Cut breast-cancer risk by raising vitamin-D intake

Modesto Morganelli
Giugno 19, 2018

What can vitamin D really do for the body?

Vitamin D has always been associated with bone health, but the nutrient hasn't been recommended to protect against colon cancer or other health problems due to scant research, McCullough said.

Higher blood concentrations of vitamin D are linked to a lower risk of colorectal cancer, especially in women, according to a large new study from researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society, and 20 other medical centers and organizations around the world.

However, the study does not tell us whether vitamin D from sunlight, food or supplements can play a role in lowering the risk of developing colorectal cancer.

According to Carole Baggerly, a breast cancer survivor and director of GrassrootsHealth, "With roughly an 80 percent reduction in the incidence of breast cancer, getting a vitamin D blood level to 60 ng/ml becomes the first priority for cancer prevention".

People should talk with their healthcare provider about having a blood test to measure vitamin D levels. It was limited to looking at the level of vitamin D in peoples' blood.

However, doctors say we don't yet have enough evidence to recommend taking higher doses of vitamin D for colon cancer prevention.

The study found that women with blood levels of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (OH) - the main form of vitamin D in blood - above 60 ng/ml (nanograms per millilitre) had one-fifth the risk of breast cancer compared to those with less than 20 ng/ml.

Strong bone health, which is affected by vitamin D levels, was also associated with a 22 percent lower risk.

Sources of vitamin D include exposure to the sun, fatty fish such as salmon and trout, foods such as milk and orange juice fortified with the vitamin and dietary supplements.

They concluded that vitamin D does indeed appear to provide protection against colon cancer, particularly for women.

The lifetime risk of colorectal cancer is 1 in 24 in women and 1 in 22 in men.

"Currently, health agencies do not recommend vitamin D for the prevention of colorectal cancer", said Marji L. McCullough, epidemiologist at the American Cancer Society. Overall, the rate of colorectal cancer is declining, but it is increasing among younger people, a trend that recently prompted the American Cancer Society to recommend that screening for the disease start at age 45, not 50. "The safety of this level has been demonstrated within this study as well as others".

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