimize benefits on cancer risk. These recommended levels are much higher than the current recommendations. The current Vitamin D recommendations for people of 1 - 50 years of age is 200 IU daily; 400 IU for adults of 51 - 69 years of age. After age 70, 600 IU of vitamin D are recommended each day. The tolerable upper intake level (UL) for Vitamin D is 2000 IU - in other words it is safe to consume up to 2000 IU of vitamin D daily.

Although promising, it is still too early to start recommending everyone to pop a Vitamin D pill a day. However it is wise to start including more Vitamin D-rich foods in your diet. One glass of milk contains 100 IU of Vitamin D. Other food source includes fatty fish and egg yolks. Also look for Vitamin D fortified-products such as yogurt and breakfast cereals.

If you would like to adopt a healthy eating pattern to reduce cancer risk, try eating a lower fat diet rich in antioxidants and fiber with plenty of fruits & vegetables as well as whole grains.

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