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Vitamin D and Calcium Linked to Lower Risk of Colorectal Cancer

Vitamin D was first linked to protection from cancer in the 1940's by Frank Apperly. Now researchers with the National Cancer Center in Tokyo have found that vitamin D as well as calcium may reduce the risk of colorectal cancer by almost 40%.

The researchers who conducted the study are with the National Cancer Center in Tokyo, Japan. The findings were published online ahead of print on December 21, 2011 in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Study participants included 737 individuals with colorectal cancer and 703 healthy controls. All of the participants had a total colonoscopy in 2004-2005.

The researchers found that participants with the highest blood concentrations of vitamin D were associated with a 36% lower risk of colorectal cancer when compared with the lowest average levels. They also found that high calcium intake of 590 mg per day was associated with a 37% lower chance of colorectal cancer when compared with low calcium intake of 542 mg per day.

Consumption of vitamin D has been linked to improved kidney health, including reductions in skin cancer, reducing the risk of osteoporosis, improved cardiovascular health, combating diabetes, and improving age related eye degeneration.

Calcium is a mineral that is essential for bone strength. A lack of calcium can lead to osteoporosis, a serious health issue characterized by low bone mass which leads to an increased risk of fractures. Vitamin D aids in calcium break down and absorption. Several studies have also suggested that calcium and vitamin D may play a role in the regulation of abdominal fat mass.

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