Posted on Jun 04, 2019, 7 p.m.
According to a study from Michigan State University and Hurley Medical Center boosting vitamin D levels with a daily supplement may reduce the risk of dying from cancer by 13%.
Vitamin D is made by the body when it is exposed to sunshine, however modern busy lifestyles of society has people spending more time indoors leading to more people having insufficient levels of the nutrient. Millions of people fail to get sufficient sunshine or eat enough foods containing vitamin D to meet suggested requirements, as such 1 in 5 people living in the UK are lacking in vitamin D.
Those that are deficient in vitamin D are more than twice as likely to develop pancreatic cancer and have a higher risk of developing bowel cancer, according to research from the Allegheny Health Network Cancer Institute.
Presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology, a study conducted by Michigan State University and Hurley Medical Center reviewed the findings of 10 trials involving 79,000 healthy adults with an average age of 68 taking vitamin D supplements for at least 3 years, in which supplementation was found to be associated with a 13% decrease in the risk of dying from any form of cancer later in life.
Another study presented at the same conference found taking a daily vitamin D supplement along with a statin to be linked with a lowered amounts of deaths from prostate cancer; conducted by Madrid University Hospital involving 2,280 men this study found those on standard treatment who also took vitamin D plus a statin had 38% lower mortality rates than those who did not.
Due to the amount of people not getting enough vitamin D and the body of evidence on the risks of being deficient policies have been put in place to add vitamin D to common foods such as milk in bread in countries such as Australia, Canada, Sweden, Finland, and the USA.
The best source of vitamin is the sun, but it can also be obtained by consuming fortified foods, liver, eggs, red meat, cheese, and oil fish such as tuna, salmon, and mackerel. During the gloomy winter months or rainy season it may help to take a supplement.
It is not clear how vitamin D fights cancer, but some believe vitamin D produces an enzyme that detoxifies natural acids in the body; reducing potency of these acids may help to stop them from causing damage to internal organs which in turn reduces the risk of cancer.
“I would like to see more oncologists and primary care doctors consider prescribing vitamin D for their patients as it carries many benefits with minimal side effects.” says Dr. Tarek Haykal of Michigan State University.
According to Professor Daniel Bikle of the University of California “In places such as the UK, there is not enough sun all year round, so supplements in winter are necessary.”
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This article is not intended to provide medical diagnosis, advice, treatment, or endorsement.