Vitamin D may not be a wonder drug that prevents all cancer. According to a new study from the National Cancer Institute, it may only reduce the risk of death from colon cancer.
In the study, 16, 818 subjects had their blood levels of vitamin D measured and tracked for up to 12 years. During the study period, 536 subjects died of cancer. Blood levels of vitamin D had no association with risk of cancer death, with the exception of colon cancer.
People with the highest blood level of vitamin D were 72 percent less likely to die from colon cancer than those with the lowest blood levels of this nutrient.
This study was the first to examine the link between blood levels of vitamin D and overall cancer mortality. Previous studies have looked at dietary intake of vitamin D from supplements.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin found in foods such as eggs, milk, fatty fish, margarine and fortified orange juice. It is known as the "sunshine vitamin" because the body can synthesize vitamin D naturally when the skin is exposed to UV light.
The Canadian Cancer Society recommends 1,000 IU (international units) of vitamin D per day during the fall and winter months while Health Canada recommends 200-600 IU of vitamin D per day based on age, race and exposure to sunlight.
The cancer researchers want to stress that while vitamin D may have numerous health benefits, consumers should not rush into supplementing with vitamin D. We recommend consulting your doctor or dietitian before starting any supplementation regime.
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