Tags: Study: | Vitamin | Halves | Colon | Cancer | Risk

Study: Vitamin D Halves Colon Cancer Risk

Wednesday, 28 December 2005 12:00 AM

Taking 1000 IUs of vitamin D every day can cut the risk of breast, colon and ovarian cancer by up to 50 percent, according to a new study by top University of California experts who say Americans are getting far too little of the powerful nutrient.

Dr. Cedric Garland, one of the top cancer epidemiologists in the country, headed a review and analysis of nearly every scientific study involving vitamin D and cancer since 1966. In all, 63 studies were reviewed.

And the results were overwhelming: vitamin D appeared to be instrumental in protecting against breast, colon and ovarian cancer. It was most protective against colon cancer - cutting the risk by 50 percent. It reduced risks of ovarian and breast cancers by roughly 30 percent.

The study also found that most people don't get nearly enough vitamin D. Americans average around 320 IUs daily. Sunlight stimulates the body to produce vitamin D and the experts believe the growing vitamin D deficit may be due to people's increased fears of getting too much sunshine.

The researchers also found that people living in the northeastern U.S., where it is less sunny, were more likely to be deficient in vitamin D - and had higher rates of cancer.

African-Americans with darker skin pigmentation were also more likely to be deficient in vitamin D - and they too had higher cancer rates.

The researchers say their finding could explain why black Americans die sooner from cancer than whites, even after allowing for differences in income and access to care.

"The high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency combined with the discovery of increased risks of certain types of cancer in those who are deficient, suggest that vitamin D deficiency may account for several thousand premature deaths from colon, breast, ovarian and other cancers annually," Dr. Garland wrote.

"A preponderance of evidence from the best observational studies ... has led to the conclusion that public health action is needed. Primary prevention of these cancers has been largely neglected, but we now have proof that the incidence of colon, breast and ovarian cancer can be reduced dramatically by increasing the public's intake of vitamin D."

He says getting enough vitamin D from diet would be difficult - and getting more from sunlight would increase the risk of skin cancer.

Instead, Dr. Garland favors supplementation. "The easiest and most reliable way of getting the appropriate amount is from food and a daily supplement," they say.

The 1000 IUs daily dose they propose is two-and-a-half times the U.S. recommended daily allowance. The upper limit for safe intake is 2,000 IUs.

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Taking 1000 IUs of vitamin D every day can cut the risk of breast, colon and ovarian cancer by up to 50 percent, according to a new study by top University of California experts who say Americans are getting far too little of the powerful nutrient. Dr. Cedric Garland,...
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2005-00-28
Wednesday, 28 December 2005 12:00 AM
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