High levels of vitamin D cut colon cancer risk

January 26, 2010 in Cancer Prevention, Nutrition Topics in the News, Vitamins, Minerals, Supplements

High levels of vitamin D cut colon cancer risk
A massive study released last week by European researchers has found that high levels of vitamin D in the blood can lower the risk of colon cancer in both men and women by almost half.  

The study, which was based on information from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer Study (EPIC), included more than half a million people.  After the six-year study period, researchers compared lifestyle and diet backgrounds of people who were diagnosed with colorectal cancer to healthy people.  They found that people with the highest levels of vitamin D in their blood had a 40 percent lower risk of developing colorectal cancer, compared to people with the lowest levels of the vitamin.

While the findings are promising, and add to an already long list of health benefits of the vitamin, researchers are calling for further studies to determine whether supplements, or a combination of moderate sun exposure and a balanced diet are more beneficial.

Vitamin D, also known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’, is naturally produced in the skin when it’s exposed to sunlight.   Canada’s northern latitude combined with very few food sources of the vitamin, means many Canadians aren’t getting enough of the vitamin, especially in the winter months.  

According to the Canadian Cancer Society, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of death from cancer in both men and women in Canada.  Risk factors for the disease include family history, a diet high in red and processed meat, smoking, obesity and physical inactivity.

The study was published online by the British Medical Journal (BMJ).

For more information on vitamin D, ways to boost your intake of the vitamin and how much you should be getting, check out Leslie Beck’s book Foods That Fight Disease.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.