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December 28, 2005

Study Claims Vitamin D Can Cut Risk Of Some Cancers By Fifty Percent

Topics: Health Issues

After reviewing four decades of research and evidence, scientists report that a daily dose of 1,000 I.U. of vitamin D can lower the risk of developing common cancers by half.

Researchers found that the "natural" form of the vitamin, known as D3 (cholecalciferol), can dramatically reduce the chances of developing cancers including breast, ovarian and colon.

Vitamin D is a steroid hormone that has long been known for its important role in regulating body levels of calcium and phosphorus, and in mineralization of bone. More recently, it has become clear that receptors for vitamin D are present in a wide variety of cells, and that this hormone has biologic effects which extend far beyond control of mineral metabolism.

D3 is normally produced in the skin by the action of sunlight, which could explain lower cancer rates in climates such as the Mediterranean. But the vitamin is also obtained from foods such as milk, fish and egg yolks and could be given in supplements.

The US researchers found taking 1,000 international units (IU) of the vitamin daily could lower cancer risk by 50 per cent.

However, survival rates for Afro-Caribbean people with certain cancers are worse than for white people, and the researchers believe this could be because dark skins are not as good at making vitamin D.

The academics have now proposed supplements should be given to people as part of a public health measure to reduce cancer rates as not enough vitamin D is in the diet - a glass of milk contains only a tenth of the recommended daily amount.

Although the scientists proposed that supplements should be given to people as part of a public health measure to reduce cancer rates, since it is usually the case that not enough vitamin D is in the diet, it's important to know that large doses of vitamin D are dangerous.

It's important to keep in mind that more than 2,000 IU a day can lead to the body absorbing too much calcium, and possible damage to the liver and kidneys. Also, it's important to realize that the evidence linking vitamin D levels with cancer risk is both complex and confusing, and further research is needed to understand what role vitamin D may actually play in preventing cancer in humans.

Posted by Richard at December 28, 2005 5:54 AM

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