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More vitamin D Could Mean Fewer Cancers: Study

Thousands of cases of breast and colon cancers might be averted each year if people in colder climates raised their vitamin D levels, researchers estimate in a new report.

A number of studies have suggested that vitamin D may be important in cancer risk. Much of this research is based on cancer rates at different latitudes of the globe; rates of breast, colon and ovarian cancer, for example, are lower in sunnier regions of the world than in Northern climates where cold winters limit people’s sun exposure.

Sunlight triggers the synthesis of vitamin D in the skin, and people who get little sun exposure tend to have lower stores of the vitamin.

Complementing these studies are lab experiments showing that vitamin D helps prevent cancer cells from growing and spreading, as well as some clinical trials in which people given high doses of vitamin D showed lower cancer risks.

For the new study, researchers at the University of California used data on average wintertime blood levels of vitamin D and rates of breast and colon cancers in 15 countries.

They found that rates of the diseases tended to fall as average vitamin D levels climbed, according to their report in the journal Nutrition Reviews. The protective effect against colon cancer seemed to begin when blood levels of vitamin D reached 22 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL); for breast cancer, that number was 32 ng/mL.

The average late-winter vitamin D level among Americans is 15 to 18 ng/mL, according to the researchers.

They argue that, based on their data, if Americans were able to maintain a vitamin D level of at least 55 ng/mL, 60,000 cases of colon cancer and 85,000 cases of breast cancer could be prevented every year. Worldwide, those figures could be 250,000 and 350,000, respectively.

“This could be best achieved with a combination of diet, supplements and short intervals—10 or 15 minutes a day—in the sun,” lead study author Dr. Cedric F. Garland, a cancer prevention specialist at the University of California San Diego, said in a statement.

No one is recommending that people bake in the sun to reach high vitamin D blood levels. According to Garland, spending a matter of minutes in the midday sun, with 40 percent of the skin exposed, is enough. For fair-skinned people, the researchers estimate that just 3 minutes in the sun can be adequate, while darker-skinned people may need about 15 minutes.

A lifeguard in Southern California, Garland said, may have little need for extra vitamin D to reach potentially protective levels, whereas a Northerner who tends to stay indoors much of the year may need much more.

Garland and his colleagues recommend that, in addition to modest sun exposure, adults get 2,000 IU of vitamin D per day—which is the “tolerable upper intake level” set by U.S. health officials.

That limit exists because of the risk of vitamin D toxicity, which causes elevated calcium levels in the blood and problems such as nausea, weight loss, fatigue and kidney dysfunction.

SOURCE: Nutrition Reviews, August 2007.

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2 thoughts on “More vitamin D Could Mean Fewer Cancers: Study

  • As someone who is definitely against the FDA rulings on safe perscriptions I feel that I have become enlightened by Young Living Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils and Ningxia Red Wolfberry juice. I was a pedestrian in a cross-walk Feb 2010 being hit by a car. My doctor is amazed that after extensive damge to my body was done, I have not had one conventional prescription for pain or healing, only Young Living Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils and Ningxia Red. I have not even taken an advil for pain. I see the damage the FDA has done by their approval of these terrible assaults to the common peoples by allowing the large pharmeceutical companies the leeway of being the criminals they are. Actually they are mass-murdereers and should be held accountable for their actions. I once read that the FDA stated that canned fruit is better than fruit right out of a garden. With this outlook for the common peoples of North America then it is time to get the word out against them. I wish you the best of luck in reaching the peoples in educating them on how there is an alternative choice which can actually save their lives. Remember Suzanne Somers, (three’s company) she had breast cancer and decided to go natural
    instead of taking chemo and horrible drugs to cure her affliction, what were the results? She has her body cleansed from that disgusting disease.

  • Mawakana

    I would like ANH to recommend materials that readers can use to awaken/enhance our understanding of the subject of personal health, how to attain it, and how to maintain it. I suggest, for example, the films ‘Food, Inc.’, King Corn’ and ‘Forks Over Knives.’ Each can be found on Netflix.com.
    In the capitalistic, ‘money rules’ USA, we have been so purposely (and immorally) misled about food, diet, and health in general. I endured recurrent ovarian cancer for 7 years. I repeatedly refused chemo and radiation because I read the side effects of the drugs my doctors intended for me, I was TERRIFIED by those side effects!
    My daughter awakened me to maintaining a whole foods diet. With great relief that an alternative existed that obviated the need for the Sad American Diet, I adopted a diet of real food, one that actually sustains the health of the human system.
    Today I am cancer-free. This is my experience, my story, and we each shall have our own; I share mine to encourage and inform.
    I actually cried after viewing “Food, Inc.” It revealed what I consider an egregious disregard for human life by the powers that govern the industry. Worse, I learned that the same industry is genetically modifying the DNA of the plants that constitute our food.
    My gratitude for valuable, informative sites like Natural Health USA is immense. Carry on, ANH.

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