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Vitamin D May Lower Colon Cancer Risk

A large meta analysis recently found that high blood levels of Vitamin D are associated with a reduction in the risk of colon and breast cancer. The study was conducted by an international team of researchers and their findings will be published in the March 2011 issue of the International Journal of Cancer.

Vitamin D is transformed into 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D and 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D (1,25(OH)2D) in the liver and kidneys. Previous research has suggested that higher 25(OH)D levels could protect against cancer in local sites.

To further investigate this potential, the researchers analyzed data from over 35 separate studies on Vitamin D and its relationship to colorectal, breast and prostate cancer.

Their analysis found that every 10 nanograms per milliliter increase in 25(OH)D levels resulted in a 15% decrease in colorectal cancer risk. There was a slight, non-significant reduction in breast cancer risk among people with higher blood levels of vitamin D and no reduction in the risk of prostate cancer.

This study adds yet another layer of scientific evidence backing the various health benefits of vitamin D. Beyond possibly reducing the risk of certain cancers, these benefits also include boosting bone health, lowering blood pressure, reducing the risk of mental decline and protecting against falls.

Unfortunately, many people are vitamin D deficient, especially mature adults. This is due to the fact that our skin becomes less efficient at synthesizing the vitamin from the sun as we age. For this reason, taking a supplement or eating more foods fortified with vitamin D is a good idea. Some foods that are often fortified with vitamin D are yogurt, milk, orange juice, cereals and margarine.

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